25 famous Landmarks in California you shouldn’t miss

California is globally famous for Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and the wine country. Naturally, it is one of the best destinations in the United States. It’s full of wonderful things to do, it has lovely attractions, beaches, and some of the most iconic landmarks in America.

In this article, we will explore the most famous landmarks in California, either natural or human-made. We will discuss the Hollywood sign, the Golden Gate Bridge, Death Valley, Yosemite Falls, and more. They are some of the places you can’t miss in California.

We invited a few fellow bloggers to contribute to some of the most famous Californian landmarks to produce the best information possible.

Famous Landmarks In California – Los Angeles

Hollywood Sign

By Alina from World of Lina

One of the most famous landmarks in California is undoubtedly the Hollywood Sign overlooking the neighborhood of Hollywood in the world-renowned city of Los Angeles.

The sign consisting of nine white letters was initially created as an advertisement for a local real estate agency in 1923. Over the years, it got more and more recognition, so people eventually decided just to leave it up. Today, the sign often appears in establishing shots for movies and series set in and around Hollywood.

It can be seen from many points across LA, however, the best thing to do is climb up to the top of the sign for a stunning view of the city. You can do that by taking the trail starting at the Bronson Canyon entrance to Griffith Park or doing the Griffith Observatory hike.

It’s recommended to start early or later in the evening to avoid tourist crowds and/or the heat.

It’s not the easiest hike, but being on top of this Californian landmark guarantees you a real once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Famous landmarks in California
Hollywood sign, one of the most iconic Landmarks in California | photo from World of Lina

Griffith Observatory

By Alicia Richards from Travels With The Crew

Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles was opened to the public in 1935. This observatory sits atop Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park. It was the brainchild of Griffith J. Griffith. He had visited the Mt. Wilson Observatory and been so overwhelmed he determined that there must be an observatory in Los Angeles.

The Observatory has three main exhibits: Foucault’s Pendulum, a massive moon model, and a huge refracting telescope. Live shows are also offered here every day in the state-of-the-art planetarium.

The observatory is open to the public seven days a week and is the most visited Observatory in the United States.

Griffith Park Observatory is important because it shows our astronomy and space exploration progression. The observatory houses many essential discoveries and data collected over the years. The tower is an icon for the City of Los Angeles; it can be seen from almost anywhere in Los Angeles because it stands at an impressive 110 meters high from ground level!

It is also the site of many famous Hollywood movies, including Rebel Without a Cause, La La Land, The Terminator, and many others.

The easiest way to get to Griffith Park Observatory is by car. There is plenty of parking during the day, but much busier at night when people come to see the twinkling lights of Los Angeles.

If you are visiting Los Angeles, this is a must-see on every list!

Griffith Observatory California 25 famous Landmarks in California you shouldn't miss
Griffith Observatory cool landmark in California | photo by Hackman via Depositphotos

Getty Museum

By Victoria from Guide Your Travel

The Getty Museum is unquestionably one of California‘s most magnificent structures and landmarks. It’s much more than an art museum and should be at the top of your list if you’re in the Los Angeles area. This is a private museum with a fantastic collection of art.

When you arrive, you cannot walk up to the museum and must park at a car park before boarding a tram up to the property. The views are breathtaking, and the museum is enormous, so there is plenty to see and do. Take your time and plan to stay the entire day if you don’t want to miss anything.

The museum is free to enter, but parking is $15 per car, a fairly acceptable price. Throughout the week, the Getty provides a variety of workshops to choose from. This covers training in painting, sketching, and even photography. You should sign up for one if you can visit during this time.

The Getty Museum is a one-of-a-kind place, and just one visit is not enough to try to see everything. You can keep returning and always discover something new.

Getty Museum California Landmarks USA DP 25 famous Landmarks in California you shouldn't miss
The Getty Museum in California | photo by wolterke via Depositphotos

Disneyland Park

By Nicole Hunter from Go Far Grow Close

Disneyland Park is a theme park in Anaheim, California, opened in 1955 by Walter Disney. It was originally built on 160 acres of orange groves. It features characters, rides, and shows based on the original creations of Walt Disney and the Disney Company.

Disneyland hosts over 18 million visitors annually, spending around $3 billion. There isn’t any public transportation that easily takes you from Los Angeles International Airport to Disneyland. Instead, most people either rent a car, take an uber or share a paid shuttle to Disneyland or one of the dozens of hotels nearby that service it. It is only 30 miles from the airport.

