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Last Updated on January 26, 2023 by Mani Karthik
California is a huge state with a lot to offer. From beaches, mountains, and deserts to wineries, cities, and rural communities, there’s something for everyone in the Golden State.
Whether you’re looking for an adventure or simply want to explore, here are some of the best things to do in California.
Things to do in California – What to expect
As a non-resident Indian visiting California, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to having fun.
From its breathtaking beaches and lush forests to its iconic cities and theme parks, California has something for everyone.
If you love the outdoors, there are plenty of activities to enjoy.
You can explore the majestic Yosemite National Park, ride the waves of the Pacific Ocean, or go camping in the vast deserts of Southern California.
For those looking for something more relaxing, you can stroll through picturesque wine country, visit the redwood forests, or take a scenic drive along the coast.
If you prefer urban attractions, then you’ll find plenty to do in California’s cities. San Francisco is famous for its lively street culture, museums, and unique neighborhoods.
Los Angeles is home to Hollywood, Universal Studios, and world-class shopping. San Diego has beautiful beaches and great nightlife.
No matter what type of fun you’re looking for, you’ll be sure to find it in California.
Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or something in between, you’ll have no shortage of options to choose from.
1. Visit Disneyland in Anaheim
Visiting Disneyland in Anaheim is a great idea for tourists in California. It is the most magical place on Earth and a perfect way to make unforgettable memories.
The park offers thrilling rides, delicious food, and exciting shows.
Families can enjoy a variety of attractions, ranging from classic favorites like Pirates of the Caribbean to the newest adventures such as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Disneyland also has a variety of shopping options, including unique souvenirs and iconic Disney merchandise.
Plus, the incredible fireworks show is a must-see! With so much to do and see, it’s easy to see why Disneyland is a great choice for travelers in California.
2. Take a surf lesson in San Diego
Taking a surf lesson in San Diego is a great idea for tourists in California.
San Diego has some of the best waves for beginners, and experienced surfers alike. The warm weather and beautiful beaches make it a perfect spot to catch some waves. Plus, the local surfers are friendly and welcoming.
With qualified instructors, you can learn the basics or brush up on your skills in no time. Taking a surf lesson in San Diego is a great way to experience the joy of riding a wave and enjoy the ocean at its best.
3. Explore the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
Exploring the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is a great idea for tourists in California.
The bridge is an iconic landmark, recognized around the world, and provides spectacular views of San Francisco Bay. Stroll across the bridge and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, or take a guided tour to learn about its history and engineering.
There are also plenty of activities nearby, like fishing and kayaking, that provide a great way to appreciate the beauty of the area. With its stunning views, exciting activities, and rich history, the Golden Gate Bridge is a must-see destination for tourists in California.
4. Go skiing in Lake Tahoe
Skiing in Lake Tahoe is a great idea for tourists in California. The lake itself offers stunning views and the surrounding area is filled with beautiful snow-capped peaks.
The ski resorts offer challenging slopes for experienced skiers and gentle runs for those who are just starting out. The area is also known for its après-ski activities such as shopping, dining, and entertainment.
Moreover, Lake Tahoe’s dry and sunny climate means visitors can enjoy their skiing holiday all year round.
5. Shop on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills
Shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills is a great idea for tourists in California. This iconic street is known for its luxury shops, designer boutiques, and upscale restaurants.
Tourists can find high-end clothing, jewelry, art, and more from some of the world’s most famous brands. The area also features stunning architecture and beautiful landscaping that makes for an enjoyable shopping experience.
With plenty of parking, convenient access to public transportation, and a variety of attractions nearby, Rodeo Drive is an ideal spot for tourists looking to experience the best of Beverly Hills.
6. Visit Hearst Castle in San Simeon
Visiting Hearst Castle in San Simeon is a great idea for tourists in California.
This magnificent estate features breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, as well as a sprawling 165-room mansion filled with antiques and artwork from all over the world.
Guests can explore the grandiose grounds and learn about the life of its original owner, newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst, who lived here for nearly three decades.
The castle also offers a range of educational and recreational activities, such as guided tours, art exhibitions, and special events. Whether you’re looking for a day trip or a weekend getaway, Hearst Castle is sure to provide an unforgettable experience.
7. Tour the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles
The Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles is a great idea for tourists in California. Here, visitors can explore the stars of their favorite celebrities and take pictures alongside them.
The walk of fame also offers various attractions such as the Chinese Theatre, which showcases hand and footprints of actors, and the Kodak Theatre, where popular award shows are held.
There is also a variety of shops and restaurants in the area that offer souvenirs and food. Touring the Hollywood Walk of Fame allows visitors to immerse themselves in the glamour and culture of Hollywood and make memories that will last a lifetime.
8. Hike the Yosemite Valley
Hiking the Yosemite Valley is an amazing idea for tourists visiting California. It offers stunning natural beauty, with towering granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls, lush meadows, ancient giant sequoias, and a variety of wildlife. There are plenty of trails to choose from, ranging from easy strolls to strenuous climbs.
You can also experience the park’s night sky, which has been designated as a Dark Sky Park. Furthermore, the park is rich in history, with its Native American cultural sites, and old-growth forests.
All in all, hiking the Yosemite Valley is a great way to get out and explore the incredible natural wonders of California.
9. Tour wine country in Napa Valley
Touring wine country in Napa Valley is a great idea for tourists in California. It is renowned as one of the best wine regions in the world, boasting over 500 wineries and tasting rooms.
The lush rolling hills and breathtaking views of the valley are sure to take your breath away. Not only will you experience some of the finest wines in the world, but you’ll also get to explore the quaint towns and cities of the region.
You can take part in food and wine pairings, listen to live music, or simply enjoy a relaxing stroll through the vineyards.
