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Die Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Bild: Lucky-photographer / shutterstock

California – America’s Golden State on the Pacific Coast

Once upon a time, the state of California attracted countless adventurers to the Pacific in search of gold. The gold rush may be over – but the region has lost none of its fascination. The most populous state in the USA not only offers vibrant cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, but also has a considerable variety of landscapes. Here, visitors can relax on beautiful sandy beaches, hike in the shade of majestic redwood trees and marvel at the beauty of Yosemite National Park.

From the North West to the Central Coast

California, Beach
The beach in California, Image: Gabriele Maltinti / shutterstock

California’s northwest coast is famous for its redwoods and whales, which visitors can watch off the wildly romantic rocky coast. The region is also a major wine-growing region, as well as a popular refuge for artists who draw inspiration from the picturesque landscape. If you travel further south, you will reach the San Francisco Bay Area, which is framed by the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. San Francisco is famous for its streetcars and elegant Victorian buildings. In the 60s, Haight-Ashbury was a center of the hippie movement, and even today the city is considered liberal and progressive. Here, visitors can tour Chinatown, take in views of the city from Twin Peaks, or visit the famous Alcatraz prison off the coast.

California, Los Angeles, Walk of Fame
The Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, Image: oneinchpunch / shutterstock

The Central Coast further south is also called the “American Riviera” and is home to Monterey, the former capital of California. Here, visitors will find excellent seafood restaurants as well as the Monterey Bay Aquarium with its thousands of marine animals. If you want to see sea lions and otters in the wild, you should explore the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail by bike. If you want to get to know the entire length of the Central Coast, you can drive along Highway One along the coast, which connects San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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The mountainous interior of California

Northeast California is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts with its mountains, forests, waterfalls, and inactive volcanoes. The Cascade Mountains are ideal for long hikes and a fishing trip to the crystal clear rivers. If you like, you can camp here and see the iconic houseboats anchored on the lakeshores. The Central Valley, which stretches all the way to Los Angeles County, is a significant agricultural area. Here, visitors can taste many varieties of fruit and vegetables. In the heartland of California lies the city of Fresno with its manicured gardens and renowned art museum. The city offers a unique sight – an underground garden created by an Italian immigrant in the early 20th century.

Further inland is Gold County – so named because of the precious metal found here in the mid-19th century. Today, the region’s treasures lie elsewhere, such as the bike-friendly city of Sacramento , with its gleaming white Parliament Building and species-rich zoo. There, visitors also learn a lot of interesting things about the Transcontinental Railroad, which connected California with the eastern United States at the end of the 19th century. If you’re looking for thrills, book a whitewater rafting trip on the Sakramento River.

The Sierra Nevada, also known as the “backbone of California”, has particularly picturesque natural scenery to offer. The most famous is certainly Yosemite National Park. More than 4 million guests visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site every year with its mighty mountain peaks, waterfalls, dense forests and incomparable biodiversity. In winter, the park is transformed into an enchanted snowy landscape – perfect for cross-country skiing. Other attractions in the Sierra Nevada include Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Mountain, a popular ski resort.

The South Coast and the Desert Region

Los Angeles is located in the county of the same name and is the center of the American entertainment industry. In the Hollywood dream factory, visitors can book guided tours of the Paramount and Warner Brothers studios. Anyone who has rank and name in the film industry is immortalized on the Walk of Stars. In addition, the metropolis offers luxurious shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Bathers get their money’s worth at Venice Beach, and the best surfers put their skills to the test in Malibu. The famous Santa Monica Boulevard has rides for the whole family, and if you’re looking for great views of Los Angeles, head to the Griffith Observatory.

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Driving through Orange County, you will reach San Diego County with its beautiful beaches and warm ocean water. San Diego is California’s second-largest city and attracts visitors with its famous zoo, art museums, and Old Town, considered the birthplace of California. If you are interested in technology, you can visit the aircraft carrier USS Midway here. A contrast to the sandy beaches of San Diego is the desert region in the east, which borders Mexico . This is where Death Valley lies with its sand dunes, bizarre rock formations and the famous singing rocks. The “Valley of Death” is the driest and hottest region in the United States. Worlds away from the hostile desert is the city of Palm Springs with its floral splendour, thermal springs, botanical gardens and luxurious resorts.

The climate in California

Climatically, the state is divided into three zones: The coast has a maritime climate and lower temperatures than the interior due to the cold waters of the Pacific. It is also cooler on average on the north coast and it rains more often. The mountainous regions are characterized by higher temperatures, but they can drop quickly after sunset. In the winter months, a lot of snow can fall here. It is hot all year round in the desert region in the south, but it gets very cold there after dark.