Disneyland is made up of fantastic buildings and elaborate and magical rides that constantly change or defy description. However, it’s central and most iconic building, the Sleeping Beauty Castle, is modeled on Germany‘s Neuschwanstein Castle.

Today, it is an unmistakable symbol of American popular culture. Disneyland welcomes people of all ages. It has rides, shows, and parades suitable for people who love exhilarating experiences and others who are young or more cautious.

most known landmark of California
Parade in Disneyland Park, one of the best-known landmarks of California | photo from Go Far Grow Close

TCL Chinese Theatre

By Hannah Ackroyd from Get Lost Travel Blog

TCL Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard is a Los Angeles icon. First opened in 1927, this beautiful movie theatre is home to the glitz and glam of Hollywood’s most iconic movie premiers. A visit to TCL Chinese Theatre should absolutely be on your ideal L. A. itinerary.

Sid Grauman commissioned the Chinese theatre following the success of his nearby Egyptian theatre. Both theatres were built in the exotic revival style, taking inspiration from Egyptian, Indian, Moorish, and Middle Eastern styles.

When it opened on 18th May 1927, thousands lined Hollywood Boulevard to glimpse the stars at what would become known as the most spectacular theatre opening in motion picture history.

Today, you can visit the theatre to catch the latest blockbuster hit or take a behind-the-scenes tour to get an insider peek at this incredible building. The forecourt of TCL Chinese Theatre is also a popular tourist spot that you can visit for free.

The ‘Forecourt of the Stars’ is famous for the hand imprints left by celebrities on the concrete. You can track down your favorite stars and try their hands on for size.

Famous California Landmarks You Shouldn't Miss
Forecourt of the Stars in the TCL Chinese Theatre, one of the most famous Californian Landmarks in LA | photo from Get Lost Travel Blog

Santa Monica Pier

By Ruma Dey Baidya from The Holiday Story

In sunny California, Santa Monica Pier is a fascinating spot attracting tourists of all kinds. The pier is on Santa Monica State Beach in Santa Monica, California. It’s historically known to be the first pier of concrete on the West Coast of the United States.

Public transportation options are available for Santa Monica Pier. Take Route 3 or Rapid 3 of the Big Blue bus from Los Angeles to reach here. There are also bike trails like the Strand. These trails offer beautiful beach sceneries for the majority of the way.

Construction for the pier finished in 1909. It opened up as a popular fishing spot and is still famed for that. Heal the Bay Aquarium was built to satisfy fishery enthusiasts. The main attraction of the pier is the 55 feet high Ferris wheel of Pacific Park. It’s a well-known amusement park that houses the world’s only solar-powered Ferris wheel. Pacific Park is also the only amusement park on the West Coast.

People come here for a short trip with family and friends. Exciting rides, games, and delicious foods entertain the visitors throughout their tour.

Famous Landmarks In California – Los Angeles
Santa Monica Pier, California | photo from The Holiday Story

California Landmarks – San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge

By Mark and Kristen Morgan from Where Are Those Morgans?

San Francisco’s extraordinary art deco-style Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous landmarks in California, the US, and even the world.

Joseph Strauss designed the instantly recognizable ‘international orange’ colored suspension bridge in 1917. Beginning in 1933, construction took just four years before it was unveiled in 1937 as the world’s tallest and longest suspension bridge at 746 ft high and 4,200 ft at its longest span.

However, the bridge’s total length is 1.7 miles, and there are a handful of iconic photography vantage points on both the San Francisco and Marin County sides.

Walk or drive to Battery East and Marshall’s Beach on the Southside or Golden Gate Vista and Battery Spencer on the Northside for magnificent views over a real feat of engineering.

Labeled by some as a wonder of the modern world, the symbolic and visually stunning Golden Gate Bridge welcomes more than 10 million awe-struck visitors annually.

The bridge also played a vast and historically significant role in boosting the local economy by providing jobs during America’s Great Depression period.

Sunrise is the best time to visit the classic bridge shrouded in mist image, but its majesty can be appreciated any time of the day. 

A visit to the Golden Gate Bridge is one thing that simply cannot be missed on any San Francisco itinerary.

California Landmarks – San Francisco
An iconic landmark of California – the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco | photo from Where Are Those Morgans?


