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CaliforniaUnited States of America

Orange County featuring street scenes, a small town or village and a house

Visit this state of many contrasts: mountains to oceans, fertile agricultural areas to modern cities and tall forests to deserts.

The mid-1800s California gold rush brought many adventurers to the Pacific Ocean shores. Their descendants have established fascinating cities and structures in the midst of amazing natural beauty.

Visit Sacramento to see the art and architecture of the state capital. The California State Railroad Museum tells the important story of building the railroads that enabled development of the California region.

In the Sierra Nevada Mountains, visit Sequoia National Forest. See giant redwood trees, up to 300 feet (91 meters) tall and over 33 feet (10 meters) in diameter, hundreds or thousands of years old. Enjoy the spectacular landscape of granite monoliths, limestone caves and whitewater streams.

The mountains offer a range of choices for outdoor activities. Visit the Lake Tahoe area to hike, boat, fish and swim in the chilly aquamarine waters in the summer. In winter ski at Squaw, site of the 1960 Olympics, Northstar, Alpine Meadows and others, with excellent skiing and views over the lake. See sparkling granite cliffs and majestic waterfalls in Yosemite National Park.

Take a wine tour in Napa or Sonoma. Stop in the fertile agricultural area of the Central Valley to sample strawberries, olives, garlic and much of the nation’s fresh produce.

Like Tony Bennett, you might leave your heart in San Francisco. The views of the Golden Gate Bridge are unforgettable. Visit Chinatown, ride the trolley, climb the hills of the city, ferry to the former prison of Alcatraz and enjoy the exciting nightlife.

Moving south to Los Angeles, enjoy the many beaches on the Pacific Ocean. Watch seals, surfers and skaters. Go to Hollywood to see celebrities’ stars embedded in the sidewalk. Tour Universal Studios. Visit the original Disneyland® Resort in Anaheim, the La Brea Tarpits and the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Farther south, see even more California beaches in San Diego, along with the USS Midway Museum, a retired aircraft carrier. Visit Palms Springs for desert heat and world-famous golf. Cross the border to Tijuana for a Mexican holiday.

Popular cities in California

Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Known for Entertainment, Theatre and Sport
Relax on the beaches, be thrilled at the theme parks and experience culture in the museums and art galleries of this sprawling Southern California city.

Reasons to visit

  • Melrose Avenue
  • Santa Monica Beach
  • 4th Street Retro Row
San Francisco which includes a bridge and a bay or harbour
San Francisco
Known for Chinatown, Theatre and Art
A city brimming with iconic imagery and sounds, with steep hills, the sound of streetcars rattling up and down them and the infamous Alcatraz island prison.

Reasons to visit

  • Golden Gate Park
  • Van Ness Avenue
  • Presidio of San Francisco
Sacramento featuring heritage architecture and an administrative building
Sacramento
Known for Historical, Sport and Theatre
California’s capital city charms with its tree-lined Victorian streets, elegant civic buildings, and a friendly, easygoing atmosphere.

Reasons to visit

  • California State Capitol
  • Sacramento Zoo
  • K Street Mall
Santa Barbara showing night scenes, theatre scenes and signage
Santa Barbara
Known for Beach View, Walking and Shopping
Known around the country as the American Riviera, this Californian city is centred around a hub of historic architecture, art galleries, wineries and idyllic beaches.

Reasons to visit

  • Leadbetter Beach
  • Santa Barbara City College
  • El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park
Morro Bay
San Luis Obispo
Known for Beach View, Sea and Winery
San Luis Obispo, with its small-town, Californian charm, offers heritage sites, outdoor adventure and a thriving arts scene.

Reasons to visit

  • California Polytechnic State University
  • Pismo Beach Pier
  • Los Padres National Forest
Palm Springs
Palm Springs
Known for Relaxing, Desert and Golf
California's legendary retro resort town in the Coachella Valley is the perfect place to escape to.

Reasons to visit

  • Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
  • Anza Borrego Desert State Park
  • Living Desert Zoo and Gardens