5 Best Places to Visit in California This Summer

Desert Serenade

In a state as massive as California, it might be hard to pin down exactly where you want to go on a whirlwind vacation. The coastal state is as rich in natural beauty as it is in history, family fun, and famous landmarks. If you’re planning a trip to California in the near future, check out our guide of the best spots in the entire state to help you narrow down potential stops along your route.

  1. Disneyland. Lavish amusement parks may be a dime a dozen today, but when Walt Disney opened his very first fairy tale park back in 1955, it was groundbreaking. Disneyland evokes the same genius and creativity that Disney showed off in his magical movies, but in real life. Explore its eight different sections with your kids, from Main Street USA to Mickey’s Toon Town. Family-friendly rides, familiar characters, and delightful surprises await around virtually every corner.
  2. Joshua Tree National Park. If you’re vacationing sans kids—or with some particularly outdoorsy ones—Joshua Tree National Park might better fit the bill. It resides right at the junction of the Mojave and Colorado desert, giving guests a unique glimpse at each distinct ecosystem. Despite its name, the 800,000-acre park mostly showcases sparse desert underbrush. In fact, it only has five oases where its majestic namesake trees grow, so if you’re just going for an afternoon hike, make sure to hit one of them.
  3. Alcatraz. Alcatraz Island is technically a national park. It’s also the home of the nation’s first lighthouse and West Coast U.S. fort. Yet the island is best known as the site of a famously impenetrable federal penitentiary. Embark on a self-guided tour of the once-mysterious cellhouse, where some of the country’s worst criminals spent their final years. It’ll probably take you about three hours to see everything, so allow plenty of time. Also note that evening visits include more of a guided tour, whereas trips during the day are largely self-guided.
  4. Yosemite National Park. Yosemite has been a protected park of the national parks system since 1864, but it still remains one of the most famous natural spaces in the country today. It encompasses a breathtaking 1,200 square miles of rushing waterfalls, granite-laden valleys, and awe-inspiring Sequoia trees. Stay a few days at one of the campgrounds or carve out a day for hiking among the natural splendor.
  5. Golden Gate Bridge. You’ve probably seen the Golden Gate Bridge in the opening credits of TV shows and movie montages of an idyllic San Francisco, but seeing it in person is a different experience entirely. You’ll be able to attest to that personally if you schedule some time to stop by the Golden Gate Bridge during your California vacation. While you’re there, take a few extra hours to explore the meticulously manicured parks and gardens that surround the iconic structure.

  • September 11th, 2015
  • Posted in: Avalon