I know I’m biased, but I feel lucky to live in a country with so much natural beauty. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to almost every state in the U.S.A. and, while each has unique things to offer, there are a few states that rank at the top of my list. For the purposes of this post I will focus on one of them: California.
California is wonderful because it has so much to offer, from the rocky coastline of northern California to the sandy, bikini-clad beaches to the south, from the desert to the mountains to the vineyards of Sonoma- California has something for everyone. The real question is, if you’ve only got a limited amount of time to spend in the state, what should you do? Since I’m a nature lover I’m going to give you suggestions based on the natural beauty in the state, but remember, too, that cities like San Francisco and San Diego have so much to offer the traveler that prefers high-rises to mountain peaks.
Visit Redwood State and National Parks
The first time I visited Redwood State Park I actually cried tears of joy. While most tourists visit during the warm, dry months- my suggestion to you is to visit during the cooler and wetter months. I’ve been in February and August, and I much preferred February, not only because you basically have the place your yourself but because the mist and clouds lend an eerie feel to the park and make you feel like you have truly entered another world.
Pro tip: Spend a night or two camping on Gold Bluffs Beach– my favorite campsite in America.
Camp at Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is in the middle of nowhere and that’s what makes it so special. Campgrounds at the park have no running water and no electricity and, while it’s hot during the day (this is the desert after all), once the sun disappears it’s cool enough to have a campfire and stare up at the stunning sky filled with stars. It’s a landscape you’ve probably not seen much of and won’t soon forget.
Pro tip: Camp at Jumbo Rocks campground, my favorite in the park!
Hike in Yosemite National Park
I know, I know, another National Park! But, really, Yosemite is a park that absolutely cannot be missed. From the stunning waterfalls in Yosemite Valley to the high-altitude hiking of Half Dome, there’s no way you’ll visit Yosemite without vowing to come back again and again.
Pro tip: Hike Half Dome but get your trekking permits early!
Drive the 101
Highway 101 is the scenic highway that covers all of California and winds it’s way around the beautiful coastline. If you’ve got the time, I think this is the absolute best way to see California. If you don’t have a lot of time, I still recommend popping over to do some 101 driving in central and northern California around Big Sur and Monterey.
Pro tip: If you’re a cyclist, bring your bicycle! Biking the 101 is one of the best, and most challenging, cycling trips out there.