What is California Known for? 31 Facts about California

Well, the popular, and intense question my readers often ask me is– What is California known for?” 

California is known for TONS of things. Mostly, I can rant on this particular topic. But, I’ll keep it simple and try to shed light only on the important things.

What is California Known for

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Truly, I feel there cannot be “27” or “30” reasons. Numbers are just useless when we talk about The Sunshine State. Cali is huge!

But, at the same time, the question is so heavy that if you ask me in the comment section I would probably say -“A lot, you should go there once in your life”.

However, I want you to know that there are pros and cons of living in California, every place in this world has some good and some bad.

Also, there are some reasons why people regret moving to California, you can give it a read too. You can go through my moving to California Checklist, which I’ve prepared if you want to move in.

Coming to this blog, on things California is famous for, I’ll take you through some distinct things that only a local like me can know. 

You can take a look at a comparative study between Florida and California for a better understanding.

So, let’s dive in!

What is California Known for?

California is famous for its significant collection of the Ghost Towns

1. Bodie State Historical Park

The region’s gold rush history gave the Golden State birth to some spooky abandoned ghost town. Particularly, I love Bodie ghost town, a small mining town in California.

I enjoy digging into the past. The story I found about Bodie is, during the town’s heyday, there were many brothels, gambling halls, and saloons.

Till 1882, the town was booming unearthing over 10,000 pounds of metal ore from hillside’s 30 gold mines. The view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains from here is unexplainable! 

After the fire in 1892 and 1932, the town started flickering. Now, it is nothing but “arrested decay” as a state park. 

You can take a guided tour to check out the mill, little church, decrepit village, and rustic environment. Watching 110 silent houses will surely give you goosebumps!

Bodie State Historical Park, What is California Known for
Bodie State Historical Park

What is California known for – Every three minutes, an Earthquake?

2. Earthquakes 

Yes, the scariest fact about California is that it is one of the most seismically active states in the United States. However, thankfully, most of the earthquakes are relatively weak.

Since 1812, California recorded around 70 major earthquakes that significantly affected the life of Californians. Additionally, there are countless small tectonic events.

Even though I was not born in 1857, I heard about what the horrendous Fort Tejon Earthquake did with 7.9 on the Richter Scale to the land and lives.

In 2020, 6.4 magnitude earthquakes jolted the northern coast, crumping homes. California sits on two tectonic plates – The North American Plate and the Pacific Plate.

Now, these plates grind past each other in opposite directions leading to pressure leading to sudden jerks. 

Things California is famous for National State Parks

3. Yosemite National Park

I guarantee if you ask anyone from the West about Yosemite National Park – they will respond with a smile and say –“you must visit there, once”. 

It’s on everyone’s buck list. Starting from amazing hiking spots in Yosemite to Yosemite sunset spots, the place is a nature lover’s paradise.

The best things about California’s National Park are – you get a close view of El Captain, Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, wilderness area, grand meadows, and so more. 

It is also one of the UNESCO heritages. Just under the shadow of the Sierra Nevada, Yosemite also hosts concerts like Yosemite Music Festival. Do attend this event!

Yosemite National Park, What is California Known for
Yosemite National Park

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4. Death Valley

What California is famous for is surely for range, diversity of scenes, varied landscapes, dunes, canyons, salt flats, and intense colors of nature.

Iconic California is home to a strange and silent beauty spot called Death Valley. No, deny it, it is a land of extremes. It is North America’s driest and hottest spot.

From endless desert plains to snow that frosts the park – Death Valley has a surreal landscape that can trick your senses.  

If you’re in California, I recommend to spend one day in Death ValleyThe lowest spot on the Earth is here, 282 feet (86 meters) below sea level – Badwater Basin.

Death Valley
Death Valley

5. Joshua Tree National Park

What California is known for – tall yucca standing at the backdrop of jumbled piles of outsize boulders with the sky full of glittering stars.  

