Hidden Travel Gems in California

Are you planning a day trip within California but want to avoid the crowded areas? Try out these eight Golden State hidden gems.

1. Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery

Do you like elephant seals? If so, check out Piedras Blancas when you are next traveling in California. It is a shoreline off Highway 1. Thousands of elephant seals gather there every year to breed, birth, molt, and pose for pictures. Since the majestic beasts are visible from the highway, you can enjoy the sight without risking getting too close.

2. Mono Lake

Mono Lake is an oasis within the dry Great Basin. It is over a million years old and contains gorgeous tufa towers, also known as calcium carbonate rock formations. Each formation is unique, and the entire landscape houses millions of migratory and nesting birds. If you are an avid ornithologist and a fan of unique geological formations, you must visit this spot.

3. Big Bear Lake

100 miles east of Los Angeles lies the San Bernardino Mountains. It is home to Big Bear Lake, one of the few places in the US where skiing and surfing are both possible. That’s because Big Bear Lake is at a high elevation and receives more winter snow than other parts of Southern California.

During summer, the lake is fantastic for cycling, hiking, and off-road driving adventures. If you aren’t afraid to get wet, head into the lake to kayak, paddleboard, fish, or sail. Winter lovers can anticipate snowboarding and skiing down Big Bear Mountain’s summit.

This location’s unique offerings make it ideal for romantic adventures with your partner or click here for an escort date.

4. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

For the best view of the stars, head for Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in Borrego Springs. The night sky over the region is gorgeous and crystal clear due to minimal light pollution. If you arrive before nightfall, bide your time by exploring the Borrego Springs town and the otherworldly Ricardo Breceda sculptures that dwell in it.

5. Alabama Hills

Aside from being a filming location for some of your favorite Hollywood Westerns, Alabama Hills is a stunning rocky landscape. The rock formations’ distinct rounded shape comes from millennia of wind and snow weathering. Combine that with the mountains in the background, and you have a fantastic photo op.

6. Black Sands Beach

Black Sands Beach in Humboldt County gets its name from it its unique black beach sand. The beach itself is a beautiful vista with the majestic California Redwoods as its backdrop. You can access the Lost Coast Trail from the beach, which you can follow from the beach’s northern area to secluded romantic spots and camping locations.

7. Lake Almanor and Lassen Volcanic National Park

If you drive north of Sacramento and 160 miles in, you will find Shasta Cascade. While Shasta Cascade is home to several natural wonders, its most outstanding offerings are Lake Almanor and Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Lake Almanor is a beautiful lake that’s ideal for romantic and family-friendly outings, as well as water sports. Lassen Volcanic National Park offers something different with steaming vents and bubbling mud pots. Despite the rumbling volcano beneath its grounds, the park is a serene nature wonderland that you can visit for skiing and snowshoeing in winter.

8. Burney Falls

While you are in Shasta Cascade, check out Burney Falls. It’s in the McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park, and its 129-foot-tall waterfall is worth seeing. The waterfall originates from underground springs and cascades down the hill to create a magnificent sight that’s available throughout the year.

Where will you visit first?

Regardless of the direction you are traveling in California, hidden gems are plentiful and await your exploration. You just need to know where to look. If you have a favorite destination that’s not on our list, please share in the comments.