In 1769, Spanish missionaries first established outposts in San
Diego - and continued throughout the century up the coast north to San
a U.S. territory when Mexico surrendered it in 1847. The following year, the discovery
of gold at Sutter's Mill started the California
Gold Rush which for years afterward brought thousands of settlers looking
to strike it rich and fulfill their dreams of wealth and glory.
gold lured them to the West Coast, it was the beauty of the country, the amazing
weather and the abundance of natural resources that kept them there.
California continues luring those seeking riches and fame to Los
Angeles and Hollywood. Wine lovers also
are attracted to world class California
wineries throughout the state that rival classic European wine country.
A classic tour of Highway 1 along the California coast stretches from San Luis Obispo to San
with stops along the Big Sur coast,) as well as Carmel, Monterey and Santa Cruz.
Other California natural wonders such as Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park awe both natives and visitors. Along the coast, California Highway 1 provide travelers with breathtaking scenery as they explore this world-famous stretch of the Golden State.
2024 California travel special events and festivals
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels return to
San Francisco Fleet Week 2024.
Just up ahead, check out our 2024 California travel calender featuring memorable events and major festivals happening throughout the state with dates, locations and official links for more information. Happy travels!
May 18 - May 19, 2024 -- California Strawberry Festival Ventura - The Ventura Country Fairgrounds play host to this annual strawberry fest featuring eats and strawberry treats, arts & craft vendors, and live entertainment.
May 24 - May 26, 2024 - BottleRock Napa Valley Napa - In the heart of wine country, this three -day music, wine, food and brew fest features an A-list concert lineup on five music stages.
July 6 - July 7, 2024 -- Fillmore Jazz Festival, San Francisco - Head to Fillmore Street for this annual music fest featuring live performances from multiple stages along with art and gourmet food vendors.
August 3 - August 11 2024 -- US Open of Surfing Huntington Beach - Watch spills and thrills when top-ranked American surfers do their stuff off the shores of Huntington Beach.
September 13 - 15, 2024 -- Tall Ships Festival Dana Point - Watch history come alive as tall ships enter Dana Point Harbor plus stick around for the Mermaid Swim Show, the Pirate Adventure Show, and more family-friendly fun.
September 27 - September 30, 2024 -- Hardly Strictly Bluegrass San Francisco - Listen to pickin' and strummin' from top bluegrass bands along with a huge lineup of other music artists from the world of rock, folk, reggae and more. And it's all free!
October 1 - October 8, 2024 San Francisco Fleet Week San Francisco - Be amazed by the tall ships, Navy vessels and more in San Francisco Bay, and look up as the famous Blue Angels swoop by for a heart-stopping show of derring do in the skies above.
Off the beaten path California
Big on roller coasters? Forget Disneyland and opt for a trip to Knott's Berry Farm, the USA's oldest amusement park.
While here, don't miss a ride on the GhostRider, the largest attraction at Knott's Berry Farm and one of the longest and tallest wooden roller coasters in the world. But if you've already booked your trip to Disneyland, no worries. Ask about shuttle buses that will take you to Knott's Berry Farm conveniently located only about seven miles away.
Speaking of superlative tourist spots, golf fans will probably want a stop at Pebble Beach, the state's premier coastal golf club. For everybody else, there's the scenic 17-mile drive around the resort's periphery. The half-day trip includes meandering through coastal cliffs, discovering pristine beaches, and driving through dark and mysterious forests. for a three-hour drive that you won't soon forget. Pack a lunch.
A female elephant seal soaks up the sun at
Piedras Blancas in San Simeon along the central CA coast.
Meanwhile, along the Central California coast, Hearst Castle is waiting for classic film buffs who want to experience the real-life "Citizen Kane" mansion in San Simeon -- once home to Randolph Hearst, the publishing mogul on which the old movie classic is based.
Once you've checked out Hearst Castle's labyrinth of rooms and priceless artwork, make a bee line from San Simeon to Piedras Blancas, just a few miles down the road. Here you'll discover a stretch of California coast that elephant seals have claimed as their home since the 90's with a growing population ever since.
A camera with a zoom lens is definitely recommended for this stop, with photo captures available of giant sea beasts as they interact, romp around, or crash on the beach to laze the afternoon away in the California sun.
DID YOU KNOW? California Travel Fun Facts
• Besides the more famous Disneyland and Universal Studios, California has more theme parks and amusement park rides than any other state.
• California is home to more drive-in movie theater screens than any other state with 123 screens at 60 sites.
• The Star of India, located in San Diego, is the oldest active tall sailing ship in the world.
• The lowest and the highest points in the continental U. S. are found in California. You can travel from 282 feet below sea level in Death Valley and arrive 14,494-feet up on Mt. Whitney in the same day.
More about California travel & tourism around the Web:
Tourism - Catch your breath and settle down for the big site covering a
big topic with travel updates, event schedule, top tourist sites
and special highlights including theme parks and kid's attractions,
the complete guide to hotels, RV parks and hostels, regional and
Visit Anaheim - The home of Disneyland, with information on
what else there is to do with guides to hotels & restaurants, nightlife, beaches,
family fun plus practical facts on getting around, pictures, maps & directions.
Central Coast Tourism - Hit the beach running with this online guide to
the state's natural wonders including beaches, trails, fishing guides, winery
tours, related pictures and maps for Monterey, Ventura, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara
and Santa Barbara counties.
California - More virtual fun-in-the-sun offering an extensive collection
of beach photos and information plus inland attractions nearby up and down the