What is California Known For? 9 Things That Make California the State It Is

California is arguably the most famous state in America with millions of tourists flocking here each year to soak up the sunshine, the landscapes and the chic shopping and nightlife. Whether you’re there to celebrity spot or would rather get away from it all in some of the state’s epic national parks, California has something for you. But why do so many people love California?

What is California Known For?

California is known for its beaches like Venice Beach, National Parks like Yosemite, and tourist attractions such as Disneyland and Alcatraz. California is famous for being the USA’s largest wine-growing region, surfers enjoying its 840-mile coast line and Hollywood dominating the film/TV industry.

Find out below why you should add the Golden State to your Bucket List.

1. The Beaches of California

a californian beach


Of course, being a coastal state, California is famed for its beaches, and it is thought that the state boasts over 840 miles of golden sands! While some are more famous than others (Venice Beach we’re looking at you), there are beaches of all shapes, sizes and styles to suit every traveller. From shallow lagoons and deeper surf spots to natural wonders and bustling bays that are the place to be seen, California really does have it all. Some of the beach highlights in California include Santa Cruz, Sea Ranch, Shelter Cover and Huntington Beach.

2. Hollywood

When most people think of California, the Hollywood sign and the surrounding celebrity mansions often spring to mind. Of course, this is only a select area of the state of California, but it is still significant as it was the media scene that really helped put California on the map.

Hollywood itself lies in the heart of the state and is populated by celebs, film studios and people wanting to break into the industry. Visitors can explore the Hollywood Walk of Fame, visit one of the region’s many markets, museums and libraries, or enjoy a picnic at Grand Park all before checking out a performance at one of Hollywood’s theatres or music venues in the evening.

3. National Parks (and Californian State Parks)

sequoia forest


If nature is more your scene, you might be interested to learn that California is home to 280 state parks, some of which are the nation’s favourite National Parks.

Big names such as Yosemite, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Pinnacles and Point Reyes are just some of the iconic parks that are begging to be explored. Whether you like coastal walks, remote parks, big, breath-taking scenery or epic redwood trees, California’s National Parks have you covered! Many of these can be visited as a day trip, or you can spend a number of nights camping in the parks to discover their depths even further.

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4. Nicknames that California is Known for

Cali, the El Dorado State, the Land of Milk and Honey, the Golden State, the Sunshine State, the Grape State, the Golden West… the list goes on! This state is famed for having many nicknames which refer to its beauty, its climate and its prosperity during the gold rush days, which offered hope to people from all over the country. Thankfully for California, most of its nicknames are positive (unlike Chicago being the windy city), so whichever name you hear you’re more than likely to want to add a trip to California to your Bucket List!

5. Alcatraz

alcatraz cali


The island of Alcatraz has been a fort, military prison and maximum-security federal penitentiary and is now home to a museum that tells the tales of the island’s incarceration history. Taking a guided tour here is a moving experience, and visitors can learn all about the Alcatraz stories and secrets.

Travellers will need to take a ferry to Alcatraz Island, which makes the stories of prisoner escape attempts all the more amazing when you hear about them later on. The audio-guide tour option allows you to explore Alcatraz at your own pace, stopping in the entrance of the cells to try to feel what it would have been like to have been locked up here!

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6. Surfing on California's Famous Beaches

As we mentioned earlier, California has some amazing beaches, and many of these are top spots for surfing. With huge waves and world-renowned breaks as well as beginner bays and beautiful beaches on which to be a spectator, Cali is a definite Bucket List destination for surfers. Some of the most popular surfer beaches include Mavericks in Half Moon Bay, the Trestles in San Clemente, Tourmaline Surfing Park Beach and Cowell Beach in Santa Cruz (a good spot for beginners). While some areas have a few problems with locals being territorial over their surf, on the whole, you should be able to find surfers who are willing to share their dreamy destinations!

7. San Francisco

victorian houses in front of san francisco skyline


The city of San Francisco is reason enough to visit California thanks to its eclectic culture, quirky street art, delicious cuisine and incredible photographic opportunities such as The Golden Gate Bridge and the world’s wiggliest street, Lombard St! San Francisco attracts all types of traveller from art lovers and foodie fanatics to those seeking the perfect coffee or Instagram shoot. It’s also a great spot for a family holiday as the sheer volume of activities on offer means that everyone will be kept entertained.

8. Wine, the Best in the USA?

a californian vineyard


California is the United States’ largest wine-growing region, and the vineyards here are thought to produce around 81% of the nation’s wine (not to mention exporting loads to Europe). It, therefore, goes without saying that California is known for its wine! The state itself boasts over 1200 wineries (both big and small) which welcome visitors wishing to learn about production and taste a tipple or two. The most famous wine-growing region in California is the Napa Valley, but Central and Russian River Valley are popular spots too.

9. Theme Parks/Disneyland

disneyland at night


A lot of American states are famed for their theme parks, and California is no different, with parks of all shapes and sizes to suit everyone from tiny tots to adrenaline-junkies! California is not only home to the original Disneyland (a must for Walt fans) and the sister park California Adventure, but it also boasts Universal Studios Hollywood, Six Flags Magic Mountain and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and Boomerang Bay.

So now you know the top things that California is famous for. If that list doesn’t convince you to travel to California, then I don’t know what will! Let us know if you’ll be adding California to your Bucket List in the comments below. Also, if you think we’ve missed anything that Cali is known for, just drop us a message!

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