You can visit this place just to take that quirky instagram picture. If you’re a diehard J.K. Rowling fan, you’ve probably already made plans to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. Whether you excitedly jog from ride to ride or slow down to stroll through the neon lights of Cars Land or Pixar Pier at night, you’ll want your day to last forever (especially if you know how to use the FastPass correctly). If you’re not much into surfing, it’s worth it to spend an hour at either of these spots watching the talented surfers below. California local, Constance from The Adventures of Panda Bear, shares some fun things to do in Northern California.. California is well-known throughout the United States as one of the most diverse ecosystems. Over 620 miles, you’ll see stunning coastal views, seaside villages, and blanketed forests. Book a vacation rental on AirBnB (and get $40 off your first booking). Nope, more like thousands of dead fish and abandoned ruins. Crawl up and down State Route 99 to seek out the region’s finest taco stands, mulita specialists, enchilada masters, pan dulce shops, and more. We’d suggest you take few hours to just explore and walk around. Southern California includes the southernmost ten counties, including famous places like Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.Southern California is famous for its beaches, wineries, breweries and year-round pleasant climate which makes it a great place to visit. You truly have to see it to believe it. Not only is it open every day of the year, but the temperatures rarely hit extreme colds or highs, making it easy to prep what you’re going to bring on your hike. Related: 101 Things to do in Santa Cruz (From a Local). Who doesn’t like zoos? Related: Best Joshua Tree Hotels and Campgrounds. Interested in seeing the largest tree in the world? Yosemite National Park is easily the most popular national park in California. California has always been about people expressing their feelings via art, no matter how weird that turns out. Visit top-rated & must-see attractions. You only have to walk half a mile before reaching the formations. We have reviews of the best places to see in San Diego. With its unique wildlife and clear waters, people love to visit Catalina by boat. While reservations are worth it so you don’t have to worry about beating out the crowds for free parking, you can also park along the side of the road if you don’t want to foot the bill. Not only can you visit the De Young Museum and admire the nearby botanical gardens, but you can also check out the Buffalo Paddock and see American bison grazing on the wild grasses! Since this spot is BYO other than the oysters, make sure to bring a couple of six-packs, wine bottles, some hot sauce, lemons, and any other accompaniments you enjoy pairing with these bivalves. And if you’re looking for more California redwoods don’t miss out on my full guide to Big Basin Redwoods State Park, which is the oldest state park in California and right next to Henry Cowell. You can check it out here. You can find current rates and availability at the hotel here. Many people have no idea how much a person can like a fruit. A very ‘California thing’ to do is stepping inside (or driving through) a redwood tree. Hearst Castle is one of the more quirky places you can visit on a California road trip. The Pismo Beach Sand Dunes, also known as the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, are probably the most famous on the California Coast and the perfect spot for an afternoon dune buggy adventure. Related: Best Things to do in Lake Tahoe (During Any Season). Once you get onto the ferry required to access Alcatraz Island, you’ll soon discover why tourists flock to this now-abandoned maximum security prison. The deep cerulean blue of the lake combined with the pine tree-rimmed shoreline and a backdrop of snow-capped mountains sets Lake Tahoe apart as one of the most unique destinations in the world. Another favorite school field trip option when I was in elementary school, I’ve been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium more times than I can count, but it never gets old. All you have to do is bring yourself and your best audience behavior. 11 Legitimately Fun Things You Can Do In Southern California Without Spending A Dime. 5. You have 100 square acres of beach, wildlife, and hiking at your disposal, so it only makes sense to go to the pink-capped lighthouse for the best vantage point. The city has never forgotten its roots nor its love for all things Danish since then. No, we’re not talking about eating several bananas a day. Fact … You can’t go to the Boardwalk and not ride the Giant Dipper, it’s really that simple – the roller coaster has been providing thrills to riders since 1924. Although there are a lot of stereotypes about California (and Californians), you really can’t put the people or the landscape in a box – it’s much too varied. If you’re visiting California and wondering what the best things to do are then you must see this California bucket list. After all, what’s not to love about buying your own wand at Ollivander’s Wand Shop, enjoying