50 Things to Do in California This Summer

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Summer is the best time of year for traveling and exploring new places. California is an especially popular destination for people looking for adventure. Between the exciting city life of Los Angeles and the tranquil forests of Lake Tahoe, California has a destination for everyone. Here are 50 fun things you can do in California this summer.

1. Disneyland

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This one is an obvious choice. Located in sunny Anaheim, Disneyland is one of the largest attractions in the Golden State. People travel from around the world to experience the magic of the happiest place on earth.

Tickets start at $76/day for a standard Theme Park ticket, but if you're a resident looking to upgrade to a California resident ticket, expect to pay up to $100/day per person.

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2. The Hearst Castle

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The Hearst Castle was once the residence of the newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst. The mansion is not maintained by California State Parks, which gives you the opportunity to tour the 127-acre property. The estate includes gardens, terraces, pools, and unique rooms full of antiques originating in Italy and Spain. The castle is located between San Francisco and Santa Barbara.

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3. Hike Mount Whitney

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At 14,505 feet, Mount Whitney is the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States. Located in Sequoia National Park, this popular hike attracts visitors from all over the world. The trail is 21 miles long with 6,000 feet in elevation gain, so prepare accordingly before attempting this hike.

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4. Explore the Channel Islands

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The Channel Islands are a chain of eight islands off the coast of California, offering some of the most diverse and beautiful landscapes in the state. Visitors can hike through forests, go kayaking and fishing, explore tide pools, or just relax on the beach. There are also plenty of opportunities to see wildlife, including dolphins, seals, whales, and birds.

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5. Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch

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Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch is a unique roadside attraction located in the Mojave Desert. The ranch features over 350 bottle trees, which are created by attaching bottles to tree branches. The result is a colorful and whimsical display that is sure to delight visitors of all ages.

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6. Explore Bodie State Historic Park

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Bodie State Historic Park is a ghost town located in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Once a thriving mining town, Bodie is now a popular tourist destination for those interested in exploring abandoned buildings and learning about California's history.

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7. Visit the Devil's Postpile Monument

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The Devil's Postpile Monument is a columnar basalt formation located in Mammoth Lakes, CA. The monument is accessible via a short hike, and several ranger-led programs are offered throughout the year. This unique landmark is usually open from June to October.

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8. Take A Scenic Roadtrip on Highway 120

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Highway 120 is a scenic road that winds through Tioga Pass in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The route offers stunning views of the Sierras, as well as opportunities to see wildlife and stop at various overlooks.

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9. Visit Ubehebe Crater in Death Valley

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Ubehebe Crater is a 600-foot-deep crater located in Death Valley National Park. Visitors can hike to the bottom of the crater, or take a shorter loop around the rim. The views from the top are also breathtaking.

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10. Burney Falls

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Burney Falls is a 129-foot waterfall located in Northern California. The falls flow all year round, but are especially beautiful in the springtime when the snowmelt is high. There is also a campground nearby if you want to spend more time in this idyllic setting.

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11. Mugu State Park

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Mugu State Park is a state park located in Ventura County, CA. The park features over 70 miles of hiking trails, as well as opportunities for fishing, picnicking, and swimming. People have also been known to enjoy hiking up the sand dunes and then running down them really fast.

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12. Drive Historic Route 66 from L.A. to Vegas

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Route 66 is one of the most iconic roads in America, and what better place to drive it than from Los Angeles to Las Vegas? This road trip will take you through some of the most beautiful scenery in California, including the Mojave Desert.

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13. Visit the Hollywood Forever Cemetary

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The Hollywood Forever Cemetery is the final resting place of some of Hollywood's most famous stars. Visitors can take a self-guided tour or participate in one of the many events that are held at the cemetery throughout the year.

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14. Explore The La Brea Tar Pits

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The La Brea Tar Pits are a group of pits that contain asphalt deposits that were formed over 50,000 years ago. Today, the tar pits are a popular tourist destination and also home to the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum. The tar pits contain preserved bones of animals that became trapped in the tar.

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15. Visit Six Flags

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Six Flags Magic Mountain is a theme park located in Valencia, California. It boasts 19 roller coasters, making it one of California's most popular tourist destinations.

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16. Take Surfing Lessons at Surfrider Beach

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Surfrider Beach is a world-famous surf spot located in Malibu, California. The beach is also home to the Surfrider Foundation, which works to protect and preserve the world's oceans and beaches.

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17. Oue Skyspace in L.A.

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Oue Skyspace is an observation deck located in Los Angeles, CA. Visitors can take in panoramic views of the city from the deck, and if you're brave enough, you can slide down the Oue Sky Space.

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18. Day Trip to Catalina Island

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Catalina Island is a small island located off the coast of Los Angeles. The island is home to a variety of activities, including snorkeling, hiking, and biking. There are also several restaurants and shops on the island.

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19. Carson Mansion

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The Carson Mansion is a historic home located in Eureka, California. The mansion was built in the late 19th century and is now open to the public for tours.

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20. Go to A Music Festival

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California is home to a variety of music festivals, including Coachella and Stagecoach. These festivals attract some of the biggest names in the music industry and are a great way to experience California's vibrant culture.

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21. Joshua Tree National Park

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Joshua Tree National Park is located in Southern California. The park is named for the Joshua trees that are found throughout the park. The park also offers hiking, camping, and rock climbing opportunities.

