This west coast state has long been considered the land of sunshine, beaches, and celebrities. If you’re looking to plan a trip to California this year, here are 7 cities to consider visiting, from some classic big cities to a few smaller, charming towns.
1. Los Angeles
Los Angeles is arguably one of the most well-loved cities to visit in California. Best known as being the home of Hollywood, as well as several iconic spots such as Venice Beach or Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles is also home to a number of off-the-path adventures. Thanks to its southern location, it’s also a great place to visit to enjoy some sun any time of year.
If large cities aren’t quite what you’re looking for in your upcoming trip, Carmel is a great option offering some of the best features of southern California without the hustle and bustle of larger urban destinations. Check out the gorgeous Carmel Beach for a popular surf spot, or head south to see wildlife and stunning views at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. In the town itself, you can look forward to exploring a variety of unique boutique shops as well as the historic Carmel Mission.
3. San Diego
San Diego is a far southern city in California. While it isn’t as popular a place to vacation as Los Angeles, it’s still an amazing vacation destination for all sorts of travelers. If you’re looking to enjoy big-city conveniences while also being nearby some quieter spots or serene slices of nature, this is an especially great option. A couple of notable places you may want to visit include La Jolla Cove for the sea caves and seals as well as Balboa Park for a variety of museums, walking trails, and street performers.
4. San Francisco
Located in northern California, San Francisco is probably best known for sightseeing spots such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Prison. It’s also home to a wide variety of unique (and in some cases, interactive) museums. The California Academy of Sciences, for example, features a 3-story indoor rainforest and is just a few minutes from downtown San Francisco.
Chances are you’ve at least heard of Anaheim in relation to a certain theme park. The homeplace of Disneyland, Anaheim is a great vacation destination. The world-famous theme park might be the best-known attraction, but it’s far from all the city has to offer. Whether you’re planning a trip to visit Disneyland, traveling through the area, or visiting the city itself, here are a couple of suggestions for fun things to do. Nature lovers will want to check out Oak Canyon Nature Center for several miles of peaceful nature trails. For travelers over 21, consider swinging by Brewheim to try some of their delicious drinks, brewed on sight. Finally, families with kids will want to check out Flightdeck Flight Simulator for a memorable and interactive experience.
6. Palm Springs
This resort town has a well-earned reputation as being the perfect spot for a serene and luxurious getaway. Located in the Sonoran desert, Palm Springs enjoys pretty warm weather year-round, making this another great option for those looking for a winter getaway that won’t be too chilly. It’s also less than an hour from both Coachella Valley and Joshua Tree National Park.
Sacramento is the capital of California, and can also make a pretty fun stop or destination. Head over to Old Sacramento to see some Goldrush-era buildings and check out a variety of museums chronicling the city’s rich history. Families and animal lovers might enjoy checking at the Sacramento Zoo, currently home to over 400 animals. Young children will also enjoy Fairytale Town, a family fun park with a petting zoo. Fairytale town also has some storybook-themed exhibits that provide education as well as fun, such as their interactive garden.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com