Ultimate California Bucket List: 100 Adventures You Need to Have in the State

As a state, California really does have a little bit of everything. From the scenic coastal drives and the arid deserts to towering Eastern Sierras and the large metropolitan cities, you could spend your whole life exploring this state and still not see all that it has to offer. I have spent the last five years trying to document as much of it as I can on my site, so I figured the five year anniversary would be a good time to create a bucket list of the 100 best spots I have seen over my time exploring. Check them out below and let me know what you would add to this list in the comments.

1. Marvel at Burney Falls

burney falls

One of my personal favorite spots, Burney Falls in Northern California is probably the best waterfall in the entire state. Sure there are bigger ones in Yosemite, but for me, the cascading power of this waterfall makes it something I keep coming back to again and again.

2. Hike to Hollywood Sign

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There are few things more iconic in California then the famous Hollywood Sign. Hiking to it is a rite of passage for many a Southern California hiker, and while you can’t get that close to it, you can still look down on this icon with the city of Los Angeles behind it, making it a must do in the state.

3. Drive the Big Sur Coastline

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The Big Sur coastline has been inspiring people for centuries with its rugged mountains that lead right down to picturesque beaches. Make sure you have a few days to explore though as there is so much to see.

4. Get Your Feet Wet at Fern Canyon

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One of California’s best and easiest hikes, Fern Canyon in Northern California was a spot used in the filming of Jurassic Park, The Lost World. If that doesn’t tell you how beautiful it is then just remember this movie was supposed to take place on a tropical island. It is one of those hikes you won’t forget.

5. Stargaze at Glacier Point

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There are lots of great places for dark night skies in California, but my favorite is Glacier Point in Yosemite. There is just something about watching the sunset fade over half dome and then seeing the stars light up the sky behind it that is just magical to me.

6. Kayak to Fannette Island in Emerald Bay State Park

Kayaking to Fannette Island-21

In South Lake Tahoe sits one of my favorite state parks in all of California, Emerald Bay. In the middle of the bay is an island with an old tea house on top of it. Rent a kayak and paddle out to the island, where you can leave the kayak and walk up to the old tea house.

7. See the Rocks Move at the Death Valley Racetrack

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No trip to Death Valley is complete without taking the 27-mile dirt road out to the racetrack where the rocks move on their own. This desolate spot, out on an old dry lake bed, is a place you need to see with your own eyes to believe.

8. Watch the Sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge

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The Golden Gate Bridge is up there with the Hollywood Sign as one of the most notable man-made objects in the state. I never get tired of seeing it, as it is just so majestic. Take the time to sit and watch the sun go down on it when you are in the area. I like Moore Pier or Battery Point for this.

9. Walk up Salvation Mountain

salvation mountain

One man’s tribute to God’s Love is a really fun road trip destination out in the Salton Sea. Sure it can be a strange place to visit and incredibly hot in the summer, but you will never forget seeing this crazy painted mountain right out in the arid desert.

10. Climb to the Highest Point in the Contiguous USA, Mt Whitney

View-from-Mt-Whitney-Summit

If you are a hiker then of course Mt Whitney is on your list. While it is not technical, it is a real grind to get to the top especially considering the high altitude which tops out at over 14,000 feet. However, once you get there, you will be standing on top of the tallest mountain in the lower 48, which is quite an achievement.

11. Wine Taste at the Oldest Winery in the State

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In Sonoma County sits the oldest, continuously running winery in all of California. At over a century and a half old it is even on the National Register of Historical Places and it is a fun spot to say you visited when in CA. The winery is called Buena Vista, and it has an awesome old stone building that you wine taste in.

12. Explore the Capitol Building in Sacramento

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Sacramento itself is a great spot to spend some time and dive into the awesome Farm to Fork scene they are cultivating. However, the most unique thing you can do in the city is visit the Capitol Building and see the different Houses represented there. I found this to be really interesting and something that should be on everyone’s list.

13. Take a Boat to the Channel Islands

Inspiration Point Anacapa

The Channel Islands are one of the least visited national parks in the entire United States, which makes them an amazingly peaceful spot for exploring and for relaxing your mind. Whether it is kayaking, hiking or wildlife viewing you will find something to love on these remote islands.

