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Adventure is Out There: Favorite Spots Around the Golden State

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cal Poly chapter.

The Golden State has a variety of destinations that can please even the pickiest. Whether it be the clear, blue waters of Lake Tahoe, the dry desert of Death Valley or the central coast beach towns, California really has it all.

Red Bluff

Red Bluff is a small, patriotic town right outside Sacramento. A stroll down Main Street and past a looming bell tower looks like straight out of a western movie with its saloon style buildings. This quaint town offers rolling hills and a classic Fourth of July rodeo. If you’re feeling adventurous next time America celebrates one of its holidays, dust off your boots and head on over to those county fairgrounds.

San Francisco

The Bay Area has so much to offer, but San Francisco especially has so many fun activities, such as riding trolley cars, searching for the mosaic staircases or visiting the plethora of museums. If you’re looking for a beach environment, try visiting the Musée Mécanique, an antique penny arcade located at Pier 45 in Fisherman’s Wharf.

Grab some food and head over to Dolores Park for a wholesome picnic or meet your friends at the top of Twin Peaks. If you’re looking to expand your education, while also having fun, check out the Academy of Sciences, which offers a hands-on approach to endless scientific topics! If you want something pretty to look at, the Mosaic Labyrinth in Land’s End might be the place for you.

Highway 1

Highway 1, which just reopened after over a year of repairs, has some of the best views California has to offer. Travelers have the opportunity to stop in towns like Monterey, Carmel and Big Sur, which all have hiking trails along the coast line that overlook the cerulean water. Each stop offers a quiet little town with relaxed locals. Everyone should take this coastal route at some point, even if you cannot stop at the quaint towns bustling with life, the view from the car alone is captivating.

Death Valley

Death Valley in Eastern California certainly has a startling name, but thanks to modern air conditioning there is little to fear. The endless desert offers an almost poetically different perspective than what most are used to looking at. There are several hot springs available to swim in; we suggest checking out Furnace Creek Ranch. One could visit Scotty’s Castle which is similar to Hearst Castle, or if you’re in the mood to hike, Death Valley has plenty of hiking options. Two great hiking options are Ubehebe Crater, where one could walk around the rim or hike down to the bottom of the crater, or Dante’s Point, which is a great place at the top of the Black Mountains to catch those lavender sunsets that are most prominent in this desert. Death Valley is quite the opposite of a bustling city, and the vast expanse of the desert can offer a sense of serenity.

La Jolla, San Diego

La Jolla is located in the city of San Diego and boasts beautiful weather and stunning beaches. Paragliding, hang-gliding and boating are all options for those who want to spend a little more time in the water. While swimming and surfing are also always an option, there are other things to do in sunny La Jolla. Nearby Torrey Pines offers tourists and locals alike excellent hiking trails. The trails literally wrap around some parts of the coast. While hiking, one could admire the sea lions, local flora and fauna and the beautiful water. Additionally, exploring the tide pools could keep one occupied for several hours. Downtown La Jolla offers some high-end boutiques, so if you are balling on a budget, the beach might be a safer bet. You can also take a drive on over to the neighboring beach town of Encinitas for Better Buzzed Coffee!

The Golden State offers something for everyone. While this article is short compared to the endless amount of things to do in California, these are a few gems that you should definitely check out!

Celeste Yoakum

Cal Poly '21

Celeste loves chocolate covered almonds. She enjoys hiking, swimming, and watching the latest Grey's Anatomy episode.