palm tree lined street in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California - 16 places to to visit in California

16 Places You Have to Visit in California

California is the most visited state in the US and it’s no wonder why! It is one of the few places in the world where you can experience a little bit of everything! This state has it all — snow-capped mountain tops, vibrant cities, stunning coastlines and beaches, extensive deserts, romantic vineyards, and tall redwood forests! Not to mention all the sunshine and adventure!

I might be a bit biased but California is a total dream! So in this blog post I’ll be sharing

16 places in California you absolutely have to visit!


Big Sur

If you’re looking for an epic road trip with stunning seaside cliffs, Big Sur is for you! You can find sea otters, gorgeous hikes, the iconic Pixby Bridge, and lush camping and glamping spots.

Monterey & Carmel

Monterey and Carmel are some of my favorite little towns along the PCH! You’ll usually find cool weather here so it’s perfect for cozy vibes, cafe dates, long walks along the shore, and for shopping at the cutest boutique stores. You’ll also find the Monetary Bay Aquarium, which is super cool!

Monterey Bay - 16 places to to visit in California

San Francisco

One of the most exciting cities I know of in California! With a diverse culture, endless cuisine  options, steep rolling streets, tall buildings, cable cars, Karl the fog, and worldwide known landmarks, this city will make you fall in love over and over again at every corner you turn!

Want to find the most instagrammable spots in San Francisco? Check out my “Instagram Worthy Spots in SF” blog post here!

Point Reyes

Located 30 miles north of San Francisco you’ll find a scenic cape and seashore featuring a historic lighthouse! Here you’ll find lots of trails to hike, ship wrecks, wildlife sightings, and the prettiest tree tunnel!

tree tunnel in Point Reyes - 16 places to to visit in California

Mt Tamalpais

A literal dream! Go for a hike in Mt Tamalpais so you can be above the clouds while you simultaneously admire views of the city and of the Pacific Ocean!

Napa & Sonoma

Napa is a romantic wine region in northern California! This valley is the epitome of beautiful countryside scenery, award-winning wines and vineyards, and adventurous hot air ballon rides! It is an absolute bucket-list experience!

Napa Valley castle in California - 16 places to to visit in California

Lake Tahoe

My absolute favorite winter destination (but other seasons are pretty too)! Lake Tahoe is famous for its ski resorts and because it straddles the California and Nevada border! But it’s so much more than that! Tahoe will bring you the cutest little village, casinos, beaches, lake cruises, mountain snowmobiling, breathtaking hikes, and more!

Lake Tahoe rooftop views

Use this blog post to plan your next trip to Lake Tahoe!


A national park in the southern Sierra Nevada, Sequoia is known for its giant sequoia trees, including the largest tree on earth! This place will literally make you feel like a tiny ant! It’s absolutely breathtaking!


Yosemite has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is internationally recognized for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear water streams, mountains, meadows, and wildlife. It also features a little village offering lodging, dining, and fun!

Yosemite, California - 16 places to to visit in California


Santa Barbara

There’s beauty and then there’s Santa Barbara! This coastline city features the Santa Ynez Mountains as a dramatic backdrop, palm tree lined streets, and Mediterranean-style buildings that reflect Spanish colonial heritage. You can visit Santa Barbara for some beach fun, upscale boutique shopping, and local wine tasting!


Malibu is not just home to A-list celebrities, it is also home to some of the most beautiful coastlines and beaches in California, perfect for dreamy sunsets! I definitely recommend a visit to Malibu!

El Matador Beach, Malibu - 16 places to to visit in California

Los Angeles

You can’t come to California and not visit Los Angeles, that just wouldn’t be right! People from outside of the country fly across the world just to visit this iconic city! Fame, glitz, glamour, beauty, film, music — Hollywood attracts us all! But I would say LA is much more than just movie-land! You can find a little bit of everything here and it is the perfect city for fun and adventure!

P.S. They have Disneyland!

Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree is THE place to visit if you’re looking for a desert getaway! It is the perfect spot to hike boulders, hang around a bonfire with friends, and stargaze all night! Joshua Tree is a personal favorite of mine and I highly suggest you visit!

Here’s a link to the airbnb I stayed at! Use my airbnb code to save $40!

Joshua Tree, California, desert getaway, chill vibes, hammock swing, travel guide

Check out my “Joshua Tree Road Trip” blog post here!

Palm Springs

Another one of my personal favorites on the list is Palm Springs (maybe I have a thing for desert getaways)! It is a little city in the middle of the dessert known for its hot springs, stylish hotels and spas, trendy restaurants, palm tree lined streets, vintage shops, and its midcentury-modern architecture. It is the perfect desert getaway!

San Diego

I don’t know a better place for a little summer vacation in California other than San Diego! This city is a total gem! Whether you want to hangout on a rooftop in the city, bar crawl through the beach towns, take a ferry to an island, or paraglide off of the coast, San Diego will not disappoint you!

Balboa Park in San Diego, California, girly outfit for San Diego, creative photography

Slab City – Salvation Mountain

In the strangest little town, south of Joshua Tree, you will find an entire hill completely covered in paint with a huge message that reads “God is Love.” This place is super unique and it is totally worth the drive!

That’s it for now! I hope you enjoyed this California blog post! Let me know in the comments below if you would add any other city to this list! 

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  1. Unfortunately there is no ferry to an island, in San Diego.
    The ferry merely crosses the harbor to and from Coronado, whicjlh is a peninsula, not an island.
    Up in LA, you make take a ferry to Catalina Island.

    1. Hi Douglas! Thank you so much for your comment! I know Coronado is not an actual “island” but it is called Coronado Island, which is what I was referring to. And they do have a ferry that crosses over to Coronado and back to San Diego, as well! I always think it’s a super fun activity that won’t take up your entire day, if you don’t want it to! 🙂 Also, Catalina is on my list and I can’t wait to visit! I’ve heard great things!

  2. A must “sea” city in Northern California”s “Lost Coast “” is Trinidad. It is small in size , but enourmous in it’s beauty, with it’s beautiful seemingly endles coastlines, gorgeous sunsets, historical landmarks, and quaint hometown shops and feel. The freshest seafood including dungenous crab and halibut can be personally caught and prepared or ordered at local eating establishments at extremely reasonable prices. The taste? ??
    Let us just say heavenly…bringing you back again and again for more!!! Walking through enourmous Redwood Forests which are centuries old can be intimidating making you feel small ,while appreciating their mighty grandeur!

    1. WOW! That sounds incredible! Thank you so much for sharing. I will definitely be adding that to my list!