14. Watch the Sunset over the Sunset Cliffs

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By far one of my favorite spots for watching the sunset is the aptly named Sunset Cliffs in San Diego. I have been here countless times, and I never tire of how beautiful the area is and how amazing the sunset appears as it eases slowly down over the rocks and water. It feels remote even though it is right in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the USA.

15. See the Oldest Trees in the World

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Taking the trip up to the Ancient Bristlecone Forest outside of Big Pine should be on every adventurer’s list. The oldest living tree in the world is situated up there and even if that wasn’t the case, these gnarled, and unique pine trees are a photographers paradise.

16. Walk the Cypress Tree Tunnel in Point Reyes

Cypress Tree Tunnel-3

Sure you have seen this on one of your favorite photographer’s Instagrams, but have you thought about visiting yourself? It is such an easy spot to get to a you literally just drive up. The pictures are just incredible with the old cypress grove seeming to close in on you as you walk the road.

17. Sit at the Base of the Largest Tree in the World

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Not to be overshadowed by the oldest tree in the world, the largest tree in the world is also in California, in Sequoia National Park. It is hard to comprehend when you see it as it is just so large, but it really does make you realize how small you are in the grand scheme of things.

18. Repel into Moaning Cavern

Moaning Cavern-11

When you think of unique adventures in California, it is hard to think of something as unique as this. In Central California, there is a cave that the Statue of Liberty could fit into and that you can pay to repel into. It was such a crazy experience that I highly recommend you get over your fear or heights and do it as well.

19. Hike to the Top of Half Dome

Half Dome-1

Half Dome is probably the most recognizable natural attraction in California and for good reason. The hike to the top is not for the faint of heart, as you have to do 16 miles and 6,000 feet of elevation to complete it, a few hundred feet of which is by pulling yourself up anxiety inducing cables. I was so proud of myself for finishing it, but I probably would not do it again.

20. Road Trip to the California Missions

Mission San Francisco Solano-2

The 21 Spanish California Missions are unique pieces of California history. If you have grown up in the California school system, then you will study them in the 4th grade, but if not you can make a fun, week-long road trip visiting these buildings, which are some of the oldest in the entire state.

21. Bike the Devils Slide

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Outside of Half Moon Bay, there is an old piece of Pacific Coast Highway that was so dangerous that it was closed. When they closed it though they repaved it and made it a multi-use trail for walking and biking. It is one of the most beautiful bike trails you can do in the state as you get to look at staggering views without worrying about cars.

22. Hang Out with the Elephant Seals in Ano Nuevo

Ano Nuevo State Park-8

Ano Nuevo State Park is unique in California as it protects the elephant seal population but also provides an almost safari-like experience for the visitor. During the summer months, you can hike out to the area where the elephant seals are at and watch them in their natural habitat. It is a lot of fun as there are sand dunes and such which make it so you never know what you are going to find over each new hill.

23. Explore the Wine Castle in Napa Valley

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Sure the true wine people might not love this recommendation, but it is just such a fun spot to explore that it is an easy suggestion for me. The castle itself has over 100 rooms and you can take a tour that takes you through dungeons, courtyards, and ballrooms. They call it the Disneyland for adults and it is easy to see why.

24. Snowshoe to Fallen Leaf Lake

Snowshoe Fallen Leaf Lake-9

During the winter months in Lake Tahoe, grabbing some snowshoes is one of the best ways you can see the area without other people. I like the trail to Fallen Leaf Lake as it is approachable for almost anyone, yet the views at the end are stunning.

25. Marvel at the Avenue of the Giants

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The Avenue of the Giants rivals Big Sur for me in terms of drives that just continue to blow your mind. This ride takes you 31 miles through one of the most beautiful groves of redwoods that you have ever seen. Each bend provides another fantastic spot for a photo and you can stop at dozens of groves to explore and experience the trees up close as well.

26. Spend a Day in the Alabama Hills

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While I wouldn’t recommend this during the summer, during the spring and fall the Alabama Hills are a wonderland for the adventurer. With hundreds of arches, most that don’t even have trails, you can scramble around rocks, drive the dirt roads and just get lost trying to find new rock formations.

27. Watch the Sunset over the Kelso Dunes

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As one of the easiest to access set of dunes in California, the Kelso Dunes are an amazing spot to spend some time at. I will say that the hike up is not very enjoyable, but if you watch the sunset over the desert from there it is hard to beat.