a sip of butterbeer, and seeing Hogwarts with your very own eyes, adding in a thrill ride or two to keep the adrenaline pumping? And you really can’t go wrong with any of the hiking trails in Yosemite (just make sure to bring a GPS device if you plan to go hiking in the backcountry). Related: How to Spend One Day in San Jose. Venice Canals 5. It’s good to have a vehicle that can carry your supplies and protect you from the elements. TOP UNUSUAL THINGS TO DO IN SOCAL. Most people who visit California think Hollywood and go south. Unusual things to do in Southern California. Witness the circle of life with males fighting over mates, babies being born, and the unique mating call of a whole lot of seals. While you’re there, don’t miss the salt flats that are 5 miles long and Badwater Pool, which has such a high concentration of salt that nothing can live there. However, the state is so huge, I had to break it into Northern and Southern California! Picture-perfect mid-century homes. Whether you drive the entirety of the area along the Pacific Coast Highway or stop in just for a hint of the beauty, Big Sur is where you come to see it all: bluffs, sea, and sky. The skate park is a great start to an afternoon exploring Venice Beach, a counterculture hippie spot that is a unique addition to the usual LA scene. The sculptures, furniture, and decor around the mansion come from all over the world, and there are rare priceless pieces of art that you can see in various rooms. They are located on private property, and accessible by a ten-minute boat ride and shuttle before the mouth of the cave. Although it may be the sunshine state, sometimes bad luck strikes. Sarah Winchester added spirit-warding touches such as decoy bathrooms, the number 13, and spider-web motifs throughout the manor. Tickets to Alcatraz Island are wildly popular and sell out like hotcakes, so people buy tickets as far in advance as two months. This expansive aquarium is all kinds of cool, educational, and inspiring. The forested mountains, the desert, grassy chaparrals, … For any tourist in California, this is known as the unique thing to do in California because there is the last manually operated car cable system available in the world. Otherwise, this is a great group tour to go on if you don’t want to drive yourself. 12. 1. A few local favorite breweries include Stone, Ballast Point, Mission, and Green Flash. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can hop on a “Social Cycle” and pedal your way through San Diego streets while sipping crafted pints of awesome. Don’t be surprised to hear cheering (or heckling) skiers from KT-22 as they launch over “the fingers.”. If you want a full list of recommended beer spots in California (including my San Diego recommendations), check out my post on the 30 Best California Breweries. You’d think that a sinking town and an abandoned old zoo are not weird enough, how about a 50 acres Nazi compound in the Santa Monica Mountain which is minutes away from the popular third street promenade. Here’s the quick list and more description with pictures below. Or, if you’re really looking for a workout, you can get in a great cardio sesh on the Cahuenga Peak Hike. Note: if you plan on being in Los Angeles for at least a few days, I’d recommend grabbing an LA Go Card to get discounts on a bunch of attractions. The panda and gorilla exhibits are always a hit at the zoo, and you can easily get your steps in wandering from the Australia exhibit to the Tiger Trail and the Africa Rocks. You can drive this shortened version in one day, although it will be a packed one that involves being in the car for most of the day. Tickets to most live tapings are free. Rent a bike and ride over to the Venice Canals for a taste of Italy, California-style. feet of pure skate heaven with no shortage of skaters effortlessly pulling off ollies, grinds, and grabs. Griffith Park Old Zoo 3. However, one of the most popular coastal routes that don’t skimp on the good views in the 17-Mile Drive that goes through the gated community of Pebble Beach. Related: Exploring My Own Backyard in Julian, California. Success! Be sure to check out our list of things to do in San Diego! Tripsavvy's Editorial Guidelines. It also usually doesn’t exist in the summer months having dried up with the intensely hot weather. Reservations are a must and can be made here. One of the best places to go sea kayaking is right off the coast of Santa Barbara, around Channel Islands National Park. If you want a fun time with your favorite critters, buy a ticket today. The cold winters and cool water temperatures keep the lake’s clarity extremely high. You can see my article on places to visit in Northern California here. Most of the creations you’ll see here are created by him; however, as East Jesus gained popularity, many artists from around the country come here to add their works to the collection. You’ll also find pictures of Dinosaurs and brands like McDonalds, GM, etc. Rent an ATV or dune buggy from one of the local companies set up on the beach, or in town, and go wild. Angel Island is the second-largest island in the San Francisco Bay Area and offers 360 panoramic views of San Francisco, the Marin Headlands, and Mt. As expected realtors wanted to take advantage of this strange creation, homes, shops, and resorts were popping up like mushroom along the sea. You’ll find many paintings which may include many explicit and pornographic images of animals and weird figures of people. It was started by a man named Charles Russell who used the trash that people dump in the desert land and turned them into beautiful art work. Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips. The most popular part of the PCH is from San Francisco to Los Angeles or San Diego. You can choose to embark on a Ghost Walk Tour, where you’ll hear tales of what haunts Bodie and explore the creaky Standard Mill at night. As if those weren’t enough, visitors are treated to free admission, stunning Greek-inspired architecture, and world-class views of the Los Angeles Basin and the Pacific Ocean. Only accessible in the summer, you have to pay a mandatory admissions fee to take the shuttle bus from Mammoth Mountain Lodge Gondola Building to the start of the trail. We have listed the top 50 things to do across the Golden State including Southern California, the Central and Northern California Coast, the high Sierra’s and the Southern California desert area’s. However, you can take a quick peek at the museum and bookstore if you want to learn more about the town’s history. Did you even visit L.A. unless you made a stop at Urban Light? Plus, there is plenty more to keep you busy … LA is without doubt a stylish city and, as expected, the shopping options are excellent. California is a state of many beautiful things. The best time to visit is in the fall during “crush” season when you have the unique opportunity to see a winery in action! Boudin Bakery also has beef chili, tomato bisque, and broccoli cheddar in their rotation. Related: My Favorite Hike in San Diego – Torrey Pines. Sticking to something vegetarian? Hollywood Trail or the more strenuous Brush Canyon Trail. San Diego Zoo & Safari Park are so huge that it’s easy to spend the whole day admiring the many animals that live at the parks. Alcatraz Island This former landfill, set just east of the San Francisco Bay, has now become a space for artists to come and do what they do: make art. But if you’re in L.A you know that it is always overcrowded over the weekend. From that point, you can choose to make your way further to Rainbow Falls or the John Muir Trail! Luckily Southern California has many things to do whatever the weather. You can also join a guided Island Tour (included with the price of admission) with one of the museum’s experienced docents. Visit the aquarium to see a living kelp forest, cute sea otters, penguins, and more! On my list of breathtaking sights and best southern California attractions, walking through fifty acres of dazzling blooms in Carlsbad definitely ranks near the top. It will be an ever-expanding and growing list that will hopefully help you to find many fun attractions right outside your door. Salton Sea 7. The best part? Many years ago a landslide caused all the houses on the cliff to fall into the ocean. We’re talking about owning 17,000 banana related items and a museum out of it. If you’re looking for a good tour to take you around to the different wineries so you don’t have to drive, I’d recommend this one. Squaw Valley Ski Resort is the crown jewel of Lake Tahoe. If you’re wondering why everyone in Malibu looks so cute with their gym outfits and dogs, it’s because hiking is a major part of the lifestyle in this city. The geothermal pits in Lassen National Park are a total trip. There is something ironic in how Southern California just pave over natural rivers and then create artificial canals well it’s all about that California love, right? California is the third-largest state in the nation and will take you through a variety of temperatures and environments. If you’re looking for unique things to do in Southern California – Salvation Mountain is it. This was an engineering disaster and a fail attempt at bringing Colorado River to California. A literal oasis in the desert, Palm Springs boasts some of the world’s best pool parties hosted by up-and-coming DJs all summer long. Swan and donut floaties. It’s actually the oldest surviving amusement park in California and one of the few oceanside amusement parks on the West Coast. However, in recent years (most likely due to climate change) they’ve left by January. Located in Death Valley National Park, Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America, with a depth of 282 feet below sea level. The cool thing is that the cages are left open so you can get in, explore and see how it feels to be stuck in cage. There is SO much more to discover here than just famous people, sunshine, Hollywood, and Disneyland. Once inside, you can indulge in some street art or just enjoy a great view of the ocean. California Romantic things to do . Point Reyes National Seashore boasts some of the most gorgeous coastal views in the Bay Area, which isn’t something I say lightly. San Francisco bakery chain, Boudin Bakery, is world-famous for their