Year-round sunny weather, attractive beaches and an abundance of family-friendly attractions build Southern California one of the foremost well-liked vacation destinations within the world. Encompassing the southern third of the Golden state, SoCal stretches west from the inland deserts and mountains to the temperate shores of the ocean. Several of region’s cities and communities have enough sights and activities to offer a travel destination in their own right, however it might be shame to go to the region without hitting the highlights.From its stunning beaches and national parks to its foremost cultural attractions and amusement parks, here are a number of the Best Places to Visit in Southern California.
Channel Islands National Park
The eight islands that lie off the coast of Southern California offer guests a wealth of island adventures. Five of the islands are uninhabited, preserved for the general public to enjoy as a part of the Channel Islands National Park. Half-day and full-day excursions to Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel and town are obtainable through many park-appointed boat concessionaires. Guests will camp nightlong on the island of their choice as well. The ocean caves and kelp forests around the island offer great opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving. Boating excursions that combine whale watching with non-landing tours around the islands are a popular option.
Best known as the setting for the television show “Baywatch,” Santa Monica offers everything travelers want from a Southern California beach town, including great surfing and swimming, wide stretches of sand and plenty of sunshine. Developed as a seaside resort in the early 1900s, the city has grown into an upscale community filled with designer shops, tasty restaurants and unique art galleries. The old-fashioned amusement park at the Santa Monica Pier is home to the city’s most recognizable landmark, a solar-powered Ferris Wheel illuminated with LED lights. Visitors can rub elbows with the rich and famous at the Third Street Promenade, one of the region’s premier shopping destinations.
Joshua Tree National Park
Located in the Southern California desert area 140 miles (225 km) east of Los Angeles, Joshua Tree National Park is a popular destination for hikers, rock climbers, photography buffs and nature lovers. Named after the treelike genus of yucca that grows in the park’s northwestern section, Joshua Tree is an expansive park that includes multiple overnight camping areas, natural springs, man-made reservoirs and more than 4,500 established rock climbing routes. Places of interest include an old cattle rustler’s hideout, Native American rock art and Keys View, a sky-high natural overlook that offers views of the landlocked Salton Sea.
Situated 120 miles (190 km) east of Los Angeles, Palm Springs has been a popular vacation destination since the 1920s when movie stars used the desert city as their winter playground. With its mid-century architecture, the city’s Movie Colony District illustrates the lifestyle Hollywood’s elite enjoyed. More than a dozen beautifully maintained golf courses lie within the bounds of the 100-square-mile city, which makes Palm Springs a golfer’s dream, but the region’s natural attractions are worth exploring too. A ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to the 8,516-foot (2,596 meter) summit of Chino Canyon gives visitors a birds-eye view of the desert landscapes.
Universal Studios Hollywood
Home to one of the oldest still-operating film studios, Universal Studios Hollywood may be a sprawling complex in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles best known for its family-friendly amusement park. Many of the park’s rides and attractions are focused on blockbuster movies, giving an immersive expertise for fans of films starting from “King Kong” to “Waterworld.”Behind-the-scenes studio tours are available as well. The complex also includes Universal CityWalk, an outdoor shopping center where visitors can catch live performances, see a movie or watch celebrities.