28. Sit in a Hot Spring off Highway 395

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There are a dozen or so hot springs around the Bishop / Mammoth area and while some are better than others, it is hard to beat sitting in a hot tub fed by natural warm water and looking out over the Eastern Sierras.

29. See the California State Fish in the Golden Trout Wilderness

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The golden trout are only really found in one particular area of California, called the Golden Trout Wilderness. Located at 10,000 feet, these high altitude lakes and streams are incredible places to explore even if you don’t like to fish.

30. Hike to the World’s Largest Wooden Trestle 

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As one of the tougher short hikes you can do in California, visiting the Goat Canyon Trestle is an epic bucket list adventure. This bridge is the largest freestanding wooden trestle in the world, so it makes sense that the adventure would be worth the payoff.

31. Explore the Geothermal Pools of Bumpass Hell

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While nowhere near what you would see in Yellowstone, California’s geothermal area in Lassen National Park is still worth seeing. Bumpass Hell is the highlight of the area as it has crazy colors and a boardwalk that takes you right over the bubbling pools.

32. Tour the Historic Mission Inn Hotel

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The Mission Inn is one of the most beautiful and historic hotels in California. It has welcomed many presidents and was the place where Richard Nixon got married. The hotel is gorgeous and really fun to walk around and explore. Bonus points for going during Christmas when they have one of the best Christmas light displays in the USA.

33. Find a Banana Slug in Santa Cruz

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One of the most unique little creatures in California is the elusive and fun banana slug which hangs out in the mountains above Santa Cruz. You never know if you will stumble on one while on a trail but Big Basin State Park is a great spot to see these guys.

34. Get in the Christmas Spirit at Robolights in Palm Springs

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As one of the largest private Christmas light displays in all of the USA, Kenny’s Robolights in Palm Springs is a positively uncommon experience. The robots and characters that fill this massive property are covered in more lights than you can imagine one person facilitating.

35. Drive through Bishop Creek in the Fall

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Bishop Creek is one of the most beautiful spots in the entire Eastern Sierra range year round; however, when the colors change in the fall it becomes gorgeous. I go pretty much every year and it never gets old.

36. Have a Drink with a Mermaid

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Dive Bar in Sacramento has a full aquarium above the bar, and during select weekend nights they have mermaids and mermen that swim in the aquarium while interacting with the fish and the patrons below.

37. Marvel at the Devil’s Postpile

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Located on the backside of Mammoth Mountain, Devil’s Postpile is a fantastic National Monument with a crazy rock formation. Bonus points for also hiking to Rainbow Falls while in the area.

38. Whale Watch in Santa Cruz

Chardonnay II Sailing 7

Santa Cruz is a great town in general, but when the whales are coming through the area it becomes magical. I recommend getting out on a boat and seeing the animals up close, but often you can even see them from the pier as well.

39. Wander through California’s Best Aquarium

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While the Monterey Aquarium can be expensive and crowded, it truely is an amazing way to see the coast’s plethora of sea creatures. I can easily spend a half day just walking around and taking in all of the fantastic fish, eels, and seahorses they have on display.

40. Make a Frog Jump in Angels Camp

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Angel’s Camp is home to a yearly fair where they have a unique event, frog jumping. While you should go just to watch the “professionals” you can also try your hand at the sport as well. This event became famous through the Mark Twain novel called “The Jumping Frogs of Calaveras County.”

41. See Yosemite’s Second Valley at Hetch Hetchy

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While the issue of the dam at Hetch Hetchy is incredibly polarizing, no one can debate about the beauty of the area itself. There are miles of trails that take you around the areas waterfalls and rivers while looking down on the lake itself.

42. Enjoy Beach Hiking at Torrey Pines State Reserve

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As one of my favorite hikes in Southern California, Torrey Pines is a great spot to do some beach hiking. The trails lead to multiple overlooks while eventually taking you down to a picturesque beach as well.

43. Get a Donut at One of California Most Iconic Spots

Randys donuts with plane flying overhead

The giant donut that sits on top of Randy’s in Los Angeles has been beckoning visitors for decades. I for one go nearly every time I am in the area and it never gets old. The donut has been featured in tons of movies as well, such as Iron Man 2. I recommend the chocolate devils food.

44. Float down the Sacramento River

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One of the most popular Northern California adventures in the summer is grabbing an inner tube and just getting out on the river to float. They have one of the largest floats in California during memorial day weekend in Chico or you can avoid the crowds and go any other day of the year.

