22 Places In California You Can’t Miss

California is known as the Golden State as a consequence of the gold rush in the 1850s. Since then, its fame has only increased, appealing to the whole world as a fantastic destination to visit. When people think of visiting California the first thing that comes to mind is the world capital of entertainment, Hollywood. However, here is a list of incredible places that aren’t as well known. Get a glimpse of the real California!

#22. Winchester Mystery House, California

Located in the city of San Jose, the Winchester Mystery House is a place that fascinates many. the architecture is incredibly mindblowing and it’s no surprise since its late owner Sarah Winchester dedicated thirty years remodeling and investing in the structure.

Photo: Courtesy of Trover

But this mansion is not only known for its stunning Victorian architecture: it is also known to be a real-life haunted house. Legend says that after her husband’s death, the owner was haunted by plenty of ghosts and that the grounds are pestered with bad spirits. do you think you’d be able to visit and see for yourself if the rumors are true?

#21. General Sherman, California

General Sherman sounds like a name a veteran would have or even a military man. In this case, the name makes for quite the confusion when people stumble upon a tree rather than a person. However, this is no ordinary tree, for one thing: the humongous Sequoia stretches 300 feet far into the skies.

Photo: Courtesy of Trover

You can find General Sherman in the Forest of the Sequoia National Park. This one stands out because it has been studied and identified as being at least 2300 years old. just imagine all the people and historical moments this wise old fella has witnessed.

#20. The Sunken City, California

The Sunken City is a touristc site that has quite a tragic history. As a consequence of a terrible landslide, the neighborhood of Pt. Fermin in San Diego was destroyed in 1929. The slide displaced houses, commercial buildings, streets, and sidewalks. From then onwards, the neighborhood was named “The Sunken City”.

Photo: Courtesy of Trover

Several decades later, thousands of people head out there today to check out the remains of this abandoned site. If you at the picture closely, you will be able to identify a shop, a home, and a street. If you look ahead you will find that you’re quite close by to the sea as well.

#19. The Wave Organ, California

When one pictures an Organ, this is definitely not what comes into mind. However, at the San Francisco Bay, one can enjoy a concert like no other. One thing is for sure, you will witness a show no other will ever hear since every pattern and sound is unique.

Photo: Courtesy of Trover

The wave organ was created in such a way, that the force of the waves against the tubes and other structures create a distinct sound. Just like an organ player would, the waves create music that varies greatly depending on the tide.

#18. OstrichLand USA, California

Ostriches are funny animals and they aren’t that common to spot in the city, are they? Take advantage of the opportunity that OstichLand gives you and go look at how they behave in their natural habitat. In this own zoo-type place, the birds are free to move about and are taken care of.

Photo: Courtesy of Mylifeisajourney

If you go, you might get the chance to spot one of their dinosaur-like eggs and you’ll definitely learn some interesting facts about these lovely creatures. On your way out, take a peek at the gift shop that is filled with original gifts you can take back home. To visit other exotic animals, check out #10.

#17. Malibu Hindu Temple, California

This place is quite different from the rest on the list and is also quite surprising. This Hindu Temple is mind-blowingly large. It is decorated beautifully and it stands out, attracting visitors from every part of the world. Are you down for a bit of a cultural and spiritual visit?

Photo: Courtesy of Activerain

If you’re not really into religion, this place is also worth visiting since it provides a sight by itself. It was built in 1981, and as you can see it consists of two separate buildings that have different purposes. We Recommend you ask about every tiny detail when you go, this way you will learn so much.

#16. Vasquez Rocks Natural Area, California

If you’re more of an outdoor person, then this place is perfect for you. This rocks formation allows for the perfect day trip with friends. You can hike, take pictures, relax and lay back for a while in this incredible place. Take advantage of it, and see if you can recognize some of the movies filmed here.

Photo: Courtesy of Trover

The rock formation has been there for millions of years, but not only is its history attractive, but also its natural beauty. So take advantage of this incredible place and head out to explore the desert near Agua Dulce Springs. But don’t forget to take some water, because you won’t find any shops once you get there!

#15. Salvation Mountain, California

What you can see here is the result of an art installation carried out by Leonard Knight. The collage type project includes biblical passages and Christian phrases which explain the name of the Mountain. The result is an explosion of color that makes for a great Instagram photo, don’t you think?