By Agnes from The Van Escape

Alcatraz Island, located in San Francisco Bay, just 1.25 miles (2.01 km) offshore from San Francisco, California, was a home for the high-security prison – Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. The prison existed from 1934 to 1963. What’s more, Alcatraz was America’s premier maximum-security prison, the final stop for the nation’s most dangerous prisoners.

But today, Alcatraz is one of San Francisco’s most prominent landmarks and tourist attractions, which must be seen when visiting California. It’s possible by taking an Alcatraz tour by ferry from Pier 33 in San Francisco.

The Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, also called The Rock, originally was the site of a fort since the 1850s. The main prison building was built in 1910–1912 as a United States Army military prison. The island became a prison of the Federal Bureau of Prisons in August 1934 after modernization and security increased.

Moreover, due to high security and the island’s location in the cold waters and strong currents of San Francisco Bay, prison operators believed Alcatraz to be escape-proof and America’s strongest prison.

Among its famous denizens were Al “Scarface” Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and Robert Stroud, the “Birdman of Alcatraz.” During the Alcatraz tour, you will see the cells of some of them. There were 14 known attempts to escape from Alcatraz, involving 36 inmates.

The most famous took place from May 2 to May 4, 1946. It was called the “Battle of Alcatraz.” This famous attempt to escape was popularized in the Clint Eastwood movie Escape from Alcatraz in 1979. The Alcatraz penitentiary was shut down in 1963 because its operating expenses were too high. Through the years, Alcatraz housed a total of 1,576 men.

Historic landmarks in California
Alcatraz Island, in the bay of San Francisco | photo from The Van Escape

Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco

By Allison from California Crossroads

The Palace of Fine Arts is another famous landmark in San Francisco, California, United States. Not truly a palace at all, this California landmark was originally built for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915, not long after the 1906 earthquake that devastated the city.

It is the only building from the 1915 Exposition to remain. The Palace of Fine Arts was considered too beautiful to be destroyed, even though it was only intended to be a temporary building. It was renovated extensively in 1965 to be in its current iteration. It has now been turned into a public park as well as an events space. It is now a must-visit on any San Francisco itinerary.

It was built by architect William Gladstone Merchant in the Beaux-Arts style, in the style of a Roman ruin. The structure consists of a colonnade around a central rotunda with a large domed roof. There is a large lagoon on one side, which reflects the Palace beautifully at night.

The Palace of Fine Arts is located in the Marina district of San Francisco, close to the eastern edge of the Presidio. To get there, driving is the easiest. There is a good amount of street parking in the area (do not leave your valuables in the car — signs around the Palace of Fine Arts warn against it as there have been break-ins!). 

well known landmark of California
Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco – California Landmarks | photo from California Crossroads

Californian Landmarks – Others

Big Sur

By Charles McCool from McCool Travel

The 80 miles of rugged and dramatic scenery of California route 1, Pacific Coast Highway, along Big Sur is one of the most famous road trips in the world, US coastal scenic drives, and one of California’s top landmarks. Countless movies, television shows, commercials, and music videos have been filmed along the Big Sur coastline, but anyone can explore Big Sur and experience its natural beauty.

Entering Big Sur from the north is recommended so that you are on the ocean side of the road. Big Sur is most commonly said to begin at Malpaso Creek in Carmel Highlands, about 14 miles past Monterey, and ends at San Simeon in the south. Recommended stops include Bixby Bridge, McWay Falls, Hearst Castle, Nepenthe, Rocky Point, and as many overlooks as you have time and patience to savor. 

The iconic Bixby Bridge is one of the most photographed spots in California and the world. Make sure to take time to visit the gorgeous McWay Falls. Hearst Castle is another California Historical Landmark (and National Historic Landmark) and is well worth devoting time to a tour. The classic movie Citizen Kane was based on the lavish lifestyle at Hearst Castle in the 1930s. But let’s explore more about Hearst Castle.

Must go landmarks in California
Pacific Coast Highway, Big Sur | photo from from McCool Travel

Hearst Castle, San Luis Obispo

By Tatiana from Family Road Trip Guru

Hearst Castle is one of California’s biggest and most beautiful castles and the entire USA. It was built between 1919 and 1947 by the famous architect Julia Morgan for the wealthy industrialist William Randolph Hearst in San Simeon, California overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It is the top attraction in San Luis Obispo County.

It was built in Spanish Colonial style, and it has 60 rooms and as many bathrooms. Mr. Hearst was an avid art collector, so nowadays, Hearst Castle is an amazing indoor and outdoor art museum; it even has ancient Egyptian artifacts!