45. Backpack in Yosemite

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While hiking the John Muir Trail is one of the most iconic hikes in all of the USA, most people will not have the opportunity to do it and I wanted to keep this list approachable to everyone. Backpacking in Yosemite is one of the best ways to explore the park while avoiding a lot of the crowds. I recommend doing something like Glen Aulin or Clouds Rest if it is your first time and be sure to research and understand what you are doing before you go.

46. Walk Across the Border to Mexico

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Since California shares a border with Mexico, you really should visit it while living / exploring the state. Most people will choose to walk over the border at Tijuana and do some shopping, but for me I like to head east and walk over the border at Tecate. This city is home to the famous brewery and it can be fun to wander around and have a drink or a burrito then walk back across.

47. Take Surf Lessons in San Diego

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If you are in California then you should try your hand at surfing, which is a relative state sport here. There is no better spot to do it then in the magical city of San Diego with its fabulous beaches and perfect weather.

48. Bike from Huntington to Newport Beach

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While there are lots of great beach bike trails like San Clemente, I really like biking from Huntington to Newport. This trail lets you explore both of these fun SoCal beaches along a beautiful bike path. Stop at Wahoos in Huntington for some fish tacos after.

49. Explore the California State Railroad Museum and Old Town Sacramento

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I love trains, but even if you don’t share that love, it is hard to think of anyone not enjoying the California State Railroad Museum in Old Town Sacramento. It is one of the best museums I have ever been to. Be sure to stroll the streets of Old Town Sacramento after visiting the museum.

50. Camp on Angel Island

hipcamp quarry beach

While most people will visit Alcatraz while in San Francisco (which of course they should), Angel’s Island is a unique spot for a more private outdoor adventure. You can take a boat over and hike or camp on this island with views of San Francisco and little to no people.

51. Kayak the Sea Caves of La Jolla

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La Jolla is a great spot for kayakers of all abilities to test out being in the open water. If you are more advanced though there are a few sea caves that you can navigate into which are unique to this stretch of Southern California coast.

52. Eat an Oyster from the Tomales Bay at Hog Island

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Oysters are not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you haven’t had them directly from the water, then you should give them another try. Hog Island on Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most beautiful spots you will ever eat oysters, as they are pulled right out of the Tomales Bay in front of you.

53. Tour the Jelly Bean Factory

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Located in Fairfield, the Jelly Bean Factory is really fun spot to explore with the whole family. Take the free tour and look out over the sea of jelly beans while getting to try each step of the creation process. I love the atmosphere they create here and eating jelly beans is just a plus.

54. Eat at a Thomas Keller Restaurant in Yountville

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Thomas Keller is one of California’s most famous chefs. His main restaurant “The French Laundry” has been named the best restaurant in the world multiple times. While that spot is hard to get into and expensive you can opt to try one of his two other restaurants in the town of Yountville, my favorite is Bouchon. It’s a legit culinary adventure.

55. Harness your Inner Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison Museum

Folsom Prison Museum 1

Folsom Prison was made famous by the Johnny Cash song and the concert he held in the prison. They created a small museum on site that talks about all of this and more prison history. It’s pretty crazy to go there and learn about the Johnny Cash influence while also seeing all of the different things prisoners have snuck in and other exhibits.

56. Explore the Ghost Town of Bodie

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Bodie is California’s most well-preserved ghost town and it is a blast for the whole family to visit. I always enjoy walking the streets and imagining life in this once booming town.

57. Climb the Mosiac Steps in San Francisco

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This spot became popular during the rise of social media, but it is a truly great place for photography. You can climb the hundred or so mosaic steps; then when you get to the top, there is a park that gives you a fantastic view of San Francisco below.

58. Drive Through a Tree

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Driving North on Highway 101, it is fun to pull off at one of the three drive through trees for a fun photo.

59. Spelunk into the Caves of Pinnacles National Park

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Pinnacles National Park is the newest National Park in the country and because of that it is not very well known. The caves there are easily accessible by a short trail and because of that, it is a really unique way to get a non-guided tour cave experience.

60. See the Purple Sand of Pfeiffer Beach

purple sand pfieffer

Pfeiffer Beach is amazing in its own right, but if you go right after the rain then you will be in for a treat with the purple sand that comes down from the mountains behind it.

