California Nature & Parks . Regardless of which trail you decide to take, each route will treat you to breathtaking views of chaparral, wildflowers, and the L.A. skyline. Unusual things to do in Southern California. California Attractions & Theme Parks . The forested mountains, the desert, grassy chaparrals, … One of the more unique things to do in Southern California, A few miles away from the Salton Sea, visionary Leonard Knight took it upon himself to create an actual mountain out of adobe, straw, and non-toxic paint. Pictures fail to capture the astonishing beauty of the ranunculuses in full bloom, so make sure to visit when you get the chance. Venice Skate Park is 16,000 sq. 31 – Go thrift shopping. Point Reyes National Seashore boasts some of the most gorgeous coastal views in the Bay Area, which isn’t something I say lightly. You can choose to embark on a Ghost Walk Tour, where you’ll hear tales of what haunts Bodie and explore the creaky Standard Mill at night. You might think it’s a dream to see your favorite actors in the flesh, but I assure you, it can be a reality. Written by. It also serves as a playground for kids who have fun crawling and hopping in and out of the cages. San Diego, especially, is famous for its fish tacos, which can be found for as little as $1 on Tuesdays. Just make sure to book your campsite well in advance if you plan on staying overnight on the island. Things to do in California Welcome to California From southern California’s beachy San Diego and star-studded Los Angeles to history-steeped San Francisco and quieter towns in the north, the Golden State serves up an endless array of destinations and activities. You’d think that a sinking town and an abandoned old zoo are not weird enough, how about a 50 acres Nazi compound in the Santa Monica Mountain which is minutes away from the popular third street promenade. It might not look that interesting, but we’d suggest you to go ahead and check them out. Hit up Land’s End in San Francisco for an up-close look at the waves and the iconic Labyrinth. You can drive this shortened version in one day, although it will be a packed one that involves being in the car for most of the day. And no one is stopping the adults from doing the same thing, while taking some good Snapchats, doesn’t it sound like the perfect place to use that dog filter? While most people visit national parks to be surrounded by forest, people go to Joshua Tree National Park to be surrounded by stunning rock formations and the stars. Today, the ground is open for the public to go and explore. Besides General Sherman, Sequoia National Park is one of the nine national parks in California that is well worth visiting for its natural beauty and good hiking trails. The Boardwalk also has a great arcade (including laser tag) next door, and a bowling alley across the street. City 190 Outdoor 97 California 3 Challenges 340 Family trips 32 hiking 14 hometown challenges 28 unusual things to do 22 USA 26 AUTHOR: Maria Angelova Maria is a 20-something traveling disaster roaming the world. With such diverse terrain, it’s not surprising that this region offers practically an endless number of things to do. These trees are some of the oldest in the world and grow to enormous heights (and widths). But there are a lot more things to do in California, many more places to visit than just Hollywood. Take a ride along “The Strand” bicycle path . Even if you’re not religious, Salvation Mountain is worth visiting due to its sheer creativity. What sets Squaw apart is the hard-charging, fun-loving attitude of its locals. So what exactly makes apple pie from Julian so special? There’s nothing better than having a memorable adventure in Southern California without spending a dime. So what are you waiting for? Book your tickets online for the top things to do in San Diego, California on Tripadvisor: See 233,657 traveler reviews and photos of San Diego tourist attractions. and colorful badlands, Anza-Borrego provides plenty of sights for visitors who are looking to experience the desert in all its glory. Otherwise, I usually recommend at least 2-3 days to properly road trip the PCH and take in all its beauty and attractions off the side of the highway. Even the parking! Anyone who grew up in California knows the real reason why In-N-Out is the best burger: it’s everywhere…and um, animal style!! If you’re tired of visiting the over-pretentious art galleries, we’d suggest you to visit this place for some true Bohemian art. In that case you may want to explore a different zoo with less people in it..and no animals either! San Francisco bakery chain, Boudin Bakery, is world-famous for their sourdough bread bowls. Kayte Deioma. November is usually the best month to see the butterflies. 