Categories: Travel

5 Great Vacation Spots In California

Oh, California. The state that holds most of America’s west coast. A state with an economy so powerful that it has a higher GDP than the entire country of Germany. It’s a great place to vacation, and I’ve written extensively about it’s many national parks. Anyway, here are five great California vacation spots.

1. Mammoth Lakes.

The first California vacation spot is one that I remember from when I was a little Kid. Mammoth lakes. This mountain town serves as a year-round adventure land. In the winter you can ski and snowshoe, while in the warmer months you can hike and sightsee in the mountains. It’s something of a hidden gem, as I don’t see many people talking about it as they do other vacation spots. There are many hotels and cabins for a variety of prices, so you don’t need to be in the 1% to experience this natural wonderland. From biking and hiking to fishing and swimming, there’s so much you can do in Mammoth Lakes. If you’re looking for a nice getaway from the trappings of civilization and just want to spend a few days in the California mountains, this is a great place to go. Perfect for people who want a nature getaway without the crowds of national parkgoers. 

2. Santa Barbara.

Located at the intersection of California’s coastal regions and wine country, Santa Barbara is considered America’s version of the Riviera. And considering how much a trip to France costs, I’d say it’s a worthy substitute. This scenic city has more than a few selling points, including several museums, a zoo, and an aquarium. It also has several historical buildings that date back to when the state was part of Mexico. There’s quite a lot for you to discover and enjoy in this historic city. If you’re a lover of plants, the city has two entire botanical gardens, which is impressive. If you’re a lover of wine, you can explore and sample the creations of the vineyards that surround the city, and Santa Barbara is something of a gateway into the Californian wine country. If the bounty of the land isn’t your style, why not visit the more aquatic portions of the city, such as the aquarium or the pier? The seafood is quite impressive, I’ve been told. The city is also a hotspot for live music, so feel free to catch a concert or two while you’re in the area. 

3. Monterey.

Our third California destination is the city of Monterey. Monterey is one of the nicest cities in all of California. However, that means staying there for any length of time is going to drain your finances real fast. Even by California standards, this place is upscale. But make no mistake, you’ll get your money’s worth. The city is a beautiful place to explore, with picturesque coastlines and sandy beaches. It’s one of the oldest cities in California, and thus has a rich history for those that are interested. One of the  crown jewels of Monterey, of course, is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Monterey Bay Aquarium focuses on local marine life, and has a staggering array of exhibits, including a living kelp forest. It was the first Aquarium to successfully keep Great White Sharks in captivity, and the biologist working there have made breakthroughs in Jellyfish husbandry. I’m something of a nerd when it comes to marine life, so this is all incredibly interesting to me. If you don’t care about fish, you can hit up the annual jazz festival, or take a stroll through cannery row. There’s a lot to love about this town, and I’m sad I’m never going to make enough money to live there. 

4. Mendocino.

I’ve talked a lot about this slice of northern California before, and I’ll do it again. I absolutely adore this place. The stark cliffs and deep inlets, the calm atmosphere, and the large stands of old trees that flank the town. It’s a perfect getaway for those who want a more quiet and scenic vacation. The area is home to several historic lighthouses, and depending on the time of year, you might even see whales off in the distance. If you go in the summer, you can visit the beaches, as watch, from a safe distance, the many seals and seabirds who call the area home. Another interesting thing about the Mendocino area is the glass beach. This is a large beach completely covered in multicolored sea glass, a rare and beautiful phenomenon, at least at this scale. If all that doesn’t sound like enough, there are many hiking trails through the coastal forests and along the coastline itself.  The town is a great spot for relaxing, and it’s not a super well-known vacation spot, so you don’t need to worry too much about there being a lot of competition.

See Also
The 8 Most Overrated Places To Go In Texas

5. Mount Shasta.

If you’re wondering if I’m referring to the city or the mountain with this entry, the answer is yes. Mount Shasta is a volcano located at the southern tip of California’s Cascade range. It’s a great place for hikers and mountaineers to visit and explore. If you want to spent your time ascending a massive peak, or just want to gaze at the massive volcano from afar, you can’t go wrong with this place. For those of you into new-agey spiritualism or what have you, Mount Shasta is considered something of a “power spot” so if you want to go recharge your healing crystals or whatever it is you do, Mount Shasta is a good destination. If you’re not as captivated by new age woo-woo, Mount Shasta is still a great destination because it’s a great hiking and climbing spot with access to the trappings of civilization. Mount Shasta is also home to a buddhist monastery,  and holds spiritual and ritual significance to several Native American tribes. The mountain itself is enclosed by a protected national forest, so there’s good support for hiking and exploration. I don’t believe in new age stuff, but I kinda get why Shasta is such a big deal for them. 

Any California vacation spots you love? Tell us about them!

Featured Image source:
Edward Zukoski

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