Photo: Courtesy of Californiaweekendmag

After a great deal of work and sacrifice, and with the use of 150,000 gallons of acrylic (lead-free), this vast amount of land was transformed into art. However, be sure to visit this place soon. It turns out that there’s been quite the discussion on how the preservation is going to happen (it requires a lot of work, funds, and maintenance), so who knows if the site will be deteriorating soon.

#14. Dublin Gulch, California

For a trip down memory lane, and an immerse history lesson, the Dublin Gulch is the place to go. While it may look isolated and abandoned, it used to be occupied by miners that worked in the area. Working in mines is already hard enough, but add the fact that the desert has a rough climate and you will understand their need for this place.

Photo: Courtesy of Flickr

The Dublin Gulch was meant as a place to take cover from the sweat-inducing heat of the day, and a bit of comfort from the sharp cold of the night. The place is filled with cave bunkers for this very reason. Don’t miss the chance to visit this place that is so rich with history. But if you’re interested in history, you’ll love the next place in our list even more!

#13. Bodie, California

You might look at this place, and find that only ghosts inhabit it, however, if you were to go back in time to the 1800s, the scene would have been quite different. We mentioned that California had been a place where the gold rush attracted many people. This Town was one of those places.

Photo: Courtesy of Visit California

Bodie was the place in the world for many miners and their families. It was once full of life and energy. In spite of it being empty and only fossil-like structures remaining, its history is so rich it still manages to attract quite a number of tourists. Don’t miss the chance of going back to Californias past.

#12. Trona Pinnacles, California

The Trona Pinnacles can be found in the California Desert National Conservation Area, and they look pretty otherworldly. The spikes stand at different heights from one another, reaching a total of 140 feet, and you will find 500 of these sprawled throughout the dessert.

Photo: Courtesy of Amusing Planet

The spikes are actually a consequence of the interaction between various minerals and the weather, and while they don’t receive that many tourists a year, they definitely get visits from the entertainment movie companies. Some scenes from Planet of the Apes, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, and more have been filmed at this very spot.

#11. Noah Purifoy Joshua Tree Outdoor Museum, California

If you’re on a budget, don’t worry. California has great activities and places to go to that are completely free. The Noah Purifoy Joshua Tree Outdoor Museum is an original and quite unique place that will pretty much impress anyone who visits it.

Photo: Courtesy of Onecoolthingeveryweekend

The late owner, Noah decided to embark on this great project as a consequence of becoming saturated with LA life. When you visit you’ll notice that he recycled old materials, as well as things he found in the desert and made them fully functional. This place never ceases to impress. It kind of looks like the buildings from the Disney movie Rangodoesn’t it?

#10. Oasis Camel Dairy Farm, California

If you didn’t get enough wildlife at the OstrichLand, then head out to Oasis Camel Dairy Farm. Here you will be able to come up close to camels. These animals always look as if they’re keeping a secret from you, and we just love them.

Photo: Courtesy of Cameldairy

At this farm, you will have the opportunity to pet and ride these animals. If that just isn’t enough, a vast variety of products derived from Camel are available such as milk, lotions, and soaps. If you bring back some of those, that will probably be the most original gift someones ever receives. Or do you know anyone who washes their hair with camel shampoo?

#9. Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch, California

If you’re into recycling and the type of art that comes with that, then California is the place to go, and you’ll definitely enjoy paying a visit to this Bottle Tree Ranch. As you can see, these ‘trees’ have the originality that they are made solely from glass bottles. Who would’ve thought that they could look so good?

Photo: Courtesy of Trover

Don’t forget your camera for the world, since you will get great photos, and you might even spot the owner, Elmer. He enjoys explaining new visitors the concept and idea of the place. For another Recycled structure that will blow your mind, don’t miss #1!

#8. Harmony, California

Throughout the list, we have gone over a number of abandoned places that can still be visited. The case with this little old town, Harmony, is quite different because it is still populated… with 18 people. Take a trip down history lane by visiting the following places.

