California Vacations for Every Traveler

For over a century now travelers have been drawn to the state of California, but with it being the most populated area that is not its own country on the continent of North America, it can be tough to decide where to visit. Thankfully, this curated guide of California vacation ideas, as written by the travel blogger The Points Guy, makes the decision a whole lot easier.

As it’s the third-largest United State by land size alone, California is certainly huge, but it’s also incredibly populated. It’s the 34th most populated state in the world with well over 39 million residents living on its over 163,000 square miles of surface land. This is also not to even mention that on that massive expanse there are internationally-renowned theme parks, metropolises, movie studios, resorts, spas, national parks, and 900 miles of Pacific Ocean-adjacent beach property.

With that being said, booking a trip to the Golden State can be overwhelming even for the more accomplished traveler, so here are a few suggested trip proposals depending on your vacation style.

Looking for Aesthetics?

When you spend a full season of Winter in New England or the frigid Midwest, suddenly the sunny beaches and palm trees of the California Coast are calling your name. If postcard-worthy sites are what you’re after, then look no further than the city of Palm Springs, California. Known as a fashionable location for tourists and Southern California Residents alike, this city has magnificent sights to be seen inside and out. For instance, one needs only to walk through the Moorten Botanical Garden or feed a literal Giraffe at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens to see both the flora and fauna of this amazing city. If in town, be sure to pack some “athleisure-wear” for your hike up Tahquitz Canyon so that you can partake in a real-life waterfall oasis in the middle of a desert or see the wonderful state of California from above on an aerial gondola ride that takes you over Coachella Valley in an unforgettable canyon-hugging ride of your life.

Looking for Recreation?

Have you truly been to California if you don’t visit an amusement or theme park that the state is famous for? Whether you’re traveling with loved ones, extended family, coworkers, or just friends, there’s plenty of fun to be had by anyone in the city of Anaheim, California. Home to the internationally-famous Disneyland, it’s almost impossible to imagine California without the iconic characters and attractions of the Walt Disney Corporation and their truly magical theme park experiences. Taking a walk through Downtown Disney or the state’s very own sister park, California Adventure,are the obvious choices that are guaranteed to help you regain any lost sense of childlike wonder. If you want to find more mature attractions, so to speak, then look no further than the world-famous Angel Stadium, home to the Los Angeles Angels or make the day trip to Catalina Island or Huntington Beach to soak in the sunny rays that the state is known for.

Looking for Extravagance?

Movie stars, top athletes, and some of the most successful people on the planet reside in California for its catering to a higher class of living. That being said, the city of San Francisco and its surrounding bay area are perfect for those wanting decadence on their vacation. This famed city is home to one of the most expensive properties owned by the Ritz-Carlton brand, and it’s for good reason. The property, known as the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, is one of the finest, most luxury-filled resorts on the planet with its decadent accommodations overlooking a cliff-side ocean view and its countless amenities such as its championship golf courses or award-winning yoga studios. While staying in the area, be sure to spend a day at the MoMa and breathe in the arts and culture of some of the most accomplished artists at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

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Top Rated San Diego Attractions

Known as the oldest town in California, San Diego is the gem of SoCal, and with Planetware’s curated list of the top-rated tourist attractions in the city, you’ll never find yourself in the least bit bored.

Located not too far off from the Mexican Border in Southern California, the City of San Diego holds within its limits a combination of natural beauty, mild Mediterranean climate, an abundance of sunshine, and a wide selection of unforgettable metropolitan attractions. Ideal for outdoor adventures sprinkled throughout your trips to the various museums and gardens that the city has to offer, you’ll never be without an exciting adventure. Of course, be sure to check local CDC recommendations, travel advisories, and local city mandates to ensure that your time in San Diego is spent as efficiently and safely as possible.

Set your sights on Balboa Park’s Spanish Colonial-style architecture, the Midway Aircraft Museum, or the world famous San Diego Zoo. If you’re looking for sunshine, San Diego houses several beaches with over 68 miles of coastline in and around the city limits, making it perfect for sunning, swimming, and even surfing.

San Diego Zoo

This zoo is famous, as it is one of the largest and most notable zoos to be found in the United States. Get ready to plan an entire day here, as you’ll be dying to get the most out of your visit once admitted. Visitors of the zoo are given a wide selection of exotic animals to observe, though the San Diego Zoo’s most famed residents are the giant pandasthat have been successfully bred in the zoo. Outside of the pandas, zoo attendees have the opportunity to see amazing habitats that enclose grizzly bears, koalas, gorillas, leopards, bonobos, polar bears, rhinos, and sloths, just to name a few favorites.

If you’re interested in spending more time with your favorite furry friends, the San Diego Zoo offers an upgraded experience that includes behind-the-scenes, close-up experiences with the animals. The grounds themselves are spread out along a landscaped canyon that houses an expansive botanical collection of over 700,000 plants from around the globe. Though, if your feet begin to get sore, you can always hop on the Kangaroo Express Bus to speed up your ground traversal or you can glide over exhibits from above in the Skyfari Aerial Tram.

The nonprofit San Diego Zoo Global operates the zoo itself as well as conservation organizations, and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, which is located about 40 minutes north of downtown San Diego. The Safari Park offers more of an observation experience similar to that found on an African Safari with free-roaming animals on a large acreage of land, making San Diego’s entire zoo experience a truly memorable one!

Balboa Park

Tourists and locals have a lot to love with the 1,400-acre Balboa Park and its encompassing historical buildings,numerous museums and bountiful gardens. The Panama California Exhibition of 1915-1916 caused the creation of the park, and the buildings have remained ever since with their predominantly Spanish-style architecture and low-rise buildings that blend in with the natural surroundings. This disguising blend of architecture and nature make it almost seem as though lush vegetation has overtaken this palace.

Besides the sheer sight of the park itself are the botanical gardens, lily pond, Museum of Man, Museum of Natural History, the San Diego Museum of Art, and the Fleet Science Center; all of which are can’t miss experiences housed in the park. If you ever make it out of Balboa Park, feel free to visit the other top rated attractions from Planet Ware during your visit.

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