sourdough bread bowls. Make sure to reward yourself with a trip to the beach afterward! Well it used to be, but now it’s just abandoned. This windswept point in Central California is not only a scenic spot to while away an afternoon, but also home to a large elephant seal colony that breeds here for a few weeks every winter. Starting at California’s northern border and stretching down to San Diego, the Pacific Coast Highway takes over 10 hours to complete without stops. The weather in San Francisco is best described as “perpetually chilly,” which means that it’s always soup weather! Now this place serves as a hub for street art and beautiful graffiti. This complex was built by Nazi sympathizers in America. One of the more unique things to do in Southern California, A few miles away from the Salton Sea, visionary Leonard Knight took it upon himself to create an actual mountain out of adobe, straw, and non-toxic paint. If you’re camping, I recommend staying at Pfeiffer Big Sur Campground for affordable campsites and cabins and adding in some time for hiking around this beautiful area of California. From one of California’s most diverse and delicious food scenes to a romantic hotel with a vineyard attached, here are some of the most fun things to do in Southern California. Salvation Mountain 2. Perfect timing for you to enjoy a spring hike! No matter what your motivation, there are plenty of things to see and do in the Golden State, no matter where you go. Balboa Park is not just any ordinary park. Spend a night on the island and watch Karl the Fog greet the city in the evening. It’s by far one of the most quintessential places to visit in Northern California. This place is no exception! It’s a city of trailblazing beer culture and techniques that will take you through a journey of unique flavors and styles. However, the first phase of restoration is estimated to be completed around March 2019. Things to do near me today, beaches with kids, romantic parks, unique places to visit in USA, hotels, tourist attractions: Sarasota, From Boston, OR, NC, From Houston, NJ, GA Avenue of the Giants, a 31-mile road in Northern California is one of the best stretches of highway in all of California, rivaling Big Sur in terms of beauty and eco-diversity. Now check your email to confirm your subscription. Easily the best part of the park, the area of Sulphur Works gives you a glimpse of the roaring steam vents known as fumaroles. The Castle (really, more of a mansion) is a National Historic Landmark and was lived in and owned by the newspaper tycoon, William Randolph Hearst, from 1919 to 1947. This Victorian mansion is the result of decades of architectural oddities, no master building plan, and the whimsical tastes of heiress Sarah Winchester. And no one is stopping the adults from doing the same thing, while taking some good Snapchats, doesn’t it sound like the perfect place to use that dog filter? Touring Coronado Island is a perfect daytime activity on a nice day since you can walk around the peninsula in about two hours. Life is an adventure, join me around the world! Few things are as American as apple pie is, so it’s no wonder that every city wants bragging rights to the best apple pie in the States. Regardless of whether the SF Giants are having a great season or not, it’s always a great idea to catch a game and nosh on those delicious garlic fries at Oracle Park. One of my favorite places to travel in California is Joshua Tree. And if you’re looking to purchase a tent, make sure to check out my recommendations for the best four-person tents or larger camping tents. The butterflies usually start coming in mid-October and stay around Natural Bridges until mid-February. It’s like a hipster way of recycling. Having lived in California for 25 of my 30 years, there’s a lot I love about this place I call home. You can also shuck and cook your own oysters at Hog Island Oyster Company. The Murphy Ranch aka the Nazi compound or locally known to as the Nazi House. Pro-tip if you want to visit this historical landmark: buy tickets early! As Mexico’s northern neighbor, California has picked up a thing or two from the culinary king next door, although be forewarned that California Mexican is a completely different experience from what you’ll find down south. Maybe you've been to California before or live here. So what exactly makes apple pie from Julian so special? A California vacation, road trip, or work trip isn’t complete without a stop at this native staple. Sounds like a great location for a Peta campaign, right? The number of sea caves you’re able to paddle through. I hope you’ll get to experience both the local aspects and tourist attractions around California through these recommendations. Mid-April through mid-December is when humpback whales, blue whales, dolphins, or killer whales come through. Although it used to be an immigration station that screened Asian immigrants before they could set foot on the American coast, the Chinese-American community successfully lobbied for the island to be recognized as a National Historic Landmark. Well that’s up to you to figure it out. Famous sights on the route include the Lone Cypress Tree, Bird Rock, and Del Monte Forest. 