In its “golden years,” many famous Hollywood people stayed at the Castle, for instance, Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, and Clark Gable, just to name a few. Hearst Castle is famous for its beautiful gardens, fountains, and amazing pools that look like pieces of art themselves with Roman sculptures and genuine 24K gold leaf décor. Its currently estimated value is $700,000,000.

Currently, Hearst Castle is part of the California State Parks system. You can only get there by car from Pacific Coast Highway 1. To get into the Castle and the surrounding territory, you must book one available guided tour; you cannot just wander in. This place is a must-see landmark in California.

Iconic landmarks in California
Hearst Castle in San Luis Obispo | photo from Family Road Trip Guru

USS Midway, San Diego

By Lisa from Planning away

The USS Midway is another landmark in California that can’t be missed. Located in the Marina District of San Diego, this historic naval aircraft carrier is an impressive sight. It was the longest-serving aircraft carrier in the 20th century.

USS Midway is about 12 minutes from downtown San Diego or about 45 minutes from the San Diego Airport. 

The USS Midway is a museum. If you love airplanes, head to the hanger deck and check out the historical models. You can also climb aboard and sit in the cockpit of many of the planes. The flight deck also has 26 restored aircraft carriers from 1942.

The USS Midway was built in 1945 and decommissioned in 1992. It became a museum in 2003. It has many levels. Below the deck, you can see how day-to-day living would be on the ship. There is also a theater that gives a great history of the ship. Learning all about naval life and what missions the ship ventured on is an exciting and worthwhile experience.

The USS Midway is a California landmark worth seeing! 

Especial landmark in California
USS Midway, a landmark in California | photo from Planning away

Balboa Park, San Diego

By Dhara from It’s Not About the Miles

Exploring Balboa Park is one of the top things to do in San Diego! Located in the heart of the southern California city, Balboa Park is an extensive complex of gardens and museums. It also borders the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

While the space was set aside all the way back in 1835, many buildings were added for the Panama-California Expo of 1915-16 and the California Pacific International Expo of 1935-36. Today it is a joy to wander the complex, admiring the beautiful architecture showcasing multiple styles.

The Botanical Building in the complex was the largest lathe structure in the world when it was built. The complex also has a lovely rose garden and succulent garden. The Japanese Garden, the only one requiring a fee, is a two-level garden with beautiful bridges and sculptures. And the Alcazar Garden is modeled after the one in Seville, with beautiful tile work.

The complex has several museums, so you can pick the ones that interest you. From art to natural history and science, the museums hold impressive collections. The model railroad museum is especially enthralling when visiting San Diego with kids.

Balboa Park has lots of parking if you arrive by car, but you can also access it via public transport. The sprawling complex takes a lot of time to explore, so plan ahead!

Landmarks in California not to miss
The museum of art in the Balboa Park | photo from It’s Not About the Miles

Natural Landmarks In California

Lake Tahoe

By Trijit Mallick from BudgetTravelBuff

Lake Tahoe is a year-round destination in the Sierra Nevada mountain, sharing the border with both states of California and Nevada. Whether you visit this iconic California landmark in winter or summer, Lake Tahoe won’t disappoint you by offering countless tourist attractions, ski resorts, and outdoor activities.

Lake Tahoe is not all about the lake; you can also enjoy the forests and mountains, hiking and biking trails, small towns, and numerous adventure activities the area offers. Besides these, there are a few pristine beaches to swim in the blue turquoise water or sunbathe with your family or friends.

If you are an adventure seeker, go snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, boating, or jet skiing. Fishing is also popular summer activity in Lake Tahoe. It is a premier ski destination in California. Many winter travelers come to Lake Tahoe to enjoy skiing, sledding, and snowboarding around the Lake Tahoe area. You will find plenty of scenic hiking trails in Lake Tahoe

Alternatively, you can rent a bike from the nearby bike rental shops, explore the biking trails and enjoy the scenic views. If you feel hungry, stop at Evan’s American Gourmet Cafe, one of the best restaurants in South Lake Tahoe.

They offer top-notch service, a fantastic ambiance, and great food at a very reasonable price. Their Butter Lettuce Salad and Goat Cheese Hummus Spread are highly recommended.

Lake Tahoe is an American Natural Wonder shared between Nevada and California. You can explore other famous Nevada Landmarks here.