The first time when I came to Joshua Tree, the sheer magnitude of happiness was endless. The place felt so magical. You should explore the secret spots in the Joshua tree too.

The undulating desert – the Mojave and the Colorado Desert kept on sparkling in front of my eyes, making me thankful for my decision to come here.

The place is riddled with bulbous rocks, snaking canyons, hidden oases, wildlife like coyotes, Mojave desert tortoises, jackrabbits, bobcats, and so more.

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6. Pinnacles National Park

California is famous for its offbeat spots like Pinnacles National Park, where you see cool caves, endangered California condors, mountain views, monoliths, and prairies.

It sits east of the Salinas Valley and is one of the newest national parks in America. You’ll love the incredible landscape formed by volcanic activities, and tectonic plates.

Harry and I trek to the High Peaks, a volcanic labyrinth of jagged pinnacles to witness something we never thought to see. The view is amazing!

I also recommend having food at The Inn at Trees Pinos, a watering hole that serves amazing salmon, and veal.

 Pinnacles National Park, What is California Known for
Pinnacles National Park

7. Sequoia and Kings Canyons National Park

During my visit to two giant National Parks – Sequoia National Park, and Kings Canyon National Park, I camp one night at both places.

It is home to some large giant sequoia trees and the deep gorge of a canyon. Walking through the giant trees will surely make you feel tiny like an ant. 

California is best known for General Sherman Tree, the largest tree in the world by volume and weight. It is 274 feet tall with a circumference of 102 feet. 

Check out the Congress Trail too! There is a beautiful marble cave at the Foothills Visitors Centre. Hike to Little Baldy for the sunrise view, it’s amazing.

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8. Redwood National Park

Do you know one of the fun facts about California? It is home to a 379.1-foot tall Redwood National and State Park tree.

The tree is Sequoia sempervirens which is also called Hyperion. The tree is believed to age more than 700 years old.

If you’re a tree enthusiast and recreational climber, this place is must visit. Also, you can check out the best Redwoods near San Francisco.

I want to clear out the air that California Redwoods have two distinct species –the coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), and giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum). You should check it out, all!

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What is California known for – wine country regions and vineyards

9. Napa Valley

When talking about wines from California, the experience of sitting at Napa Valley simply sipping a glass of vino looking at the lush scenario, and golden light, and enjoying the romantic ambiance is what comes to my mind!

The grapes, the setting, and premium quality due to the ideal microclimate and soil help Napa Valley to produce prized Cabernet Sauvignon. 

You get an endless chance to walk through vines, learn about the wine-making process, taste local wines, and bask in the gorgeous views.

I suggest going to Cakebread Cellars in Rutherford, Corison Winery, Faust Haus, Ehlers Estate, and Heitz Cellar in St. Helena. Also, experience the hot air balloon flying.

Cakebread Cellars in Rutherford
Cakebread Cellars in Rutherford

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10. Santa Barbara

In search of Spanish and Italian varietals, Rhone style wines, nuanced Bordeaux, pinot noir, syrah, and chardonnay – the only name that comes to mind is Santa Barbara.

California is famous for several things but with over 200 wineries and 16000 acres of vineyards, Santa Barbara is the most funk zone in California. Check out some of my favorite Santa Barbara wineries!

Tasting rooms like Grassini Family Vineyard, Au Bon Climat, and Jamie Slone Wines are some must-visit spots. I recommend going to Melville Winery & Vineyard.

Frankly, California white wines have smoky aromas with fruity flavors. You also get a chance to taste butterscotch, vanilla, or caramel aroma too. You should taste wine from the brand Moet & Chandon.

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An Interesting Fact About California: You can relax and soak in the hot springs 

11. Desert Hot Springs

What can be more soothing to body, mind, and soul than soaking yourself in the natural hot springs? My mother tells that a perfect hot spring is a mud bath!

My favorite is Desert hot springs in South California. It is an oasis just outside Palm Springs. This stylish and sustainable mineral-rich hot spring can make you feel fresh. 

