California Map of Tourist Places

California map of main tourist destinations.

Why holiday in California?

California is the richest and nuttiest state in the USA and struggles to contain several prime tourist draws, Los Angeles and Hollywood’s movie world bustle and beautiful over-the-top weirdness, San Francisco’s quiet and cultured style, Disneyland’s unique madness and San Diego’s seaside lifestyle.
But getting away from the urban action is not too difficult with great green spaces scattered all around from the Joshua Tree National Park and Mojave Desert in the south, Yosemite and Sierra Nevada destinationsin the centre and the Cascade mountains in the north.

Yosemite National Park, California, USA. Photo Tuxyso

Yosemite National Park, California. Photo Tuxyso

Downsides

• Cars are vital for getting around California and that means for individual foreign visitors too, yet roads are jammed and signage poor, necessitating occasional emergency manoeuvres across multiple lanes of traffic by befuddled, panicked tourists. Get Sat-Nav and save your marriage!

• Fog is common along the north coast during the summer, spoiling the views and making driving hazardous.

• Rip tides are much in evidence along the more surfy beaches so swimming can be tricky though signs will usually warn you and lifeguards monitor more popular beaches.

Weather

Best: September-October for the north coast, anytime of the year for the mountains as a whole.
June-September for the south, except the deserts which are best visited in the spring for coolness and flowery bloom.
Worst: June-August intense heat in the deserts, Nov-March mountains, esp. north get chilly or impassable.