Natural Landmarks In California
Natural Landmarks In California: Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada mountain | photo from BudgetTravelBuff

Joshua Tree National Park

By Riley from The Parks Expert

Joshua Tree National Park, located in southern California, is a natural wonder like no other. Visitors are surrounded by scraggly Joshua Trees (which are actually not trees at all) and towering granite boulders.

This iconic national park is becoming one of the most popular national parks in the US. It’s also one of the best locations for outdoor recreation near Los Angeles. I recommend flying in/out of Los Angeles to get to Joshua Tree. Then, take Interstate 10 east to enter the park.

Once you’re there, popular things to do in Joshua Tree include hiking, bouldering, and taking scenic drives. One of my favorite drives is the Geology Tour Road, which requires a high-clearance vehicle. Some of the famous rock formations are a short hike from the road, including Skull Rock.

There are also historic structures to take a look at and scenic overlooks to visit. Besides Joshua trees, there are many other cool plants and animals to see, such as cholla cacti and tortoises.

For beginners, plenty of local companies offer guided rock climbing expeditions. If that’s not something you’re interested in, there is plenty more to keep you occupied as you marvel at the beautiful park.

Landmarks in California
Joshua Tree National Park | photo from The Parks Expert

Alabama Hills

By Daria Bachmann The Discovery Nut 

Located in California’s Eastern Sierra Nevada, Alabama Hills is a perfect place off the beaten track in one of the most scenic regions of the Golden State. 

Whether you want to camp at Alabama Hills or spend a few hours hiking and taking photos, you will be blown away by this place. Here, you will see the quirky desert rock formations and sunburned hills against the backdrop of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains.

If you look closely, you will also spot Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the Continental United States, towering at 14,505 feet. 

And if you want to see the clear dark skies, stick around until after the sunset. The area has virtually no light pollution, and you can even see the Milky Way when the sky is clear from the clouds! 

Alabama Hills is located near Lone Pine, a small town that is considered a gateway to adventure. However, it’s not only Lone Pine, but the entire region also has incredible scenery and tons of opportunities for hiking, camping, and mountain biking. 

For example, Bishop a historic town that is a true outdoor playground. Visitors can hike the scenic Little Lakes Valley Trail or Bishop Pass Trail, explore the Laws Railroad Museum and spend a night at North Lake Campground before hitting the road the next day. 

Alabama Hills has become a popular destination for the film industry thanks to its iconic scenery and has been featured in many movies over the years. Still, it offers a quiet respite from other much busier places in the Southwest. Within a few hours of driving from some of California‘s most popular national parks, like Death Valley and Yosemite. 

Natural landmarks of California
Camping in Alabama Hills | photo from The Discovery Nut

Avenue of the Giants

By Katy Shaw from A Rambling Unicorn

Take a trip through time with a scenic drive along the majestic Avenue of the Giants. Located in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, the Avenue of the Giants is home to some of the world’s largest populations of coastal redwood trees.

Stretching for 31 miles along a byway paralleling Highway 101, the Avenue of the Giants auto tour is a great introduction to the park and these magnificent trees.

Designated as the state of California’s official tree in 1937, redwoods are among the largest and oldest trees on the planet. Coastal redwood trees (also known as Sequoia sempervirens) often grow to over 300 feet (91 meters) in height. Trees in a mature redwood forest typically range between 500 to 1000 years, with some over 2000 years old.

The southern entrance to the Avenue of the Giants is one hour south of Eureka on State Route 254. When driven from south to north, the trip begins near the town of Garberville at Highway 101 Exit #645 and ends just south of Rio Dell. An official brochure is available with stops at points of interest along the route, including Mahan Grove and the park’s visitor center.

Landmarks in Claifornia
Avenue of the Giants has the world’s largest population of coastal redwood trees. | photo from A Rambling Unicorn

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

By Candice from CS Ginger

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is a coastal area off the coast of California. It is about two hours south of San Francisco and minutes from Big Sur. The closest regional airport to Point Lobos is Monterey Regional Airport. The closest major airport is in San Jose, which is about an hour away.

Point Lobos was inhabited about 2,500 years ago by the Rumsien Indians. Since 1851, Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese, and Americans have lived in Point Lobos. It was a popular place for whaling for the 50-60 people who lived in the community. It was also a military site during World War II.

In the 1890s, steps started turning Point Lobos into the reserve it is today. By the mid-1920s, groups were working actively to save the Monterey cypress that is throughout Point Lobos. In 1933, California purchased 348 acres.

