California, the third largest state in the U.S.A., boasts of countless
destinations that will surely cater to any traveler’s discriminative taste. There are numerous theme parks,
national parks, historical sites, and natural wonders that span the state’s entirety. It is a state that can be
summed up in one word – Diverse. Diversity can be manifested in the people, tourist spots, climate, and
The people in California are a happy mixture of different ethnic backgrounds.
Aside from your typical White Americans, there are the African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics and Asians. A
community of citizens with the same ethnic background is not difficult to find. This uncanny mixture of varying
cultures makes travel to California as colorful and as memorable as can be.
Disneyland's Main Street, U.S.A
Tourist spots abound the state. Numerous theme parks like Disneyland, Lego Land,
Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags, and Magic Mountain are famous the world over. For those who want to commune with
nature, there is always the national parks such as Yosemite. A journey through the state’s major cities would
unveil modernity at its finest, but one could always take a trip to historic places like the Old Town of San Diego
where rustic houses makes you feel like time stopped in the 19th century. For a touch of glitz and glamour, there
is always Hollywood. Here, one could leisurely stroll down the walk of fame, visit the movie studios, see the
celebrity’s homes, or even witness a movie being made. A visit to Hollywood could definitely make travel to
Hollywood Boulevard from the top of the Kodak Theatre looking in the direction of
downtown. Photo by David Iliff. License: CC-BY-SA 3.
Diversity could also be seen in the state’s climate. Of the five major types of
climate zones, four of these could be experienced in California, with only the hot and rainy tropical climate
missing. Mediterranean climate can be experienced along coastal California and parts of the interior valley. It is
characterized by relatively warm, dry summers and mild winters.
The California Central Valley from
20,000 feet. This is a south-facing view of the area north of Modesto, and east of Stockton and
Manteca. Photo by Coolcaesar.
Much of the San Joaquin Valley and the fringes of the Mojave Desert has a
Semi-arid or Steppe climate. Here, rainfall is less and temperatures are warmer compared to that of the
Mediterranean zone. A milder and somewhat cooler version exists along the narrow coastal strip from Los Angeles to
San Diego. A somewhat unforgiving type is the Desert climate, which could be experienced in the southeastern part
of the state, east of the Sierra Nevada and the Peninsular Ranges, and in the southwestern part of the San Joaquin
Valley. Blocked by the mountain ranges from the moisture-laden Pacific storms, this region receives very little
precipitation. This region accounts for the hottest temperature anywhere in the state, averaging over 100 degrees
Fahrenheit in July. The highest temperature ever recorded in the United States occurred in Death Valley, reaching a
high of 134 degrees Fahrenheit on July 10, 1913. Finally, the Microthermal or Alpine climate is present in the
higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada, Modoc Plateau, and the Klamath Mountains. It is characterized by short,
cool summers, and vigorous winters. This region is the major source of California’s water supply.
Desolation at Badwater Salt Flats in Death Valey. Photo by
The topography of California is also a wonder on its own. The surface of the state
could go as low as 282 feet below sea level (Badwater in Death Valley, the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere)
to as high as 14,495 feet (Mount Whitney, the highest point in the U.S. outside Alaska). Mountains cover most of
the state’s surface 20% of which is covered by the Sierra Nevada, the longest mountain range in California. The
state is also a host to three deserts, the Mojave, Colorado, and Death Valley. These, plus 1,264 miles of coastal
area make California’s topography as diverse as it could be.
Sunday Morning in the Mines, 1872 Sierra Nevada of California, by Charles
Christian Nahl, a German-born painter who is called California's first significant artist.
With a state as diverse as California, one could always find things to do and
places to go. That is why California never fails to make it as one of the world’s premiere destination for travel