You can check out some other hot springs in California to heal your mind and body. My favorites are Crowley hot springs, and Calistoga hot springs in North California.

Desert Hot Springs
Desert Hot Springs

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California is known and famous for fun sports

12. Surfing

I grew up on the sunshine coast of California. That means I was always close to the ocean. If weren’t in it, I was on it. My father used to take me to Windansea Beach 

In my childhood days, I remember my father used to take me to Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum to watch the exhibition. Huntington Beach is also called the Surf City of the USA.

The massive waves were my favorite challenge. I suggest including Mavericks in Half Moon Bay, Cowell Beach in Santa Cruz, the Trestles in San Clemente, and Rincon Beach on your bucket list. 

Note: Maverick is a dangerous beach for surfing if you’re starting out. Try to attend water sporting events like the National Scholastic Surfing Association Nationals, and ASP World Tours first. These events happen in Santa Barbara.


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13. Skateboarding

South California and skateboarding go hand-in-hand. Since the 1950s surfers are hitting the ocean and teenagers are enjoying the street skating.  

If you’re the one who loves skateboarding then Venice Beach Skate Park must be your dreamland. It is 16,000- a square foot skater’s paradise.

Also, there is another darn good spot inside Linda Vista Community Park, Linda Vista Skate Park in San Diego providing children to take boarding to the next level.

14. Car Culture

Things California is famous for is the hottest beds of car. When I was in Southern California, every weekend I was attending “cars and coffee” types events.

I’ve always heard Sonia say that she is jealous of people living on the West Coast because they have easy access to car sports.

My brain was shocked seeing the crazy color, and patterns of cars racing. Cars are an integral part of South California’s standard of life. 

California is famous for its Tourist Spots

15. Bodega Bay

Bodega Bay is a small friendly tourist spot in California stretching 55 miles of the Pacific coastline in Sonoma County. The spot is brimming with hikers and Hollywood stars.

“The Bird” by Alfred Hitchcock chooses this sensational quaint town to shoot the movie. I guarantee this place will be a rejuvenating retreat for you!

Untamed coastline, coastal mountains, slow-paced nature, and friendly people – make the place no less than a film location. Do visit Doran Regional Park!

16. Cloverleaf and Collins

Did you have thought to visit a beautiful sunflower field in California during the golden hour? Welcome to Davis Sunflower Field – Cloverleaf and Collins.

It is an organic orchid where figs, apricots, plums, peaches, nectarines, and the famous yellow sunflower are cultivated. The best part is it is a U-pick farm.

This sunflower field is in Davis which surely can bring a smile to your face. However, it can be a little crowded so, be prepared for that.

Cloverleaf and Collins
Cloverleaf and Collins

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17. Mammoth Mountain

Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort sits on the eastern edge of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountain range at 11,053 feet on 3,500 acres. 

Such a huge skiable terrain makes it perfect for skiing and snowboarding. The spot was founded in 1953. It has an average annual snowfall of around 400 inches.

You can check out some of the best California ski resorts. I recommend just going to Heavenly Ski Resort, Squaw Valley, and Alpine Meadow.

18. Dunsmuir

Dunsmuir is a beguiling hidden gem in northern California that is known as the “home of the best waters of Earth”. It sits along the upper Sacramento River in Trinity Mountains.

Melted snow is the source of water for the people. This water comes after getting filtered through the volcanic rocks of Mount Shasta. Doesn’t it sound cool?

Tauhindauli Park is a great spot for swimming with friends. You should check out other great mountain towns in California for peaceful stays. 

19. Capitola

California is known for being home to some incredible quaint seaside towns. Capitola is my lovely spot. It sits two hours from San Francisco, on the Monterey Bay coast. 

It is the “oldest beach resort on America’s West Coast”. You can never feel bored. It is surrounded by cafes, boutiques, galleries, and lively bars.

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Capitola is a fast-growing town in California. The view of Monterey Bay and Soquel Creek is breathtaking. Fishing, boating, and surfing are very popular here.