Photo: Courtesy of Harmonytown

This typical looking town had its own Dairy production. While it is now closed, the Harmony Valley Creamery holds plenty of the town’s memories and it is very pretty. Look at that marvelous wooden door! You can head there first, and next go straight to the main glass glowing shop. That art is fascinating, and you won’t be able to leave without browsing or maybe even buying some interesting things.

#7. Whaley House, California

Who doesn’t enjoy a worthy scary story? At the Whaley House, you can come close to one of those. The US Commerce Department declared this place to be officially haunted, and that just makes me want to check it out more. Do you feel the same way?

Photo: Courtesy of Trover

The original owners, Thomas Whaley and his family, lived in the place since 1857. After the daughter of the man committed suicide there, several more incidents have occurred. People that live close by are sure they have seen unusual things going on at that house. Thus, it is believed that Thomas was the one that haunted the building.

#6. Integratron, California

Who doesn’t love a good old story about UFOs? If you’re ready to come up close and personal with one of these, head out to the Integratron. This space-like looking building was designed by UFOs originating from our neighboring planet Venus, according to George Van Tassel who directly was in charge of the project.

Photo: Courtesy of Trover

The building was finished in 1959, and since then, the creator behind it has had hopes that the Integratron would accomplish many things. If you feel you’re ready to travel through time and communicate with UFOs and other incredible things, then head out here. If you’re more cynical, we recommend the visit as well. You’re guaranteed a good time either way.

#5. Salton Sea, California

If you’ve become saturated with city life and its dessert-like surroundings, take some time off at the Salton Sea. While the name may be deceiving, this phenomenon is actually the largest lake you will find in California. Surprisingly, the sea was created as a result of the flood of the Colorado River in 1905.

Photo: Courtesy of Visitgreaterpalmsprings

Beware, nothing is as it seems in the state of California. During the summer, because of a process in which oxygen is reduced to very low levels in the lake, many of its natural inhabitants die. The result is that the coast becomes filled with the rotting smell of the fish and other creatures that die off.

#4. Anza Borrego Sculptures, California

Being a place with a vast desert area is sometimes a challenge for California. How can locals attract people and tourists to visit some regions? Dennis Avery with the help of artist Ricardo Breceda took it upon himself to make Boreggo Springs a place people would want to visit. He made giant sculptures of animals of all kinds. It is truly amazing.

Photo: Courtesy of Californiathroughmylens

There are 130 sculptures in total, including horses, grasshoppers, scorpions and much more. The reddish color of the structures contrasts deeply with the surrounding desert, in a way that is very attractive to the eye. Head down there to have some fun, and get incredible photos.

#3. Glass Beach, California

As we’ve repeatedly been seeing, what others might see as garbage, in California it is reconverted into something much more artistic. The colorful ‘sand’ in the Glass Beach gets its characteristic shapes and colors from the trash. Locals from Fort Bragg have been using this place to throw garbage for quite some time.

Photo: Courtesy of Pinterest

However, the unexpected result was this. With the strength of the sea and other natural phenomena, objects that were thrown were decomposed and broken down to the point that the original object was no longer recognizable, and only multicolored rocks were left behind. Be careful not to wander barefoot throughout this beach particularly.

#2. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, California

While some cemeteries have a bad reputation for being dull and a bit depressing (who would want to visit one on a holiday?) the Hollywood Forest Cemetery is a must. You will find, recognized actors, directors, writers and some other famous figures. Visit the grounds, and see if you can find where Judy Garland rests.

Photo: Courtesy of Trover

In this Cemetery, you will notice that not only are there beautiful memorials, but also lakes, flowers, and an overall carefully designed landscape. It is so beautiful you will almost forget it is actually a place where many people rest. It is actually a pretty interesting place since it is often used for music or community events, as well as some series scenes as well. It seems this Cemetery is full of life.

#1. Nitt Witt Ridge, California

As we’ve already seen in #11 and #9, you will find plenty of places in California that play with the idea, the concept and the materials of recycling. In this case, the Nitt Witt Ridge is pretty much a place of this kind. The owner and creator, Arthur Harold Beal used to hoard garbage with the idea that he could convert it into a place he could call home.

Photo: Courtesy of trover

Effectively, after a life of handling and working with other people’s garbage, he created this great structure. And you have to admit, he did an incredible job reconverting garbage. The artist managed to create his own ‘castle on a hill’. It is truly impressive!

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