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Overview

Undoubtedly the most diverse state in the union, trend-setting California is all things to all people. Spanning almost 800 miles north to south and 250 miles east to west, it is astoundingly diverse in climate and terrain. The state is stupendously scenic from tip to toe, ranging from the southern beaches and rugged northern shoreline of the Pacific coast — negotiable along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway — to the snow-capped Sierra Nevada, rising to 14,505 feet.

Yosemite National Park, in the Sierras, is one of the great natural wonders of the world. Hikers, skiers, rock-climbers and whitewater enthusiasts get their fill of ...

Undoubtedly the most diverse state in the union, trend-setting California is all things to all people. Spanning almost 800 miles north to south and 250 miles east to west, it is astoundingly diverse in climate and terrain. The state is stupendously scenic from tip to toe, ranging from the southern beaches and rugged northern shoreline of the Pacific coast — negotiable along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway — to the snow-capped Sierra Nevada, rising to 14,505 feet.

Yosemite National Park, in the Sierras, is one of the great natural wonders of the world. Hikers, skiers, rock-climbers and whitewater enthusiasts get their fill of adventure amid these mountains. Ancient redwood forests, rocky shorelines, wine-growing districts, and even deserts such as Death Valley (the hottest place in the Western Hemisphere) are among the kaleidoscope of natural attractions.

San Francisco, in Northern California, is a vibrant financial and cultural center, and a gourmand's delight, with a world-famous Chinatown and the Golden Gate Bridge. Nearby, Silicon Valley is the center of the world's computer industry. Expansive Los Angeles, to the south, is the hip center of entertainment (revolving around Hollywood), as well as Disneyland, whereas the golf courses and health spas of Palm Springs wait just 100 miles away. The endless summer of Orange County and San Diego welcomes anyone looking for fun in the sea and sun. There's even fun to be had in California's Central Valley, breadbasket of the nation, where farm stands and small towns welcome curious travelers.

Whether traveling alone, in a group, or with your family, you'll find everything you want in this naturally appealing state.

Christopher Baker
About the Expert

Christopher P. Baker has authored guidebooks to Costa Rica, California, and various Caribbean islands for Frommer's, Lonely Planet, and National Geographic, among others.

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Christopher Baker for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: A state located on the West Coast of the U.S. The diverse geography ranges from the Pacific Coast in the west, to the Sierra Nevada mountains in the east – from the Redwood–Douglas-fir forests of the northwest, to the Mojave Desert area in the southeast.
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
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