With so much to see and do, touring wine country in Napa Valley is the perfect way to spend your vacation in California.
10. Enjoy the nightlife of Los Angeles
Enjoying the nightlife of Los Angeles is a great idea for tourists in California. From rooftop bars to comedy clubs, there are plenty of activities to enjoy.
The vibrant nightlife scene offers a wide range of venues and experiences that can suit anyone’s tastes.
Whether you’re looking for a wild night out or a relaxed evening with friends, Los Angeles has something for everyone.
Plus, there are plenty of amazing restaurants and live music venues to explore. With its mix of culture, art, and entertainment, Los Angeles is the perfect place to enjoy a night out.
11. Go whale watching in Monterey
Going whale watching in Monterey is a great idea for tourists in California because it offers unparalleled views of majestic whales swimming in their natural habitat.
The beauty and serenity of the ocean provide a wonderful opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most majestic creatures.
The whales can be seen from the shoreline, or you can take a boat tour to get even closer. Plus, with its unique ecosystem, Monterey provides some of the best whale-watching opportunities in the world.
It’s an unforgettable experience that will give visitors a true appreciation for the beauty and wonder of nature.
12. Spend the day at Legoland in Carlsbad
Spending the day at Legoland in Carlsbad is a great idea for tourists. It’s a perfect destination for families to enjoy interactive rides, build with blocks, and watch shows.
There are plenty of attractions, such as Duplo Valley, Miniland USA, and the Imagination Zone. The park also features a water park with slides and pools and even a Lego-themed hotel.
It’s a great way to spend the day learning, exploring, and having fun. With something for everyone, from toddlers to adults, Legoland is a great place to make memories and have an unforgettable experience.
13. Visit the San Diego Zoo
Visiting the San Diego Zoo is a great idea for tourists in California.
It is one of the largest and most highly rated zoos in the world, with over 3,700 animals from 650 species. The zoo is home to many rare and endangered species and offers a variety of educational programs and interactive experiences.
From the African Plains to the Polar Bear Plunge, visitors can explore and learn about the world’s diverse animal species.
The zoo also features restaurants and shopping, as well as special events throughout the year.
Whether you are looking for a fun day out or an educational experience, the San Diego Zoo is the perfect destination for any traveler.
14. Go to a San Francisco Giants game
Going to a San Francisco Giants game is a great idea for tourists in California because it allows them to experience the unique atmosphere of the ballpark and get a glimpse into the culture of the Bay Area.
Not only do they get to witness a high-level of baseball, they can also experience the camaraderie of the fans, the local food offerings, and the breathtaking views of the city and the bay.
Tourists will not only get an entertaining show, but also an unforgettable experience that captures the spirit of the San Francisco Bay Area.
15. Climb the iconic Half Dome in Yosemite
Climbing the iconic Half Dome in Yosemite is a great idea for tourists in California. It’s one of the most recognizable natural formations in the state and offers breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
The hike up is long, but the reward is worth it. You’ll experience the incredible beauty of Yosemite National Park and take in some of the most stunning scenery in the country.
Plus, you’ll have an unforgettable experience that will last a lifetime!
16. Experience the Venice Beach Boardwalk
The Venice Beach Boardwalk is a great destination for tourists in California. It offers a unique mix of sights, sounds, and experiences.
From street performers to the iconic Muscle Beach, visitors can take in a variety of attractions.
The beach itself provides a beautiful backdrop for activities like swimming, surfing, or simply walking along the sand. There are also plenty of shops, restaurants, and other vendors to explore.
Visitors will find something new and exciting every time they visit.
Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-filled adventure or just a relaxing day by the sea, the Venice Beach Boardwalk has something for everyone.
17. Take a boat ride to Alcatraz Island
Taking a boat ride to Alcatraz Island is an exciting experience for tourists in California. It offers breathtaking views of the San Francisco skyline while providing a unique glimpse into the island’s fascinating history.
The audio tour provides a detailed account of the island’s past, allowing visitors to gain a better understanding of the iconic prison. It’s also a great opportunity to observe the local wildlife, including seabirds, seals, and sea lions.
For those looking for a memorable day trip, a boat ride to Alcatraz Island is a great way to explore the city and learn about its rich past.
18. Check out Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is a great idea for tourists in California looking to experience the beauty of the desert. Located in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts, Joshua Tree offers stunning landscapes and beautiful views of the desert.
Visitors can explore the trails, rock formations, and desert wildlife while learning about the history of the area. Joshua Tree also offers camping, stargazing, and other outdoor activities, making it a perfect destination for those looking to explore nature and relax in the desert.
With its unique desert environment, Joshua Tree National Park is a great way to experience the beauty of the desert and create lasting memories.
19. Enjoy the Santa Monica Pier
The Santa Monica Pier is a great place for tourists to visit in California. It offers a beautiful view of the ocean, a variety of shops and restaurants, and plenty of activities such as an amusement park, arcade, and carnival games.
Visitors can also enjoy live music, take a stroll along the beach, or go for a ride on the iconic Ferris wheel.
With its stunning views and exciting attractions, the Santa Monica Pier is a great place to relax, explore, and create lasting memories.
20. Take a hot air balloon ride over the California countryside
Taking a hot air balloon ride over the California countryside is an experience like no other. You can see the rolling hills, lush vineyards, and stunning views of the coastline for miles.
It’s a peaceful and tranquil experience that allows you to take in all of the natural beauty of the area. The silence of the hot air balloon makes it easy to appreciate the majestic landscape below and the opportunity to be surrounded by nature.
As the sun sets, the sky fills with vivid oranges, pinks, and purples, creating a breathtaking sight that will stay with you forever.