16 Fun Things to Do in Hollywood, California. And you can’t leave the state without trying the fusion ‘California Burrito’ that sounds disgusting to anyone who isn’t from here, but believe me when I say it’s DELICIOUS. The USS Midway Museum is a hotspot for maritime lovers and an opportunity to step onto the aircraft carrier Midway itself. No, we’re not talking about eating several bananas a day. Hundreds of feet inside the McCloud Limestone Mountain Range are the alluring and mysterious Lake Shasta Caverns. Salton Sea 7. The cool thing is that the cages are left open so you can get in, explore and see how it feels to be stuck in cage. If you want a fun time with your favorite critters, buy a ticket today. Since it closed as a prison, it has become a national landmark and home to history exhibits and art installations by world-famous artists such as Ai Weiwei. If you’re looking for an island adventure, Catalina Island is the way to go. It’s a city of trailblazing beer culture and techniques that will take you through a journey of unique flavors and styles. Most of the creations you’ll see here are created by him; however, as East Jesus gained popularity, many artists from around the country come here to add their works to the collection. 1. Not only are the caverns recognized for their incredible speleothem (stalactite and stalagmite formations), but for the care in conservation and the surrounding environment. Upon entering a 300-foot man-made tunnel into the mountainside, you will find yourself immersed in a subterranean wonderland, sure to impress even the most skeptical visitors. Inside the ornate building, you’re free to walk the historic rooms, which have been restored to period-era decor to highlight the trends and politics of the time. General Sherman stands at 275 feet tall and is over 36 feet in diameter. There are a lot of really cool things to do in the San Francisco Bay area really and lots of historic sites. Let’s start with the most popular things to do in California that both tourists and locals love alike. What makes this sea kayaking trip especially unique? If you automatically start drooling at the thought of eating some delicious shellfish, oyster-shucking at Tomales Bay is a must-do just north of San Francisco. When you’re tired of all the dust in your desert road trip, take a breather and party at the Ace Hotel or Saguaro pool. You’ll also find some random ducks that will walk past you, don’t step on their poop. It’s actually the oldest surviving amusement park in California and one of the few oceanside amusement parks on the West Coast. Napa is home to incredible restaurants, shopping, and outdoorsy activities. To preserve the “arrested decay” of the town, there are no commercial vendors in Bodie. Located three hours south east of L.A. Salvation Mountain is truly one of the most remarkable, unique, and fascinating landmarks of Southern California. A visit to the Venice Beach Boardwalk isn’t complete without watching the talented skateboarders at the skate park along the beach. Discover 1217 hidden attractions, cool sights, and unusual things to do in California from The Wave Organ to The El Segundo Butterfly Preserve . Related: Exploring My Own Backyard in Julian, California. No we are not talking about Atlantis here. Please try again. Note that there are whales that come through the Monterey Bay year-round, it just depends on what kind of whale you’re hoping to see. The panda and gorilla exhibits are always a hit at the zoo, and you can easily get your steps in wandering from the Australia exhibit to the Tiger Trail and the Africa Rocks. Pro-tip if you want to visit this historical landmark: buy tickets early! Recommended Experience: Ride a Steam Train through the Santa Cruz Redwoods. Largest body of water in California situated in the middle of desertsounds like Big Bear in Palm Spring? We don't believe in spam, so you can rest assured that every email we send you will be hand-crafted full of awesome goodies. Another one of the best places for kids in California is the San Francisco Zoo. I hope you’ll get to experience both the local aspects and tourist attractions around California through these recommendations. These are the California sights and experiences you absolutely can’t miss in the state. However, the first phase of restoration is estimated to be completed around March 2019. Cap off your day of shopping at the 3rd Street Promenade and biking along the beach by watching the sunset from Santa Monica Pier. 5. It’s seen as one of the best aquariums in the world, and it’s not hard to see why with how diverse our marine life is in the Monterey Bay. If you want a full list of recommended beer spots in California (including my San Diego recommendations), check out my post on the 30 Best California Breweries. From the north to the south, these are the must-have experiences and best things to do in California no matter what time of year you’re visiting. The mountain setting makes these springs some of Northern California’s most beautiful to soak in. If you have time to embark on a longer trip, the Pacific Coast Highway is world-renowned for its ocean views and popular pit stops, such as Big Sur and San Luis Obispo. I set out on a road trip voyage to discover the unique places to visit in California. If you hate Bananas look away! California is the third-largest state in the nation and will take you through a variety of temperatures and environments. So where did all this Danish inspiration come from? Plus, there is plenty more to keep you busy … Not only is it open every day of the year, but the temperatures rarely hit extreme colds or highs, making it easy to prep what you’re going to bring on your hike. TOP UNUSUAL THINGS TO DO IN SOCAL. There are so many hot springs in eastern California and western Nevada that they can fill an entire book. California Outdoor Activities . Find what to do