Point Lobos is a beautiful area to visit, with great hiking trails, beaches, and opportunities to see wildlife. Hiking in Point Lobos is a great way to enjoy the beautiful coastal views and explore the area. There is one long trail that is about five miles that will take you around the reserve, or you can hike some of the shorter trails like the Bird Island Trail.

There is not much parking in the reserve, so it is important to get there early in the day. You can also visit later in the day after the morning visitors have left for the day. You can also park along Highway 1, but there is a bit of a walk into the reserve highlights. There is a $10 parking charge.

California natural landmarks
Coastal view of Point Lobos State Natural Reserve | photo from CS Ginger

Yosemite Falls

By Roxanna Keyes from Gypsy With a Day Job

Yosemite Falls are located in the midst of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in the park they were named for, Yosemite National Park. Yosemite can be reached by California Highways 120, 140, or 41. Once in the park, the falls are found well into the valley, near the village.  

Yosemite Falls are one of the most noteworthy natural landmarks in California and the entire United States. Composed of three tiers that plunge over 739 meters, it is the tallest waterfall on the North American continent. But not only are the falls statistically noteworthy, but they also portray an essence of magic and playfulness that draws visitors from around the world.

The Yosemite Falls waters flow gracefully down the first tier, dancing and curving in the wind, gleaming in the sun, only to disappear. This hidden middle tier, cascading through a narrow gorge, only adds to the mystery. Then the waters reemerge more forcefully, in a third-tier that races to the ground, spreading mist on anyone near.

Being ephemeral, the falls often dry up in late summer, leaving the park with the echo of their absence.

Reccomend landmarks in California
Yosemite Falls in the Yosemite National Park | photo from Gypsy With a Day Job

Half Dome in Yosemite

By Olivia from the Girl With Blue Sails travel blog 

The most iconic mountain in Yosemite National Park is Half Dome. Centrally located in Yosemite Valley, it can be seen from all over the park, inside the valley, and outside as well. It is prominently featured in Yosemite’s famous Tunnel View and is the outline of the national park’s logo. The mountain’s round sides and sheer cliff face make it appear to be half of a dome. 

One of the most famous California Landmarks, Half Dome, draws visitors worldwide to photograph it in every light. The sunsets beautifully on the mountain, leaving its iconic face lit up well into the evening after the valley has become dark. Unique views of Half Dome can be found at Mirror Lake, Glacier Point, and Olmstead Point.  

Hiking to the top of Half Dome is one of the most sought-after things to do in Yosemite Valley and is a strenuous hike on which 50,000 hikers embark annually. It’s a 16.3-mile trek that takes most visitors 10-12 hours. The effort of the climb is worth it, however, when reaching the summit rewards hikers with a stunning view of the valley below. 

California Natural landmark
Half Dome in Yosemite in Yosemite National Park, California Natural landmarks | photo the Girl With Blue Sails travel blog 

Sequoia National Park

By Janelle Axton from Make the Trip Matter

Sequoia National Park is a California landmark for various reasons, but the main one is that it’s home to some of the biggest trees growing worldwide. In fact, the largest tree on Earth by volume is the General Sherman Tree growing in Sequoia’s Giant Forest. Plus, five of the ten largest trees in the world grow in this forest.

The giant, red bark sequoia trees make for one of the world’s most magnificent and unbelievable forests. It’s best to visit the National Park during the summer (June-August) when the weather is warmest. Or, if you prefer the snow and want fewer crowds, it’s also beautiful in the winter.

Sequoia National Park offers camping, hiking, drives, viewpoints, or even a dip in the river when it’s hot. Sequoia Lake is also great for swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, and exploring the incredible wilderness.

An excellent Junior Ranger program offered for the kids will teach them how the Sequoia trees grow over their many years and the wildlife they can expect to find in the forest while earning awards for completing tasks and challenges.

Located in inland central California, Sequoia National Park is about a 4-hour drive from Los Angeles and 5.5-hours from San Francisco. Remember that mountain roads are narrow and winding, and there are no gas stations within the park, only in nearby national forests.

Natural Landmarks in California
Sequoia National Park – Natural landmarks in California | photo from Make the Trip Matter

Zabriskie Point, Death Valley National Park

By Jessica Schmit from uprooted Traveler

Zabriskie Point, located in the east part of Death Valley National Park, is a stunning rock formation towering over nearby striated badlands. The sediment creating the unusual-looking point is over 5 million years old – far older than Death Valley itself.