20. Mono Lake

Soniya brought me to witness a beautiful saline lake in California that is famous for its limestone deposits called Tufa Towers. 

This place is perfect for photographers and adventurous peopleIt is believed that the lake is around 750, 000 years old. 

You can go kayaking, bird watching, sit by the bay watching sunset or sunrise, or just soak in the beauty. No doubt, why it is called one of the best lakes in California

Did you visit Lake Tahoe? It is the largest alpine lake in North America. Lake Tahoe has some incredible stuff to do

Tufa Towers
Tufa Towers

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21. Alcatraz

Alcatraz is famous among travelers. You’ve to take a ferry to reach the island. It is a fort and was a military prison, and now it is turned into a museum. 

They also run an audio-guide tour that narrates past stories, island incarnation stories, and the life of prisoners. It surely will give you goosebumps. 

What is California known for: Food, Fruits, and Drinks

22. Mission Burrito

As I chew, I can feel the earthy soft frizzled deep brown fat melting in my mouth. I made some noise! It is surely something different!

Seeing that, a person sitting next to me asked –“what are you having”. I said Mission Burrito. It is also called “San Francisco Burrito”. 

It comes with rice and loaded calories. California is known and famous for Burritos. In the Bay Area, Burrito trucks are flowing throughout the streets. You’ll love it!

23. Apple Martini

If you’re a Netflix watcher, I’m sure you’ve seen stars sipping a bright green color cocktail in the restaurant. It is Apple Martina first created in Los Angeles in 1966.

Indeed it is a sweet cocktail made up of vodka, apple cider, and apple liqueur. We locals also call it “Appletini”. It is garnished with a slice of apple or a cherry.

24. In-N-Out-Burger

What food northern California known is for is In-N-Out-Burger. It is a fast-food burger joint chain found in California, Texas, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. 

The only reason it got famous is because of its incredible timely service, affordability, and quality. With one bite, you can say the cheeseburgers, fries, and hamburger, is fresh. 


California also known as Silicon Valley

25. Silicon Valley

California has a strong connection with technology and it is home to companies like Google, Apple, Meta, Visa, and so more.

Young professionals dream to fly to California for good job opportunities. It has the third-highest GDP per capita in the world. 

Many More Things California Is Famous For

26. Agriculture

If you’re wondering what is California known for in agriculture, its grapes, dairy products, and almonds. It earns $6.25 billion, $6.37 billion, and $5.47 billion respectively.

27. Largest producer

What is California known for growing? California is the largest producer of strawberries in the United States. It also produces over 90% of United States lettuce.

28. Known for

California is known as the “Land of Milk and Honey”. At Coloma, gold was discovered and this resulted in to open up of new opportunities and a flourishing economy

29. Famous personalities

California is also famous for the people residing here. You cannot deny that the Sunshine State is home to Kim Kardashian, Steves Jobs, and Tom Brady.

30. Interesting places

Hollywood is the most interesting place in California. It sits in central Los Angeles, home to the U.S. film industry, many historic studios, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It is home to Universal Studios, Warner Bros, and Paramount Pictures. The Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic symbol of San Francisco. Have you explored the amazing collections of zoos in California? You should go for it!

31. Professional sports team

Have you heard of LA Lakers? California is known for its professional basketball team which is popular in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for winning championships.

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FAQ: What is California Known for?

1. Why is California so popular?

A. California’s weather is an important reason why people want to move here. The summer is warm, and dry whereas winters are wet. Additionally, it is home to many tech companies, meaning a great opportunity for young professionals to get a standard job after graduation.   

2. What food is California known for?

A. California is famous for its unique style pizza. The toppings are different and it is always paired with beer. Another dish California is known for is Uramaki, a California sushi-style food. 

3. Why is California called the golden state?

A. California is also known as “The Golden State” because around 1848 the place witnesses a gold rush that impacted a huge role in its economy.

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