The 5 Most Popular Natural Attractions of California

Deserts, Islands, Mountains and Forests, California has options galore for those looking to relax amidst pure nature.

Yosemite National Park

One of the United States' most famous and scenic national parks, the mountains, valleys, rivers and huge waterfalls of Yosemite National Park have been a huge draw for casual visitors and artists for long past. Carved by glaciers of the last ice age, Yosemite Valley at the center of the Park is home to towering granite domes, thundering waterfalls which include the magnificent Upper Yosemite Falls that drops 1,430 feet all rising above the forest covered floor.

The sheer rock face of El Capitán is one of the most famous sites in the park, and other must-visit sights include the Sentinel Dome, Sentinel Rock, Half Dome, Cathedral Spires, the Glacier Point lookout and the spectacular view of Yosemite Falls from Eagle Peak, the highest of the Three Brothers. The Mariposa Grove, located in the southern part of the park, features the largest stand of giant sequoias in the park.

Big Sur

This beautiful stretch of sandy coastline between emerald forestry and an azure ocean offers visitors a chance to indulge in nature like nowhere else. The Big Sur stretches along the Highway No. 1, from about 4 miles south of Carmel in Yankee Point and as far as Salmon Cove, some 17 miles north of San Simeon. From these roads, one can enjoy splendid views of the picturesque coastline.

The Garrapata State Park offers the most beautiful stretch of beach and the Pfeiffer State Park is a lovely place for hiking trails. To the east stretches the Santa Lucia Mountains and Ventana Forests, with more than 220 miles of trails amid true wilderness. One of the highlights is the Valley View Trail that leads up to the Pfeiffer Falls.

Lake Tahoe

The Lake Tahoe that nests high in the mountains is a popular tourist spot year round. In summer, it’s a playground for boaters and beach goers, during winter the surrounding mountains offer some excellent trails for skiing, with the Sugar Bowl Ski Area, a particular favorite of skiers from all over.

Death Valley

The Death Valley National Park is host to some of California's most inhospitable terrain as it endures extreme heat most of the year that has also left this area beautiful in a strange sense. Undulating dry parched lands, salt fields, sand dunes, mountains, and a lake that lies below sea level combine to create a unique landscape. Visitors can drive themselves through the park and stop at lookout points, take short hikes, visit the ruins of the valley's former industries and even paddle in the shallow waters (if any) of Badwater Lake.

Santa Catalina Island

The island lies a few miles southwest the port of Wilmington, Los Angeles. A popular destination with boaters or day trippers, Avalon is where all the "action" can be found. Swimming, diving, deep-sea fishing, kayaking, and camping are some of the main attractions of the island. The rocky island has a mountainous center that reaches over 3,100 ft.

So if you’re a nature lover planning a trip to Cali, you can pick and choose from the spectacular destinations mentioned above.

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