Perhaps because of its unique appearance, the formation has been featured prominently in pop culture throughout the ages – from appearing on the cover of U2’s Joshua Tree album to being used as a shooting location for various pieces, from Spartacus to The Mandalorian.

If you want to see Zabriskie Point for yourself, you can either enter the park from the east or west side and take CA-190 to the Furnace Creek area of Death Valley. This area is home to many of the most popular attractions in Death Valley (one of the most underrated U.S. National Parks), including Bad Water Basin, Artist’s Palette, and Zabriskie Point.

Parking can be challenging here, given the site’s popularity and small lot. Once your parking spot is secured, you’ll walk up a 0.25-mile paved uphill trail to an overlook to gaze at the point in all of its glory. If you want to see it at its most spectacular, visit for sunrise – the colors amongst the neighboring badland hills are absolutely stunning.  

Must visit landmarks in California
Zabriskie Point, Death Valley National Park | photo from uprooted Traveler


By Jyoti from Story at Every Corner

Pinnacles National Park is located in Northern California, within an hour or two from the San Francisco Bay Area, depending on your location and time of travel. Pinnacles received its national park stature in 2013.

Prior to that, it was a national monument. Clearly, it deserves to be a national park with grand pinnacle formations, unique landscapes, and numerous incredible hikes. You should visit Pinnacles National Park for photography, hikes, bird watching, and see unique pinnacle formations. 

Pinnacles is an easy day trip from the Bay Area, but it also offers camping opportunities if you can find a reservation. Like most campsites around the Bay Area, it tends to fill up, but it’s still more accessible than other parks. 

The best times to visit Pinnacles are in spring and fall. Because of its geography, it tends to get too hot in summer and too cold in winter. Spring is a favorite because of the lovely weather and beautiful wildflowers. 

Cool California landmarks
Pinnacles National Park | photo from Story at Every Corner

Point Reyes National Seashore

By Noel Morata from This Hawaii Life

One of the most beautiful and unspoiled parts of Northern California to visit and spend a day outdoors in nature is Point Reyes National Seashore. It’s a gorgeous expanse of the seashore with natural dunes, forest chaparral, estuaries, and majestic cliffs. This natural wonderland is so beautiful and well-preserved for all to enjoy.

Start off by checking out the visitors center to see the wonderful displays, talk to the rangers and see what areas sound interesting for a road trip or hike around the park. Even with over 2.4 million visitors yearly to the park, there is plenty of room to explore and be with nature here. Still, you have to plan accordingly with changing weather conditions, closures, and minor roads to navigate through.

There’s so much to explore here if you love the outdoors, from the colorful tidepools, forested areas with majestic coastal redwoods and firs, dramatic cliffs and sandy dunes, jagged coastlines with a cool lighthouse to hike and explore at the tip of the park.

There are even wild bobcats, coyotes, tule elk and deer, turkey vultures, blue herons, and a host of other bird species that nest in the park. The wildlife is abundant, with various land and marine life that you may see on hikes or driving through the area.

Point Reyes is old California, a natural wonderland worth visiting and a truly memorable part of Northern California worth visiting.

California landmarks
Point Reyes National Seashore | photo from This Hawaii Life

Devils Postpile

By Dhara from Roadtripping California

California is home to several national monuments, and Devils Postpile National Monument in the Eastern Sierra is a must-visit for its natural wonders. The monument protects a volcanic rock formation and a magnificent waterfall.

Formed by volcanic forces ages ago, the Devil’s Postpile formation is an impressive mass of hexagonal columns that look like a work of art. Although many of the columns have collapsed or cracked, you will still see many standing erect. You can even take a short trail to view the tops of the columns.

Another hike in the park leads to beautiful Rainbow Falls. The flow is most powerful in the early summer, but the waterfall continues to look good into the fall.

Other than the main attractions, the monument includes the surrounding scenery, with mountains and the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River. Hiking, fishing, and picnicking are popular in the park. You may also see wildlife and birds.

The monument is only open in summer and early fall. For much of the time, when it is open, you need to take a shuttle from the town of Mammoth Lakes to the monument during the day. You can drive to the park outside shuttle operation hours or days.

Devils Postpile California 25 famous Landmarks in California you shouldn't miss
Devils Postpile – hexagonal columns, Natural landmarks in California | photo from Roadtripping California

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25 Famous Landmarks In California You Shouldn't Miss

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