California is a big state. Nearly the size of the entire country of Japan-big. So, with a state so big, that means there’s literally thousands of things you could choose to do when traveling there. If you’re looking for new things to do that don’t involve the typical beaches or amusement parks, you’re in luck. Here are 6 unique things to try the next time you head out West to the California coast.
Scenic Drive Across Big Sur
The 17-mile drive along Big Sur’s stunning coastline offers mesmerizing scenic views you can’t quite get anywhere else. California’s Highway One, which starts from California’s northern border with Oregon, stretching all the way down to San Diego, winds up and down the glorious Pacific Ocean with one of its famous stops being Big Sur.
To get to Big Sur, you’ll travel over the Bixby Bridge: one of most photographed bridges on the West Coast and one of the tallest single span concrete bridge in the world. Some of the beautiful sights along the Big Sur include Pfeiffer Beach, McWay Falls, Point Sur State Historic Park, and Ragged Point to name a few. The scenery isn’t the only highlight on this drive. If you make it out of the car and head down to the beach, you might get greeted by herds of barking elephant seals of sea otters hanging out in their kelp beds.
Wine Drinking in Napa Valley
Despite what the French might think, some of the best wine in the world is made in California, in good ol’ wine country. You can argue it, but there’s really no point. The Napa Valley region boasts over 400 wineries that span across the regions near 35-mile stretch between Napa and Sonoma. Each region is littered with world-class vintners and tasting rooms.
Each region has its own distinct style, vibe and flavoring. It’s hard to really go wrong when choosing where in the valley you can go to delight in some new world wine. What to know: basic tastings last an hour, so take your time, stay relaxed, and don’t rush. Take in the acres of beautiful vineyards that line the landscape while sipping slowly.
Camp in Joshua Tree
With over three million annual visitors, Joshua Tree National Park is a desert wonderland of unique plant life, bizarre rock formations, and dreamy desert views. Located in the Greater Palm Springs area, about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from San Diego, it’s most known for its signature, odd-shaped Joshua trees. These unique trees, which are a part of the Yucca brevifolia family, were dubbed as “Joshuas” by a group of Mormons after the biblical Joshua, who raised his hands into the sky.
While the Joshua tree is the star of the show here, there’s so much more to see beyond the trees. From the unforgettable sunsets, to the incredible Milky Way views and snowy summits. You’re also bound to see a ton of desert critters, from long lizards called “chuckwallas,” to bighorn sheep and red-tailed hawks. The park is a popular site for hiking and camping with hundreds of certified campgrounds strewn across hundreds of thousands of acres.
Another close famous attraction is Salvation Mountain/Slab City that’s a 2-hour drive away. Salvation Mountain is a man-made mountain covered in religious art and messages. The art installation seems to rise out of the ground in the middle of nowhere in the Imperial Valley desert, a job nearly three decades in the joyful making. It’s a huge draw for Instagrammers and lovers of quirky California spots.
Play Digital Casino Games
The state of legality of online gambling in the US is a bit spotty, as gambling regulations vary from state-to-state. Luckily, though, California is a state that’s lightyears ahead of others when it comes to being able to play freely and legally online.
When you’re in California, especially coming from a state where the restrictions to gamble online are more rigid, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of your geo stamp. You have to admit, it sounds nice to be able to look out onto the ocean and see palm trees swaying in the breeze, while being able to play casino games online from the comfort of the couch. If you do choose to partake in some casino games, make sure you use only the best CA online casinos available.
Experience Hearst Castle
Sitting pretty atop a California hill more than a quarter mile above the Pacific Ocean, lies the captivating Hearst Castle. Nestled halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Hearst Castle is a stunning tribute to the massive wealth of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst. Hearst Castle is actually a mansion that’s surrounded by three guesthouses.
Built into the hilltop is Neptune Pool, a stunning outdoor swimming pool that’s the heart of the Hearst Castle travel experience. The dazzling palace also features a zoo and a valuable art collection. Fun fact: In its heyday, Hearst Castle in San Simeon was a celebrity hotspot, hosting roaring ‘20s parties that saw the likes of Charlie Chaplin to Clark Gable.
Walk Along Glass Beach
Glass beach is a viral sensation and one of the most unique beaches in the world. What makes it so unique is that it’s a site made of ocean-dumped waste that’s been reformed by water and sand. Waste like cars, tires, household items and glass that over time, has been worn smooth into colorful bits of glass stone that now beautifully adorn the beach. Glass is found in the sandy deposits of the southern coves surrounding MacKerricher State Park.
Getting there is simple; take the wide walking path from the free parking area on Glass Beach Drive. You’ll also want to wear a good pair of shoes or sandals with tread, to be able to climb between the rocks to get to the small beaches and coves where the glass awaits you.