today, this weekend, or in December. All you have to do is bring yourself and your best audience behavior. You can access the Labyrinth by parking at the Land’s End parking lot and walking east on the Coastal Trail towards Mile Rock Beach. There are a lot of scenic coastal drives in California, it’s kind of our thing. On powder days, Tahoe’s most hardcore skiers and riders queue up for the famous KT-22 lift before the sun rises. If baseball isn’t your thing, cheering on the Golden State Warriors NBA team at the Chase Center is one of the best ways to spend an evening in San Francisco. Since this spot is BYO other than the oysters, make sure to bring a couple of six-packs, wine bottles, some hot sauce, lemons, and any other accompaniments you enjoy pairing with these bivalves. Home to all four types of volcanoes (shield, composite, cinder cone, and plug dome), Lassen Volcanic National Park literally bubbles, steams, and roars. However, you can take a quick peek at the museum and bookstore if you want to learn more about the town’s history. Otherwise, this is a great group tour to go on if you don’t want to drive yourself. The best time to visit is in the fall during “crush” season when you have the unique opportunity to see a winery in action! Go out there and live your strange California dream! You can check the Guinness Book of World Record as it is recognized for having the largest collection dedicated to a single fruit. Well look no further we bring you a list of top 10 offbeat and unusual things to do in California. Only accessible in the summer, you have to pay a mandatory admissions fee to take the shuttle bus from Mammoth Mountain Lodge Gondola Building to the start of the trail. Balboa Park is not just any ordinary park. This place is no exception! Lucky for you, you can experience this iconic Los Angeles landmark in person! If you’re looking for a good tour to take you around to the different wineries so you don’t have to drive, I’d recommend this one. The only way to see the elephant seals during the mating season is through a 2.5 guided tour. There are also quite a few good foodie spots and cafes in the neighborhood (especially for vegans and vegetarians), so make sure to research a place or two to eat and drink via Yelp or Foursquare while you’re in town. You can admire the beauty of gigantic redwoods before witnessing one of the most hostile natural landscapes in the world. To celebrate spring in style, Carlsbad opens their flower fields to the public every March to May. We’d suggest you take few hours to just explore and walk around. This infamous lake was accidentally created in early 1900’s (it was a strange time for California). No beer lover’s visit to California is complete without a tour of one (or more) of the famous San Diego breweries. Over the years it has become a bit overcrowded in the summer months, but one of the best ways to avoid the bulk of the crowds is to visit during the shoulder seasons of spring or fall and to actually get out onto the trails! Well that’s up to you to figure it out. Mid-April through mid-December is when humpback whales, blue whales, dolphins, or killer whales come through. Hollywood Trail or the more strenuous Brush Canyon Trail. There are plenty of hiking trails to choose from, but I recommend Escondido Falls for the waterfall or Sycamore Canyon for the ocean views. There are multiple courses for all levels here, and the experience is pretty great. at one point. Really, you can’t not eat Mexican food in California! Albany Bulb. Non-residents have to pay a $10.25 toll to drive the road but it’s worth it for the beautiful route and stunning views. You truly have to see it to believe it. As Mexico’s northern neighbor, California has picked up a thing or two from the culinary king next door, although be forewarned that California Mexican is a completely different experience from what you’ll find down south. Insider tip: look up the secret menu on Google before ordering so you can make the most out of the simple menu on offer and enjoy burgers and fries the way locals do. At Henry Cowell State Park, just north of Santa Cruz, there are multiple redwood trees that you can literally step inside of along one of the many hiking trails at the park. There’s no wrong way to experience Anaheim’s Disney parks. If you happen to swing by this cute, pink ATM in Beverly Hills, grab a cupcake for you and your pup (yes, Sprinkles makes dog-friendly cupcakes as well!). © 2019 The Atlas Heart | made in collaboration with Ink & Honey Design Co. + Michelle Robins Creative. Famous sights on the route include the Lone Cypress Tree, Bird Rock, and Del Monte Forest. Beautiful La Jolla Cove in San Diego. Most people recommend California Adventure for those who aren’t traveling with kids because it’s slightly more geared for adults in terms of the number of thrill rides and the fact that they sell alcohol. Get your skip-the-line ticket here for the USS Midway Museum. This is one of the most unique states on the US mainland. Not only can you visit the De Young Museum and admire the nearby botanical gardens, but you can also check out the Buffalo Paddock and see American bison grazing on the wild grasses! The project flooded this land and created an 8,360 square miles big lake. You can also join a guided Island Tour (included with the price