Thomas N Salzano - Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in California

Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge is one of those famous attractions that people tend to call to mind when they think of the city, and even California. The orange frame against the blue water of San Francisco Bay, or rising out of the fog that often covers the area, is an unforgettable sight.

Big Sur

This beautiful stretch of coastline and forest offers a chance for visitors to get back to nature. Camping and hiking are two of the biggest activities in this area. Garrapata State Park offers a beautiful section of beach, and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is a lovely place for hiking.
Big Sur begins about 4 miles south of Carmel in Yankee Point, and stretches along the Highway No. 1 as far as Salmon Cove, some 17 miles north of San Simeon. From Highway 1 there are splendid views over the picturesque coastline. To the east stretches a true wilderness; the Santa Lucia Mountains and Ventana Forests, with more than 220 miles of trails.

Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park, made up of five individual islands, is a great place to see wildlife and a little undisturbed nature. 

The islands are accessible only by private boat, or park concessionaire boats. The mainland visitors centers are located in Ventura and Santa Barbara, from where transportation can be arranged.

Death Valley

Death Valley, which encompasses Death Valley National Park, contains some of California’s most inhospitable terrain, with extreme heat that has left this desert area strangely beautiful. Salt fields, dry parched land, sand dunes, mountains, and a lake that lies below sea level create a unique landscape in this remote valley. 
Visitors can drive through the park and stop at lookouts, hike short trails, see the ruins of the valley’s former industry, and even paddle in the shallow Badwater Lake, if there is any water in the lake at that time.


Disneyland, located in Anaheim, is California’s premier family destination and has been for decades. This massive amusement park is home to all kinds of rides, games, shows, and entertainment, complete with restaurants and hotels.
The park is a combination of theme rides, recreated worlds and cultures, all mingled with eating and shopping. Disneyland has everything from rides and roller coasters to fine dining (which will in some cases definitely require advance reservations). 
There are shows and entertainment designed for both children and adults. The long line ups and wait times of yesteryear have been reduced somewhat by the invention of passes which give you a “return time” to various attractions. However, when kids are out of school, either for the summer, Christmas, spring break, or any other holiday, you can be sure that the park will be very busy.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe lies high in the mountains and is a beautiful spot year round. In summer the lake is a playground for boaters and beach goers. During the winter months the surrounding mountains offer some excellent terrain for skiing, with the Sugar Bowl Ski Area bringing in skiers from all over.

Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park, covering an area of 1,070,000 acres, begins in Crescent City and runs south for 46 miles, mainly along the Pacific Coast. As well as the beautiful redwood trees, the park offers numerous walks and picnic sites. The headquarters of the park are in Crescent City.
Inside Redwood National Park, which was created in 1868, lie three State Parks, all on or near Highway 101. These include Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Redwoods State Park, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. The latter possesses the tallest redwoods.

Santa Catalina Island

The island of Santa Catalina lies 26 miles southwest of Wilmington, the port of Los Angeles. The island is a popular destination with boaters or day trippers. Avalon is the main population center and where all the “action” can be found. Camping, swimming, deep-sea fishing, kayaking, and diving are some of the other main attractions of the island. 
Catalina is rocky, with a mountainous interior that reaches over 3,100 ft. The island measures 21 miles long and varies between 0.5 to 9 miles in width. The interior and most of the coast are uninhabited.


This theme park is a classic family destination, drawing people from all over the Western United States. Orca and dolphin shows, opportunities for close up encounters with some favorite marine life, and thrill rides are the main attractions. 
San Diego’s SeaWorld is strategically located along the waterfront in Mission Bay.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Known for their giant redwoods, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks cover an area of mountains with majestic granite peaks, deep gorges, mountain lakes, rivers and forests. The two parks are administered as one. 
They stretch from the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in the west, on the edge of the San JoaquĆ­n Valley, to the main ridge of the Sierra Nevada in the east. Here Mount Whitney (14,495 ft) is the highest mountain in the U.S. (apart from Alaska), and many others peaks reach over 10,000 ft. 

Yosemite National Park


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