California is one of the largest, and also most diverse states in the USA, both ethnically and topographically. California is home to the hottest place in the USA, some of the tallest mountains, tallest trees, and some of the most varied coastline available when traveling, studying, or working in this part of the world. The following are 15 of the most unbelievable landscapes in California:
1) Death Valley
Located in Eastern California's Mojave Desert, Death Valley is the lowest, driest, and hottest area in not only in California, but all of North America. This area experiences very little rainfall, long and unbelievably hot summers, and warm winters. The hottest air temperature ever recorded in Death Valley was 134 °F (57 °C), and in the summer of 2001, the area experienced 154 consecutive days over 100 °F. What draws people to the area despite the hot temperatures is the beautiful, unique landscape.
2) Lake Tahoe
Sitting at the border of California and Nevada in Northern California, Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake, popular in the summer for the greenery and swimming, and in the winter for world-class skiing and snowboarding. Formed 2 million years ago during an ice age, this freshwater lake is the second-deepest in the US and is notable for its beauty.
3) Big Sur
Big Sur is located along California’s central coast. Big Sur's Cone Peak is the highest coastal mountain in the contiguous 48 states. The area enjoys mild weather year-round, known as a Mediterranean climate. Most notable for the biodiversity, such as the coast Redwood and rare orchids, Big Sur is loved by those who enjoy the great outdoors.
4) Joshua Tree
Located in California’s High Desert, Joshua tree is a favorite for star-gazers and rock climbers. Additionally, the area is famous for its desert sunrises and sunsets. The area’s namesake is the Yucca brevifolia, a plant that grows almost exclusively in the Mojave Desert. Joshua Tree can be accessed along Route 62.
5) Humboldt County
Humboldt county is located on the Northern Coast of California, about 200 miles north of San Francsico. This area is densely forested, and is one of few areas where Redwood trees thrive, especially right on the coast, where there are breathtaking beaches. This area contains over forty percent of all remaining old growth Coast Redwood forests, covering over 1,000 square miles.
6) Yosemite Valley
Located in California’s northeast, Yosemite is one of the most famous national parks in the United States, hosting over 3.7 million visitors each year. Carved by a glacier in the most recent ice age, the valley is known for numerous waterfalls, picturesque greenery in the spring and summer months, and is a favorite amongst hikers and rock climbers.
7) El Capitan State Beach
Famous for its cliffs lining the beach, rich marine biodiversity, and crystalline blue water, El Capitan State Beach is located 20 miles west of the city of Santa Barbara. The campground gives visitors a breathtaking view of the rolling waves, which at just about any given time are practically guaranteed to have Bottlenose dolphins frolicking in the waves.
8) Morro Bay
Morro Bay is located on the Central Coast of California, just north of San Louis Obispo. Named after Morro Rock, a 576 foot high volcanic plug located in the harbor, this small town relies mostly on tourism.
9) Sonoma County
A neighbor to Napa and Mendocino counties, Sonoma is California’s largest producer of wine with over 250 wineries. It is located in Northern California on the coast, just north of San Francisco. The area also has 76 miles (122 km) of coastline, including the famous Bodega Bay and Russian River. Sonoma also has several protected forest and marine areas, housing rare plant and animal life.
10) Fort Bragg
Located on the California coast in Mendocino County, Fort Bragg is home to some of the most beautiful coastline in California. Also home to Glass Beach, a beach which has “sand” formed by tiny pieces of glass, worn down by the waves after the area was used by locals as a dump. It has now become a major tourist attraction!