of admission) with one of the museum’s experienced docents. San Diego has had one of the best microbrewery scenes in California for years. It has starred in a popular film like Into the Wild, this sanctuary remains a secret to most locals and is yet to be visited by many adventurers and explorers, and that’s a reward itself for Leonard Knight who spent around thirty years of his life into creating this landmark. California History & Culture . If you’re up for the challenge (and you plan in advance in terms of booking permits) you can tackle the Half Dome hike. Previously home to almost 10,000 people, the gold-mining ghost town of Bodie has been abandoned for over 50 years. Reservations are a must and can be made here. Yosemite National Park is easily the most popular national park in California. Rent a bike and ride over to the Venice Canals for a taste of Italy, California-style. This windswept point in Central California is not only a scenic spot to while away an afternoon, but also home to a large elephant seal colony that breeds here for a few weeks every winter. It can be defined as anything but normal. Swan and donut floaties. Fact … Santa Cruz is known as ‘Surf City’ for a reason (don’t listen to people from Huntington Beach who tell you otherwise), and the two most famous spots for surfing in the city have to be Steamer Lane and The Hook in Pleasure Point. If you’re not much into surfing, it’s worth it to spend an hour at either of these spots watching the talented surfers below. But if you’re in L.A you know that it is always overcrowded over the weekend. Many people have no idea how much a person can like a fruit. Do it. Nope, more like thousands of dead fish and abandoned ruins. If you want to observe the animals up close, the Safari Park is a great option to see your favorites out in the open range. The Murphy Ranch aka the Nazi compound or locally known to as the Nazi House. Tripsavvy's Editorial Guidelines. The Albany Bulb showcases that the idea of “trash” is simply just a mindset. Located a mile away from the Salvation Mountain this outdoor art exhibition is called East Jesus. The city was founded by a group of Danes in 1911 who were trying to escape the intensely cold Midwestern winters. We have already established that California has some "interesting” places to practice your art. Sculptures of Anza Borrego 6. I love hearing arguments between New Yorkers in LA about how much better Shake Shack is than In-N-Out Burger. With its noble columns and snappy cupola, all painted wedding-cake white, the California State Capitol has a familiar aura that’s sure to captivate – it’s modeled after the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C. Don’t believe us? One of the most magical things to see in California is walking through the eucalyptus trees that are filled with thousands of Monarch Butterflies at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz. Make reservations, bring cash, and enjoy all that briny goodness. Joshua Tree is just far away enough from any major cities to avoid light pollution, which makes it ideal for gazing at the cosmos at night. Must-sees are the El Prado, the Botanical Building, and the Old Globe Theatre (a replica of the Globe Theatre in London). Regardless of whether the SF Giants are having a great season or not, it’s always a great idea to catch a game and nosh on those delicious garlic fries at Oracle Park. But there’s no reason to complain when you have 100's of dinosaur sculptures just lying around. But let’s get right to the point: people come here to experience the wine. It was started by a man named Charles Russell who used the trash that people dump in the desert land and turned them into beautiful art work. You can check it out here. However, it wasn’t too long before the water became saltier than the sea due to pollution and high temperature level, which resulted in millions of dead fish flooding the shoreline. Tickets to most live tapings are free. Things to do in southern California when it rains. Interested in seeing the largest tree in the world? The Pismo Beach Sand Dunes, also known as the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, are probably the most famous on the California Coast and the perfect spot for an afternoon dune buggy adventure. Well we do not have an answer to that. You can see my article on places to visit in Northern California here. The crown of California’s largest state park belongs to Anza-Borrego State Park, located within the Colorado Desert just north of San Diego. And if you’re looking to purchase a tent, make sure to check out my recommendations for the best four-person tents or larger camping tents. Visit top-rated & must-see attractions. Napa Valley has over 450 vineyards in 14 different appellations (regions), with a wide range of offerings. Depending on the level of difficulty, you can either opt for the family-friendly Mt. From mid-December through Mid-April is when you might see gray whales, dolphins, and killer whales migrating. The museum consists of every banana-related item from toys, key chain, jackets, shirt, a photo album and everything banana related you can imagine. Get first dibs on travel updates, tips, and deals. 