5 Most Visited Sites in California
From 840 miles of Pacific coastline to a countryside made up of deserts, lush green valleys and rolling sierras, the Golden State is among the most striking states in the U.S. It’s also one packed with tourist attractions that range from blissed-out surf towns to glorious national parks, wineries, and world-famous theme parks. But have you ever wondered where visitors like to go most in California? Here’s our rundown.
Yosemite National Park
Covering 747,956 acres in California’s Sierra Nevada, Yosemite National Park welcomes 4 million visitors every year. The park’s pristine natural beauty is made up of glacial valleys, tranquil lakes, soaring sequoias and wondrous waterfalls. This makes it a hotspot for backpacking, birding, fishing, hiking, rock climbing, and more. Hikes to Horsetail Falls and Yosemite Falls are must-do activities, as is a paddle in the Merced River. Some of the world’s largest trees are found in the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, including the 27-feet diameter Grizzly Giant. Views from Glacier Point and Half Dome are as impressive as the travel shows have us believe.
Plan your visit here: Yosemite National Park
Universal Studios Hollywood
Around 9 million television and movie fanatics flock to this recording studio-turned-amusement park set at the foot of the Hollywood Hills. It’s big, it’s brash, and there’s something for all ages on rides inspired by some of our favorite shows and characters. Come face-to-face with Jaws, experience a battle between King King and a T-Rex, meet The Simpsons, and reenact the adventurous life of Harry Potter. A studio tour might be as close as you’ll get to stepping onto a movie set, so be prepared for earthquakes, floods, pyrotechnics, and other state-of-the-art special effects.
Plan your visit here: Universal Studios Hollywood
Hollywood Walk of Fame
An essential stop on any tour of Tinseltown is the section of Hollywood Boulevard emblazoned with stars that honor some of the biggest names in the film, radio, television, and theater industries. An estimated 10 million people come here every year to search for and snap photos of their favorite actor’s star. Everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Bob Hope and Britney Spears have been immortalized. The Walk of Fame isn’t the only thing that draws the crowds to the boulevard, either. There’s The Hollywood Museum, The Egyptian Theater Hollywood, and Museum of Death, too. Hang out outside the TCL Chinese Theater for the chance to spot celebrities.
The Golden Gate Bridge
Arguably San Francisco’s most emblematic landmark since its inauguration in 1937, a whopping 10 million people descend upon the Golden Gate Bridge annually. There’s an abundance of ways to discover this 1.7-mile long Art Deco-style suspension bridge, which spans the entrance to San Francisco Bay. Travel its entire length by bike or foot, or sail beneath it on a cruise departing from Fisherman’s Wharf. Browse exhibits about the bridge’s history and groundbreaking engineering at a museum adjacent to the south tower. Be sure to drink in the sunrise and sunset views from the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Plan your visit here: Golden Gate Bridge
Perhaps unsurprisingly, California’s most visited attraction is Disneyland Park Anaheim, which makes up to 18 million dreams come true every year. It’s a rite of passage for many families around the world to take a vacation to a Disney theme park, and California is home to the original. It’s possible to spend weeks, even months, exploring the park’s eight themed areas, each alive with costumed characters, rides, and shows. Ride the iconic Space Mountain, visit the Sleeping Beauty Castle, step inside a scene from "Star Wars," and attend Mickey’s Soundsational Parade. If that isn’t enough, the Downtown Disney District mimics a quintessential Main Street environment.
Plan your visit here: Disneyland Park