California Things to Do
The most populous state in the Union boasts almost as many visitor activities as it does people. Make the most of your time in the Golden State by focusing on this signature list of things to do in California.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
When you’re in Hollywood, you have to do this, but it’s a good idea to limit yourself to staying for about half an hour. The sidewalk along Hollywood Boulevard contains about 2,000 five-pointed stars with the names of famous celebrities including Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, and Godzilla. If you’re looking for a particular person’s star, look it up ahead of time or the hunt could take all day. The walk also passes by Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, which has its own autographs and footprints of more celebrities in the cement. Watch out for pickpockets and con men who prey on tourists.
San Diego Zoo
With over 4,000 animals, this zoo is not only one of the largest in the world but is also renowned for its naturalistic settings. You can easily spend six hours and not see the whole zoo. There is a trolley you can take around the park, but it only makes three stops so it’s best for getting an overview. Some of the best areas are Gorilla Tropics, where you can see the darling Pygmy Chimpanzee; Polar Bear Plunge, where the bears play; and the Panda Bear Habitat, with the famous black-and-white creatures. One of the zoo’s calling cards is its many shows, such as the Sea Lion Show.
On sunny days, the Monterrey Peninsula is one of the most stunning stretches of coastline in California. On the famed 17-Mile Drive, you’ll pay a toll to drive along the coast past the homes of the rich and famous, but it’s worth it. Bring a camera because you’ll want to take photos, especially of the 300-year-old Lone Cypress, watching over the edge of the continent.
Death Valley National Park has some of California’s most beautiful sand dunes. As you head to the park’s Stovepipe Wells Village, you’ll start to see the Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes. To visit the dunes, many people park their cars along the road, so be careful of people trying to cross. There’s also a parking lot for this specific area, which makes pedestrian crossings safer. If you head for the sands, watch out for critters like scorpions, spiders, and snakes. If it’s hot, wear sun protection, a hat, and take some water with you.
Sequoia National Park
The largest living things on Earth grow here. Living as ling as 3,200 years and weighing about 2.7 million pounds, the Giant Sequoias grow from seeds about the size of an oat flake. The General Sherman Tree is 311 feet tall and is the largest, although not the tallest, tree. This park hooks up to King’s Canyon National Park to form one continuous wonder of nature.
Golden Gate Bridge
With its soaring towers, sweeping cables, and great span, the Golden Gate Bridge is indisputably of the world’s most beautiful bridges. The famed suspension bridge crosses the Golden Gate Strait, and connects San Francisco on one side and the picturesque town of Sausalito on the other. Sidewalks on the bridge let you walk, use a wheelchair, or bicycle during the daylight hours; but note that roller skates and skateboards are not allowed.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about things to do in California.