22 miles of easy riding along Southern California’s gorgeous coastline awaits you on one of the best paved bicycle trails in the country. One of many travelers biggest dreams is to visit California, and jump head first into all the great things to do in California. Sipping these world-famous wines is a fun choice for day trips, bachelorette parties, and couples’ getaways alike. Ever since its humble beginnings during the Gold Rush, Julian has made apple pie making into an art with its many apple trees. Boudin Bakery also has beef chili, tomato bisque, and broccoli cheddar in their rotation. The most popular part of the PCH is from San Francisco to Los Angeles or San Diego. Cacti and crystal swimming pools. If sailing, isn’t your thing, simply spending a day or two exploring Catalina Island is well worth it. Tamalpais. Now, you can hike and camp at 11 accredited campsites on the Island. After all, what’s not to love about buying your own wand at Ollivander’s Wand Shop, enjoying a sip of butterbeer, and seeing Hogwarts with your very own eyes, adding in a thrill ride or two to keep the adrenaline pumping? If you can only pick between a few places to go in California, Big Sur should be one of them. Northern California is home to everything from rugged coastlines and beautiful beaches to picturesque vineyards, dazzling lakes, rushing rivers and soaring mountains, with exciting cities and unique towns in between. Winona and Norman Stephens and their followers took over the canyon and started to build this compound. The skate park is a great start to an afternoon exploring Venice Beach, a counterculture hippie spot that is a unique addition to the usual LA scene. This is Salton Sea, considered to be one of the strangest and coolest places in California. So how is it a zoo you may ask? Famous for its native bighorn sheep (that’s where “borrego” comes from!) If you’re a diehard J.K. Rowling fan, you’ve probably already made plans to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. Opt for a free self-guided public art tour, or fork up $12 for a 90-minute guided walking tour. Related: Best Joshua Tree Hotels and Campgrounds. There are numerous companies to choose from that leave from Santa Barbara and Ventura to take you on a half or full-day adventure out on the water, and to explore the diverse marine life that exists on this part of the California coast. The city has never forgotten its roots nor its love for all things Danish since then. One of the best places to go sea kayaking is right off the coast of Santa Barbara, around Channel Islands National Park. The Central Coast of California is one of the premier places to see migrating whales. But that didn’t stop the spirit of California from dwindling. Although we won’t be doing a big Thanksgiving ce, Just finished up a month of living in Tahoe, recon, #ad One of my favorite outdoor date activities in, My face when I’m daydreaming about Al Pastor bur, It’s hard to believe that I was walking through, Walk or Cycle Across the Golden Gate Bridge, Stop at In-N-Out Burger on a California Road Trip, Discover the Hydrothermal Sites at Lassen Volcanic National Park, Soak in the Eastern Sierra Natural Hot Springs, Explore the State Capitol Building in Sacramento, Hike to the Lighthouse at Point Reyes National Seashore, Grab a Bowl of Clam Chowder at Boudin Bakery, Get Spooked at the Winchester Mystery House, Take in the View from Land’s End Labyrinth, Catch a Giant’s Game & Eat Garlic Fries at Oracle Park (Formerly AT&T Park), Visit California’s Most Famous Prison on Alcatraz Island, Explore the Largest Chinatown Outside of Asia, Say Hello to the Bison at Golden Gate Park, Camp on Angel Island & Watch the Fog Roll in Over San Francisco, Visit the Most Famous Ghost Town in California at Bodie State Historic Park, Hike to the Unusual Devil’s Postpile National Monument in Mammoth Lakes, See the Thousands of Elephant Seals at Año Nuevo State Park, Step Inside a Redwood Tree at Henry Cowell State Park, Surf the Waves at Steamer Lane or Pleasure Point, Ride the Giant Dipper at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Witness Thousands of Monarch Butterflies a Natural Bridges, Visit One of the Best Aquariums in the World at the Monterey Bay, See General Sherman at Sequoia National Park, Explore the Pismo Beach Sand Dunes on an ATV, Visit the Lowest Point in North America at Badwater Basin, Take in the View from Griffith Observatory, Go to a Live Taping of Your Favorite TV Show in LA, Watch the Skateboarders at Venice Beach Boardwalk, Go Hiking in Malibu then Spend the Day on the Beach, Visit Hogwarts at Universal Studios Hollywood, Get Religiously Psychedelic at Salvation Mountain, Eat the Best Apple Pie in California in Julian, Witness the Beauty of the Desert at Anza-Borrego State Park, Walk through the Colorful Flower Fields in Carlsbad, Get Wild at the San Diego Zoo & Safari Park, Tour a Decommissioned Aircraft Carrier at the USS Midway Museum, Best Things to do in Lake Tahoe (During Any Season), The Best Things to do in San Francisco at Night, Ride a Steam Train through the Santa Cruz Redwoods, My Favorite Hike in San Diego – Torrey Pines, 8 Best Handheld GPS Devices for Hiking (2020 Buying Guide), Best Heated Gloves for Cold Weather (2020 Buying Guide), 3 Outdoor Date Ideas in the Bay Area (To Enjoy During Quarantine). California has always been about people expressing their feelings via art, no matter how weird that turns out.