Top 10 Places To Visit in Southern California
Southern California is a dream vacation destination of mega-sized proportions providing just the perfect mix of natural wonders, thrilling attractions and urban hip lifestyle. Without a doubt, Los Angeles and San Diego top any list of places to visit in Southern California, however, there are so many more fantastic landmarks beyond these two. Granted Golden State’s popularity, it was challenging picking just top 10 places to visit in Southern California, so please forgive us if we have missed your favorite vacation spot.
Before you start packing, the best tip we can give you is go ahead and buy a Southern California City Pass online that entitles you to save approximately 25% off admissions to the Disneyland, San Diego Sea World and Universal Studios Hollywood.
Let’s look at what top places to visit in Southern California list we have come up with.
1. Los Angeles – There’s probably not a single person in the entire world who has not heard of the glitz and glamour, beaches and tourist attractions in Los Angeles. Some of them are just so big that they deserved a separate spot on our list. Highly sought after tourist destination with plethora of visual and sensory pleasures. LA is a melting pot of cultures and experience that is better observed at the Venice Boardwalk where the normalcy boundaries are challenged everyday by crowds of starving artists, aspiring actors and screenwriter wannabies. Great beaches, world famous theme parks like Disneyland, Universal Studios and Knott’s Berry Farm should definitely be explored over the course of your life.
2. Disneyland – One of the iconic and most recognizable landmarks all over the world, Disneyland is located in the city of Anaheim within 27 miles from downtown Los Angeles. It’s the only park (out of the two, another being Disney World in Orlando, Fl) which planning and construction was supervised by Walt Disney himself. Consisting of eight distinctly different “lands”, each visitor will be able to find something for his liking. Before you go, please plan ahead to save yourselves a boat load of time and money. Go off season right after school starts or mid May before crowds with kids arrive after school season year ends. Get yourselves a park map and buy tickets online. Using a Fast Pass is free and a must allowing you to reserve your line at certain rides and do whatever you please while you wait for the time of your ride.
3. Hollywood – Taking a picture against the backdrop of the Hollywood Sign is the highlight of any trip to Southern California. To elevate your experience to the greater levels you can book several tours to see where famous Hollywood stars reside and walk around the famous Hollywood Blvd that holds its best share of attractions including hand prints of celebrities, Madam Tussaud’s Museum and many others.
4. Universal Studios Hollywood – The quintessential South California attraction that stands on its own to inspire millions of movie lovers coming here annually to catch a glimpse of the behind the scenes movie making magic. Experience movie themed rollercoaster rides and 3D adventures, see famous movie sets in action or book a VIP studio tour for the ultimate movie going experience. Learn the tricks film directors use to introduce special effects to create unforgettable movie scenes. No matter if you are aged 2 or 92, if you will find age and temperament appropriate rides and attractions.
5. San Diego – The city that has no climate according to the locals with balmy temperatures in mid 70’s literally all year round. San Diego is extremely family friendly with great costal views and San Diego tourist attractions appropriate for all ages. San Diego Zoo and Sea World are definitely among the best places to visit in Southern California. Balboa Park sprawling across 1200 acre lot is chockfull of fantastic attractions and houses 14 distinctive museums like SD Air and Space Museum, Museum of Art, Natural History Museum and many others. In addition to museums, Balboa Park Gardens offers its visitors a series of incredible landscapes and lush gardens where visitors can see unique trees, bushes and plants from distant corners of the world like Japan, Australia and South America. But still the best tourist attractions in San Diego are definitely its beaches stretching along a 70 mile coastal line. Among the top beaches we can name La Jolla, Mission Bay, Pacific and Oceanside Beaches.
6. Malibu – Welcome to the pristine Californian paradise city adorned with miles of gorgeous Pacific beaches and affluent lifestyles. Zuma and Westward beaches are the top places to visit in Southern California for true beach buffs. Outdoor junkies will rejoice by a plethora of hiking, biking and jogging opportunities. Surfers from all over the world head over to the Malibu Lagoon and its annual contests held regularly. And, of course, you cannot miss catching a glimpse of your favorite movie stars at the annual Malibu Film Festival.
7. Death Valley National Park – It’s one of the hottest and barren places in the US, the place of incredible geological wonders and serene beauty. Visitors can choose among several ways to tour the National Park, either 4 wheel vehicles able to pass through desert terrain, mountain bikes and hiking on certain trails only. Besides camping, hiking and sightseeing, another popular pastimes is definitely stargazing because this area in the US has some of the darkest nights.
8. Sequoia National Park – Come and see unique sequoia trees, some of which are hundreds of years old. Among gorgeous scenery, hiking, camping and nature exploration you will find distinctive attractions scattered around the park like Tokopah Falls, Moro Rock and Giant Forest Museum.
9. Channel Islands National Park – Nearly perfect geographical location that combines close proximity to the shore but at the same time relative isolation created a unique ecosystem at these eight small islands off the coast of California. This isolation allowed for the development of 150 endemic species of plants and several animal inhabitants. Seal watching is tourists’ favorite past times along with snorkeling, diving and kayaking. Catalina Island is one of the most sought after vacation destination for those tourists escaping the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles to enjoy its beaches, tropical sunsets and great cuisine.
10. Santa Barbara – Picture perfect idyllic destination tucked away between the Pacific coast and Santa Ynez Mountains creating a perfect Mediterranean climate. It’s among California tourist attractions that you are craving to return to year after year. What’s not to love – sandy beaches where you can spend days swimming or kayaking to enjoy the magnificent coastal views. Midday head over to the pretty downtown area where you can grab a bite to eat and savor incredible architecture. It’s hard to find a better place to visit for a family than Santa Barbara Zoo that also have really nice gardens to admire besides animal species. Mission Santa Barbara Church attraction is well worth your time because you will see great historical Spanish style architecture and art.