Gaining an insight into the minds of the locals often helps visitors paint the clearest picture of what makes California truly special. For many it's the climate – temperate year round along the OC and in San Diego, dramatic in San Francisco and the North Coast and with snow guaranteed for up to six months of the year in Lake Tahoe and Mammoth. Or, maybe it's the natural wonders – from the desert oases of Palm Springs and barren Death Valley to the volcanoes in the Shasta Cascade and the waterfalls in Yosemite.
While many come here to take time out, for others the urban meccas of LA, San Francisco, San Diego and now Sacramento provide more than enough glamour, cuisine and culture to satisfy the most demanding palate. And speaking of palates, the winelands are never far away offering tastings from the most well-known names in Napa and Sonoma to a more personal experience tasting from the barrel whilst listening to the winemakers' own story in the Gold Country or Central Coast. You are never far away from an icon – the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hollywood sign, or the redwood trees – and to really get to the heart of the Golden State just explore, discover and create your own story about what makes it special to you.
||158,000 sq miles|
||8 hrs behind the UK|
||Warm dry summers along the coast, hotter in the deserts and inland. Cooler along the north coast and the mountains. Winter snowfall on the inland mountains, whilst the south of the state remains warm and sunny. |
||Yosemite, Sequoia, Redwood, Lassen Volcanic, Kings Canyon, Joshua Tree, Death Valley and Channel Islands.30 national parks and over 270 state parks|