61. Tour the Crazy Winchester Mansion

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This mansion was the brainchild of the heir to the Winchester Company fortune. She believed that she would die if she ever stopped building though, so the house has stairs that lead to nowhere, doors to brick walls and all sorts of craziness. It is so big that you walk over a mile while on the tour of it.

62. See the Dead Fish Beaches of the Salton Sea

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Salton Sea is a lake that went through a massive chemical transition which killed nearly every fish that lived in it. Now it is an eerie yet beautiful spot. The state park itself has beaches with dead and decaying fish scattered all over them; it is something you have to see to believe.

63. Take a Selfie with Giant Paul Bunyon at Trees of Mystery

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These 50-foot tall statues mark the entrance to the Trees of Mystery which is a fun tourist attraction in Northern California. You won’t be able to miss them when you drive up Highway 101 and why would you want to, they are awesome!

64. Find Out What the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot is All About

Mystery Spot Santa Cruz 2

I am sure you have seen the bumper stickers for this crazy gravitational anomaly in Santa Cruz. It is a fun spot to bring the family and turn off your mind to marvel at the displays they created to mess with you.

65. Wander the Shores of Glass Beach

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This is the beach where people threw trash, and the ocean returned beautiful pieces of glass. It is a stunning spot in Northern California with a small shore full of smooth pieces of glass.

66. Find all the Metal Statues in Anza Borrego

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With over a hundred statues situated all around the park, it is an utter blast to just drive around and try and find them all. Many of them are massive like the above dragon and the scorpion, making them fantastic for photography and overall exploration.

67. Explore Olympic History in Squaw Valley

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The Olympic Museum in Squaw Valley is only accessible via a tram that takes you to the top of the mountain. In the building situated on top of the mountain is the small museum itself. While there isn’t a lot to really see at the museum, it is super fun to take the tram up and see the massive Olympic Rings.

68. Hike the Rubicon Trail along Lake Tahoe

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This trail goes from DL Bliss State Park to Emerald Bay. Along the way you see stunning views of the immaculate blue water stretching out in front of you. It is hard to find a more beautiful trail in the area.

69. Gaze Down at the Yosemite Valley from Taft Point

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Another incredibly popular Instagram spot, I am still surprised by how many people have seen it but didn’t know how easy it was to get to. This 2-mile round trip hike is relatively flat and it takes you to one of Yosemite’s best viewpoints.

70. Walk the Granite Steps up Moro Rock

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Moro Rock in Sequoia is a short hike with anxiety-inducing granite steps that takes you to the top of a massive rock overlooking the valley. I recommend it at sunset but make sure to bring a flashlight for the walk back.

71. Visit a Bakery in Solvang

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The Danish town of Solvang, along the Central Coast, is a great place to feel like you have left California. The city itself is entirely Danish inspired, and the bakeries all around town are home to some amazing pastries as well.

72. Eat at a Fairy Tale Restaurant in Santa Barbara

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If you are talking about amazing places to eat, then no list would be complete without mentioning Cold Springs Tavern. With literally nothing around it, this spot has become a local favorite ever since it was a stagecoach stop over 100 years ago. Be sure to order the tri tip.

73. Indulge your Inner Movie Star at Paramount Ranch

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The old movie town of Paramount Ranch is still a really popular filming location for Hollywood. Since it is on public property though you can go explore it, even when they are filming. I love walking down the dirt streets and indulging my inner movie star here.

74. Explore the Underground Gardens of Fresno 

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One of the most strange and unique spots along Highway 99, the Forestiere Underground Gardens in Fresno, are something you need to take a tour of to appreciate. The brainchild of one man over many decades, these gardens are a labyrinth of underground exploration.

75. Take a Ghost Tour of the Haunted Queen Mary

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The Queen Mary is the famous ship that sits in the Long Beach Harbor and has become one of the state’s most popular museums. It is supposedly haunted and they have a fun tour that takes you on the ship and tells you about the haunting.

76. Learn at the Museums of Balboa Park

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Balboa Park houses more than a dozen museums and is virtually impossible to explore without a few days. The museum’s are some of the best in the state with Museum of Man, Air and Space and the Miniature Train Museum being a few of my favorites.

77. Take the Boat to Alcatraz

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Alcatraz is one of San Francisco’s most popular attractions and it is a fun spot to explore for a half day and get out of the city. Be sure to book the tour in advance though as it always books up fast.

