What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you say California? Silicon Valley, traffic, surfing, and swimming in the ocean. However, California is so much more than that. Nature lovers can explore the Sunshine State in the most magnificent ways and have the most exciting adventures. Driving along the California roads ensures beautiful views of forests, alpine lakes, deserts, and so much more. That’s why you should plan this itinerary with our nature lover’s guide to California – find out what spots in the Sunshine State will take your breath away!
Yosemite National Park
It’s one of the best-known national parks in the country – and there’s a great reason for it. The drive along the park will give you the chance to see some of the most magnificent views. Highway 120 is probably the best way to approach the park, and it’s one of the commonly used roads for travelers. You can also go for a more historic option – Highway 140, which is great for driving all year long. Furthermore, you can use the Tioga Pass to enter the park, so you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Some of the top attractions in Yosemite are Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, El Capitan, Yosemite Museum, Indian Village, etc. True nature lovers can enjoy climbing, hiking, and camping in the park, so there’s something for everyone.
Death Valley National Park
Even though many don’t find this national park attractive at first, the place is absolutely worth visiting. These unique landscapes will make you forget you’re in California or even in the United States! Don’t be afraid of its name; the Death Valley is a beautiful national park with stunning rock formations, canyons, dunes, and so much more. However, this is a place of extremes, so avoid visiting it in the summer months. It gets extremely hot and dry, so the best time to visit it is from November to March. Visiting the valley can be a one-day trip – you can make this rather short itinerary and see a lot. Be sure to include Mesquite Sand Dunes, Zabriskie Point, Badwater Basin Salt Flats, and Furnace Creek Visitor Center. Finish it with stargazing at Harmony Borax Works. The sky in the Death Valley gets extremely dark, which is why it’s one of the best places to see the stars above us.
If you’re starting your California getaway experience n San Francisco, be sure to visit Napa Valley for some wine tasting. The area is famous worldwide for producing high-quality wines, so it should be a stop on your itinerary. Even if you’re not a wine-lover, you’ll enjoy the beauty of vineyards in the area. There are several wineries that you can visit here, so be sure to book a tour. While in Napa Valley, you can also visit Westwood Hills Park, Skyline Wilderness Park, and Oxbow Preserve.
Redwoods of Klamath, CA
For some dream-like sights, go to Redwoods of Klamath. You’ll see famous Trees of Mystery – ancient giant trees that look like they’re from a fairytale. There are even trees that grow together to form a shrine called Cathedral Tree. Also, for a unique drive-thru experience, visit the Tour Thru Tree – just be sure to fold your rearview mirrors! This nature park is suitable for kids, too, which is great if you’re traveling with your family.
Even though there’s a lot to see in this area, nature lovers often choose to see wildlife in the Monterey Aquarium. Different exhibits of wildlife that can be found in California’s waters will blow your mind. You’ll see wolf eels, leopard sharks, and even the giant Pacific octopus. Maritime lovers will surely enjoy seeing these beautiful sea creatures. Also, Monterey Bay is home to one of the greatest places to move with your family and one of the best family-friendly cities in CA. Use this chance to visit the places that can potentially be your new home and a perfect location to live with your little ones.
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
This nature park is favored by hikers as many trails lead to magnificent natural sights. You can encounter various animals here – black-tailed deer or a skunk. However, our favorite sight is at the banks of the Big Sur River, where you can enjoy the magnificent gorge and even take a swim in the swimming hole.
In general, the Big Sur coast is very attractive to visitors, as it’s home to some of the most beautiful natural wonders of California. Driving along this coast will ensure you see different nature parks, the Big Sur Lighthouse, the Bixby Creek Bridge, and more.
One of the main nature attractions in the state, Lake Tahoe will astonish you with its beauty. The deep green color of its waters and mountain surroundings make this a true gem of this nature lover’s guide to California. There’s so much to do here – swimming, boating, hiking, and camping. This is also one of the top skiing destinations in the Sunshine State. You can reach this place by car or even by plane – there’s the Tahoe International Airport nearby. There are several hotels and Airbnb accommodations in the area, but be sure to book in advance. Summertime is rather busy with tourists from all around the world.
Another beautiful coastline of California is the Laguna Beach area. Apart from visiting the town of Laguna Beach, drive along the coast to see some of the many beaches and coves. The cliff formations and rock arches show the tremendous power of the ocean to shape the earth. This area is a common stop for those embarking on the Pacific Coast journey and people who like to stay at hotels with first-class ocean views. It’s definitely a sight to see, so maybe planning this road trip this year is a great idea.
One visit is simply not enough to see all the natural wonders of California. However, we hope this nature lover’s guide to California will narrow your list a bit and help you choose the best location to make memories for the rest of your life.