The 15 Most Beautiful Places To Visit In California

California dreamin' hard.

santa barbara

The Golden State stretches 840 miles long, boasting a truly diverse range of geography. Whether you want to hit the beach, the desert, the mountains, or even an urban city, you can find it all among these most-gorgeous-of-all destinations. Who's down for a road trip?!

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Lake Tahoe

Not only is this freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains one of the largest Alpine lakes in the country, but it's also one of the clearest bodies of water in the world. For the best views, hike the Tahoe Rim Trail, which boasts 165 to mix and match into your route.

BOOK NOW Grand Residence

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Napa Valley

The rolling hills in California's wine region includes more than 400 wineries and is best viewed by hot air balloon, After your ride, explore downtown Napa, which is filled with acclaimed restaurants and late-1800s and early-1900s architecture. For the ultimate luxury experience, book a stay at Meadowood. The 250-acre private estate features on-site hiking trails, tennis, a world-class spa, a three-Michelin star restaurant, and even a croquet lawn.

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Santa Barbara

Mediterranean-style oceanfront villas line the coast of this town, which has three major beaches and countless hiking trails. After a day outside, explore the famous State Street in the heart of downtown, which has 300 shops and the vibe of an open-air European market.

BOOK NOW The Biltmore

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The Cypress "Tree Tunnel"

Between the Pacific Ocean and Tomales Bay is this beautiful road called the "tree tunnel," thanks to branches that interlock together at the top. This spot is a local favorite as it's rather secluded (which is good news for your 'gram!).

BOOK NOW Rancho Caymus Inn

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Griffith Park

Even though the Griffith Observatory has an impressive planetarium inside, it's the park outside—which covers 4,107 acres and offers prime views of the Hollywood sign and downtown Los Angeles—that will truly take your breath away. No wonder this location had a starring role in La La Land.

BOOK NOW Hotel Bel Air

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The "Glass Beach"

This beach isn't covered in white sand, but instead round pieces of glass, which are the result of years of waves pounding on a former garbagecliffs at the most northern spot of the beach.

BOOK NOW Surf & Sand Lodge

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Death Valley National Park

Despite its bleak name (given by gold prospectors struggling to cross it in 1849), this national park is the largest south of Alaska and contains the lowest elevation point in North America, at 282 feet below sea level. Zabriskie Point is the most popular place to view the wonder from a distance.

BOOK NOW The Ranch at Death Valley

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Big Sur

The Pacific Coast Highway provides some of the most scenic views of the jagged cliffs and stunning ocean along this 90-mile stretch of land. Many people take in these sights by road trip, stopping the see the purple sand at Pfeiffer Beach and staying in a yurt along the way.

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Bowling Ball Beach

The spherical shape of the rocks on this beach, which is part of Schooner Gulch State Beach near Mendocino, is the result of millions of years of concretion and erosion. Each one is roughly four to five feet in diameter and are best admired at low tide.

BOOK NOW Honor Mansion

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Yosemite National Park

This park in the Sierra Nevada mountains is famous for its ginormous sequoia trees and five waterfalls that are over 1,000 feet tall. While visiting, you can pick between the 13 campgrounds in the park or, if that's not your style, stay at the appropriately-named Majestic Yosemite Hotel.

BOOK NOW Majestic Yosemite Hotel

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Mossbrae Falls

This spring-fed waterfall in northern California near Dunsmuir flows into the Sacramento River. But it's the moss-covered canyon walls that makes this 50-feet-tall and 175-feet-wide stunner memorable. Arnold Schwarzenegger even took George W. Bush to see these falls years ago.

BOOK NOW Dunsmuir Inn & Suites Hotel

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The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch
Carlsbad Ranch

The ranunculus fields in Carlsbad feature a whopping 50 acres of vibrant flowers and are at their peak bloom from early March through early May. We recommend having lunch at one of the picnic tables sprinkled around the fields after strolling through the rows.

BOOK NOW Park Hyatt Aviara

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Joshua Tree National Park

This rugged California park is famous for its Joshua trees, which legend says were named by Mormon travelers in honor of the biblical figure. Rock climbers come from all over the world to tackle this terrain, but the panorama from the 5,185-foot-high Keys View is just as memorable.

BOOK NOW Desert Riviera Hotel

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Golden Gate Bridge

This best way to see this suspension bridge in all its glory is by renting a bike near Fisherman's Wharf, then trekking across it on two wheels. We recommend taking a pit stop in the little town of Sausalito for lunch next to the water afterward, then taking the ferry back.

BOOK NOW Cavallo Point

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Shell Beach

This stretch of sand tucked halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco is located in the town of Pismo BeachHotel Cheval

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