50 Most Unusual Places To Stay In The World | Part 2, 9 Most Unusual Cocktails Around The World, 50 Most Unusual Places To Stay In The World | Part 3, 50 Most Unusual Places To Stay In The World | Part 4, 50 Most Unusual Places To Stay In The World | Part 5. Watch Magical Sunsets By the Mountains in Ojai Whether it is a hike, a restaurant, or just a collection of odd things, this list is dedicated to the unique stuff I have found in Southern California (from Kern County down). If baseball isn’t your thing, cheering on the Golden State Warriors NBA team at the Chase Center is one of the best ways to spend an evening in San Francisco. 25 Fun Things to do in Southern California! San Diego has had one of the best microbrewery scenes in California for years. Tomales Bay Oyster Company provides grills and ice on top of your oysters, depending on if you like your shellfish raw or cooked. Well look no further we bring you a list of top 10 offbeat and unusual things to do in California. I set out on a road trip voyage to discover the unique places to visit in California. Disneyland still has some classic favorites that shouldn’t be missed – I’m looking at you Space Mountain. Start baking Christmas cookies and hanging your California-inspired holiday decorations — ‘tis the season to be jolly. No we are not talking about Atlantis here. It can be defined as anything but normal. Not only are the caverns recognized for their incredible speleothem (stalactite and stalagmite formations), but for the care in conservation and the surrounding environment. When it’s sunny enough to wear shorts in San Diego, there’s nothing better than spending the whole day outside soaking in the rays. 22 miles of easy riding along Southern California’s gorgeous coastline awaits you on one of the best paved bicycle trails in the country. Tamalpais. If you have time to SUP over at Emerald Bay, it’s home to Lake Tahoe’s only island, Fannette Island, as well as Vikingsholm, an authentic replica of a Viking castle. Oh and the best part about this place is it’s completely free! Upon entering a 300-foot man-made tunnel into the mountainside, you will find yourself immersed in a subterranean wonderland, sure to impress even the most skeptical visitors. The place was supposed to be self-sustaining Nazi stronghold with electricity generator, concrete walls, water tanks, and a big mansion making it the perfect place for Hitler and his military to plan a plot to take over the U.S. Of course, that didn’t work out after World War II ended quite differently than they expected and LA police raided the place, and shut down the complex. So where did all this Danish inspiration come from? The Atlas Heart is a space where you'll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer. To preserve the “arrested decay” of the town, there are no commercial vendors in Bodie. If you aren’t near an actual store location, get your fix of delicious frosting and cake from the Sprinkles ATM. Related: Sacramento, More than Just a State Capital. The Boardwalk also has a great arcade (including laser tag) next door, and a bowling alley across the street. We have reviews of the best places to see in California. Depending on the level of difficulty, you can either opt for the family-friendly Mt. Ziplining courses are fun by themselves, but being able to do it in the view of California’s massive redwood trees is an entirely unique experience. Things to do in southern California when it rains. If sailing, isn’t your thing, simply spending a day or two exploring Catalina Island is well worth it. Venice Skate Park is 16,000 sq. And at the end of the day have dinner at one of the local restaurants. Located three hours south east of L.A. Salvation Mountain is truly one of the most remarkable, unique, and fascinating landmarks of Southern California. The Albany Bulb showcases that the idea of “trash” is simply just a mindset. Or maybe you're looking for a particular place to see or thing to do in California. It’s the part that most people drive if they don’t have a ton of time and just want to see the highlights. Cacti and crystal swimming pools. The Central Coast of California is one of the premier places to see migrating whales. It might not look that interesting, but we’d suggest you to go ahead and check them out. California is a state where you can shake hands with Mickey Mouse and touch an Orca whale in the same day. Below are some unusual adventures in Southern California that you can do this weekend. and colorful badlands, Anza-Borrego provides plenty of sights for visitors who are looking to experience the desert in all its glory. Related: 101 Things to Do in San Diego | The Ultimate Bucket List. If you’re looking for an island adventure, Catalina Island is the way to go. Otherwise, I usually recommend at least 2-3 days to properly road trip the PCH and take in all its beauty and attractions off the side of the highway. One of many travelers biggest dreams is to visit California, and jump head first into all the great things to do in California. Kayte Deioma. 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