78. Drive Historic Route 66

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Route 66 ends in California. Because of that, there are a lot of adventures you can have on the Mother Road in the state. Some of the highlights for me are the original McDonalds Museum and Elmer’s Bottletree Ranch.

79. Stand on the Lowest Point in North America

Salt lake in badwater

Badwater in Death Valley is the lowest point in North America at -280 feet below sea level. The salt flats that stretch out before your eyes are stunning, just make sure not to go in the summer.

80. Spend a Night at Madonna Inn

Madonna Inn Old World Suite

Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo is a hotel where every room is different. I love staying there and picking a new room each time. My favorite is the Old World Suite though with its rock waterfall shower and stone walls.

81. Explore California Literary History

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Whether it is John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, Mark Twain’s Angels Camp or Jack London’s Sonoma, there are so many ways you can dig into literary history all over the state.

82. Stand on the Unofficial Center of the World

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Sure you really need to be committed to make it all the way to this spot, but the Unofficial Center of the World is located in California. Weirdly, it is not recognized by California itself but it is acknowledged by places like France and others. There are plenty of additional things to see here too like an original piece of the Effiel Tower.

83. Snorkel off Catalina Island

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It is a joy to be able to get to an island off the coast of California after only a 45-minute drive and a 45-minute boat ride from Los Angeles. Catalina is a great spot to indulge in a slower island lifestyle for a few days and the snorkeling is the best you will find in California.

84. Wander Through an Aircraft Carrier at USS Midway

USS-Midway-Far-Shot

The aircraft carrier in the bay of San Diego is a great spot to bring the family and get lost exploring the massive boat. I have been a few times and I still don’t think I have seen everything as I always seem to get lost going down all the different corridors.

85. Visit Hearst Castle

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Heart Castle sits in the mountains above the central coast and it is one of those spots I always skipped over on my trips. When I finally made it there I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it though. It is such a crazy place full of immaculate rooms and pools, make sure to add it to your list.

86. Tour Mercer Caverns

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Mercer Caverns is one of my favorite of the popular tour caves. This one has a lot of history, allows you to go deep into the cave itself and has sections where you actually feel like you are in an adventurous cave with steep staircases.

87. Walk out on Potato Chip Rock

Potato-Chip-Rock

Potato Chip Rock is a relatively polarizing spot in San Diego that many hikers love while other hate. I for one think it is a really unique experience so I recommend you do it if you are wanting to get into hiking and have a cool payoff at the end.

88. Climb the Stairs to the Fire Lookout at Sierra Buttes

Sierra Buttes Fire Outlook 4

This hike is one of my favorites in the Tahoe area as it leads to a vertigo-inducing staircase and the ultimate payoff of a fire overlook that looks out over the area below. It is beautiful and well worth a spot on your hiking list.

89. Grab the Headlamp and Explore Lava Beds National Monument

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One of the hardest to reach parks in California, Lava Beds is located in the Northern part of the state. It is an unusual spot with many really long caves that you can explore with a flashlight and a little courage.

90. Walk Across the Sundial Bridge

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As you can tell, I love bridges and this one in Redding is really different. It is fun to walk across as the bridge itself never actually touches the water below it.

91. Fly Over San Diego in a Biplane

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While there are a ton of great experiences you can have in San Diego, I love seeing it from above. The best way I ever did that was by getting in a historic biplane and staring out over the coastline below.

92. Snowshoe to a Sequoia Grove

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It is hard ever to be alone with some of the famous giant trees in Sequoia or Yosemite, but if you wait till it snows and strap on some snowshoes then you can walk down to see the trees pretty much all by yourself.

93. Find a Mine in Joshua Tree National Park

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Joshua Tree is full of gold mines with some being nothing but holes and others still having full stamp mills. The latter of which is my favorite and it is called Lost Horse Mine, but finding any of the mines in the park makes for a fun adventure.

94. Visit Elvis Honeymoon Home in Palm Springs

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Many people do not know about this unique connection between Elvis and California, but it is actually where he spent his honeymoon. The house has stayed relatively the same since that time and it has become a draw for all of the Elvis lovers out there. I wouldn’t put myself in that camp but I still found it to be a really fun place to explore.