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22. Take a Trip to Palm Springs

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Palm Springs is a desert oasis located in Southern California. The city is known for its luxury resorts, golf courses, and spas. Palm Springs is also a popular destination for celebrities.

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23. Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium

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The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a world-renowned aquarium located in Monterey, California. The aquarium is home to a variety of marine life, including sharks, dolphins, and whales.

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24. Visit Yosemite National Park

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Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the United States. The park is located in Central California and features a variety of landscapes, including waterfalls, mountains, and forests.

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25. Visit the Golden Gate Bridge

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The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in the United States. The bridge spans the Golden Gate strait and connects San Francisco to Marin County.

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26. Visit Solvang

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Solvang is a Danish-themed town located in the Santa Ynez Valley. The town is home to a variety of shops and restaurants, as well as the Solvang Theater Festival.

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27. Visit the Santa Cruz Boardwalk

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The Santa Cruz Boardwalk is a historic amusement park located in Santa Cruz, California. The park is home to a variety of rides, including the Giant Dipper roller coaster.

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28. Visit Big Sur

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Big Sur is a beautiful stretch of coastline located in Central California. The area is known for its dramatic cliffs, crashing waves, and lush vegetation.

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29. Visit the Hollywood Sign

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The Hollywood Sign is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. The sign is located on Mount Lee in Los Angeles, CA.

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30. Take a Hike Through Redwood National Park

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Redwood National Park is located in Northern California and is home to the tallest trees in the world. The park offers several hiking trails that wind through the towering redwoods.

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31. Visit Lake Tahoe

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Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake located on the border of California and Nevada. The lake is known for its clear blue waters and scenic views. There are also several ski resorts in the area.

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32. Visit the San Diego Zoo

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The San Diego Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the world. The zoo is home to a variety of animals, including lions, tigers, and elephants.

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33. La Jolla Cove

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La Jolla Cove is a small beach located in La Jolla, California. The cove is known for its clear waters and picturesque views.

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34. Go Wine Tasting in Napa Valley

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Napa Valley is one of the most popular wine regions in the world. The region is home to hundreds of wineries that offer tastings and tours.

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35. Visit Alcatraz Island

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Alcatraz Island is a small island located in San Francisco Bay. The island is home to the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. Today, the island is a popular tourist destination.

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36. Tour the Bristlecone Pine Forest

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The Bristlecone Pine Forest is home to the oldest trees in the world. The forest is located in the White Mountains of California.

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37. Take a Bicycle Ride from Venice Beach to Santa Monica

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Venice Beach is a popular beach destination in Los Angeles. The beach is known for its Muscle Beach, boardwalk, and canals. Santa Monica is another popular beach destination located just north of Venice Beach.

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38. Visit the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

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The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is one of the largest museums of modern art in the world. The museum features a variety of contemporary art, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs.

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39. Visit the California Academy of Sciences

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The California Academy of Sciences is a natural history museum located in San Francisco. The museum is home to a variety of exhibits, including an aquarium, planetarium, and rainforest.

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40. Visit Pismo Beach

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Pismo Beach is a popular beach destination located on the Central Coast of California. The beach is known for its tide pools, dunes, and surfing.

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41. Explore the Anza Borrego Desert

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The Anza Borego Desert is a large desert area located in Southern California. The desert is home to a variety of plants and animals, as well as several Ghost Towns. There are also beautiful metal sculptures set into the sand. There are a total od 130 sculptures to find, including dinosaurs, saber tooth tigers, and serpents.

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42. Visit Glass Beach

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Glass Beach is a beach located in Northern California. The beach is made up of small pieces of glass that have been smoothed by the ocean.

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43. Visit Mono Lake's Tufas

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Tufas are large rock formations that can be found in Mono Lake, California. The lake is located in the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains.

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44. Visit the Hollywood Wax Museum

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The Hollywood Wax Museum is a museum located in Hollywood, California. The museum is home to a variety of wax figures, including celebrities and historical figures.

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45. Visit Salvation Mountain

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Salvation Mountain is a man-made mountain located in the Mojave Desert. The mountain is made entirely of adobe and straw, and is covered in colorful paintings.

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46. Visit Badwater Basin-The Lowest Point in the U.S.A.

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Badwater Basin is a large salt flat located in Death Valley National Park. The basin is the lowest point in the United States, and is also one of the hottest places on Earth.

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47. Visit the USS Midway Museum

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The USS Midway Museum is a museum located in San Diego, California. The museum is home to the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier that served during World War II and the Korean War.

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48. Visit the mission San Juan Capistrano

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The Mission San Juan Capistrano is a historic mission located in Orange County, California. The mission was founded in the 18th century and is now open to the public for tours.

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49. Take a Bike Ride Through Golden Gate Park

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Golden Gate Park is a large park located in San Francisco. The park is home to a variety of attractions, including museums, gardens, and lakes.

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50. Hollywood Walk of Fame

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The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a sidewalk located in Hollywood, California. The sidewalk is lined with stars that have been dedicated to celebrities.

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Final Thoughts

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There are a variety of things to do in California, no matter what your interests are. From visiting museums and taking bike rides, to exploring the desert and visiting the beach, there is something for everyone. So get out there and start exploring!

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Claire started Femme on FIRE after struggling with the debt cycle and realizing that she had to create better habits to get out of it. She became inspired along this journey and now strives to help others achieve financial freedom as well. When she isn’t working on her blog, you can find her on the couch with a good book, cooking up recipes in the kitchen, or playing outside with her ducks.