31 things to do in California

Wondering what there is to do in California? If there’s enough to keep you occupied whilst you’re there? We’ve collated a month’s worth of ideas to help you plan where to go and what to see. So whether you’re stopping over in Los Angeles for a few days or spending a month driving along the Pacific Coast Highway, here’s 31 things to try whilst you’re exploring California…

1. Hike the day-long, 11.5-mile Valley Loop Trail in Yosemite and walk past the magnificent El Capitan

2. Sip a fruity Pinot Noir on a winery tour in Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara

3. Feel the wind in your hair as you drive the spectacular 90-mile Big Sur in a convertible

4. Discover After Dark at the Exploratorium in San Francisco Bay. This adults-only, Thursday night event at the spectacular public learning laboratory combines science, art, cocktails, and more!

5. Stay at the beautiful Bernadus Lodge & Spa in Carmel Valley, nestled among 28 acres of vineyards, orchards and gardens

90-mile Big Sur

6. Join a Saturday night hike through Pinnacles National Park and gaze in awe at the twinkling stars that light up the dark skies

7. Cycle the picturesque Silverado Trail and taste exquisite Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons as you tour the outstanding wineries on this country road

8. Watch the surfers taking on the waves at Malibu’s Surfrider Beach and walk up the iconic wooden pier

9. Indulge in mouthwatering deep-fried fish and chips from Malibu Seafood – perfect food after a hike through Corral Canyon!

10. Gaze up at the world’s largest tree, the General Sherman Tree, in Sequoia National Park. It’s 84 metres tall, 31 metres around the trunk and thought to be 2,200 years old!

General Sherman Tree

11. Marvel at paintings and sculptures in The Getty Centre and admire the breathtaking view over Los Angeles from these amazing modernist buildings

12. Ride a roller coaster on Santa Monica Pier and then…

13. …wander along the beach from Santa Monica to arty Venice Beach. This three-mile route is perfect for people watching!

14. Make like an LA-local and go for a morning hike through Runyon Canyon in the Hollywood Hills

15. Get star struck in Hollywood! Don’t miss the Hollywood Walk of Fame and TCL Chinese Theatre

Hollywood Walk of Fame

16. Walk along all 1,971 feet of Ocean Beach Pier in San Diego and watch the fishermen as they cast off into the sparkling blue waters of the Pacific Ocean

17. See giant pandas at the world-renowned San Diego Zoo, where there are more than 3,700 animals!

18. Hold on tight and ride a cable car up and down San Francisco’s hills…

19. …and pedal across the huge Golden Gate Bridge on a bicycle

Golden Gate Bridge

20. Imagine life as a prison inmate when you wander through notorious Alcatraz and listen to recorded stories of some of the prisoners who were jailed there

21. Delight outdoor-lovers with a trip to beautiful Lake Tahoe. Hike around the lake, kayak across the water, cycle through the trees…there’s plenty to keep the whole family busy!

22. Walk along the drawbridge and through Sleeping Beauty Castle as you enter the magical world of the Disneyland Resort

23. Count (well, attempt to!) the number of bricks used to build the iconic American buildings at LEGOLAND California

24. Scare yourself silly on the scream-inducing rides at Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park near Los Angeles

25. Tee off at 8,000 feet above sea level at the Sierra Star Golf Course in Mammoth Lakes…

26. …or play a round surrounded by wine country and the Pacific Ocean on the Monterey Peninsula


27. Buy art in the astonishingly beautiful town of Carmel – there are almost 100 art galleries waiting to be explored!

28. Dance, sing and people watch at the famous Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

29. Watch the Los Angeles Angels play baseball at the Angel Stadium

30. Stroll along the historic Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego

31. Explore a volcano in Lassen Volcanic National Park!


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What have we missed from our list? Let us know in the comments below where else we should visit in California! Contact your Travel Counsellor for more information. 

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