95. Stand Under California’s Tallest Bridge in Auburn

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The Foresthill Bridge in Auburn is the tallest in the state, and it is pretty scary to look out over the edge of bridge. There are even a few trails around the area that let you walk under it and marvel at how massive it truly is.

96. Wander Land’s End and the Sutro Baths

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Land’s End is one of the most picturesque trails in all of San Francisco and it is a go-to for me in the area. The trail has fantastic coastal views, the Sutro Baths, and vista points for the Golden Gate Bridge.

97. Experience the Poppy Bloom in Antelope Valley State Park

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When it is in bloom, Antelope Valley is a magical field of orange that stretches as far as the eye can see. It is highly dependent on the weather we have each year, but when it is right, the poppies are mind blowing.

98. Tour Nit Witt Ridge

Nitt Witt Ridge 40

The poor man’s Hearst Castle, Nit Witt Ridge is a collection of trash, art and not following building codes that lead to this crazy mansion in Cambria. They offer tours a few times a week and it is something I guarantee you will have not seen before.

99. Stare into the Ubehebe Crater

Ubehebe Crater

The Ubehebe Crater in Death Valley is just another of the natural wonders you can visit in this fascinating park. It is so massive though that you need to see it with your own eyes as pictures do not do it justice.

100. Eat a Burger Animal Style at In & Out

in and out-1-2

I figured I couldn’t let this list end without the quintessential California experience of eating In & Out. This burger joint is as California as anything on the list. If you are visiting then get a double-double animal style, you can thank me later.

So there you have it, my California Bucket List suggestions after exploring for five years. Thanks for reading all the way to the end! I would love to hear what you think I left off in the comments and be sure to let me know how many you have done yourself as well.

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About JoshMc

Thanks for checking out the blog, I am happy to be sharing my adventures with you! You can get to know me by reading my about me, which includes a video and additional information on the site, myself and my full disclosure. Also, follow along on Twitter here or read all of my posts on this blog here.

  • Janelle Keller

    Thanks so much for taking the time to write all of this out. It is such a gift to those of us living in California.

    • Thanks for the comment and I am so glad you liked the post! It was a lot of work but it is worth it as long as others enjoy it 🙂

  • Nicole Rosenbaum

    This is WAY too much fun. You have just officially added a load of adventures to my list. I can always count on you! We are laughing (in agreement of course) about #100. Righteous.

    • haha thanks for the comment! Glad you liked the post and its hard not to love #100 its so California!

  • Jeff Hester

    Great list, Josh! I’ve done 28 of these so far. Some of them I’ve been close to, but I didn’t count (like hiking on Angel Island, but not camping; or hiking in Pinnacles NP but not spelunking). I’ll get there eventually. 😉

    • Nice, 28 is awesome and I think that hiking on Angel Island totally counts 🙂

  • my jaw dropped so many times looking at these pics. I cant wait to book a trip. Thank you.

    • No problem, thanks for the comment and have fun exploring CA!

  • Marco Corona

    I appreciate your California travels and beautiful photos. I know you have been to several places on the link below but there are many more, strange and not always attractive places. But, many are enjoyable to see if checking out other local but not as well known places.

    California Attractions and Oddities
    http://www.roadsideamerica.com/location/ca/all

    • Thanks for the comment and link, that is another great list of places to explore!

  • Kenna Cain

    Have a couple more…….Devils punch bowl, calico ghost town, red rock canyon, Big Bear, Tallest thermometer in Baker, just to name a few. Have lived in Cali since 1965

    • Thanks, these are all great ones too!

  • clandestinelove

    In searching for the mission churches, my husband stumbled upon your blog (I wonder why I haven’t 🙁 ), and I’m truly grateful that he did! We’ve been to the US 3 times for the past 5 years (home base in LA as our relatives are there) and we feel like we’re running out of places to visit in California. Your blog has truly proven us wrong, and that there are indeed a lot of interesting places we have yet to discover. I will be using your California Bucket List as our guide for our US trip this December. Although I believe that the winter season might keep us from visiting some places, I’m pretty positive we’ll still have a grand time touring the others. Thank you for sharing! If you have an idea of great places to visit this Christmas season, I’ll be more than happy to know 🙂

    • Thanks so much for the comment and the kind words about the site! be sure to let me know if you have any questions about spots on your trip!

  • GezilecekYerler.Com

    Thanks for article. Great useful information