It’s nearly impossible to select just five “must-see” places in Northern California: the area has exciting cities, charming small towns, expansive national parks, and beautiful beaches and lakes. We’ve tried our hardest to select some of the favorite locations that locals love. How many of these must-see places in Northern California have you seen?
5 Places You Must See in Northern California
#1: Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is a large, clear lake that is surrounded by mountains and pine trees. It’s a beautiful location to visit in all seasons: in the summer, the lake’s beaches are perfect for swimming, and many enjoy water sports; in the winter, the snow-covered mountains perfect for skiing. (In fact, Lake Tahoe hosted the Winter Olympics many years ago!) During the spring, summer, and fall, visitors enjoy the region’s many hiking trails and campgrounds.
#2: Napa and Sonoma Valleys
California is known for its wines: be sure to visit these famous wine regions! Even those who do not drink wine will enjoy the charming restaurants, beautiful landscapes, and natural scenery. There are also many art studios and museums, fun wine festivals, and the famous wine train that goes through the region as well. If you love to exercise, try biking through the vineyards or stroll down the riverfront promenade. There is always something to do in Napa!
#3: Big Sur
The mountains meet the ocean at Big Sur, which is a stretch of land between the cities of Carmel and San Simeon. Drive along State Route 1, which is along the mountain cliffs, for stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. If you decide to stay, there are many campgrounds, hiking trails, and beaches to explore. (There are also some of the best hotels in the world!) Big Sur is romantic, adventurous, and unique.
Monterey is an often-forgotten part of California. Cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego receive a lot of attention . . . but Monterey is a hidden gem. The city is on the beautiful Monterey Bay, which has white sand beaches and a beautiful coastline. Stroll through the charming city, and be sure to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the famous Fisherman’s Wharf, which has many restaurants and shops.
#5: Redwood National Park
California is famous for its giant coastal redwood trees (called Sequoias). Sequoias are the tallest trees in the world, and some can live to be more than 3,000 years old!
You can see these beautiful trees at Redwood National and State Park, which is actually four parks (Redwood National Park, Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks) located on the California Coast. Together, the parks have 45% of all of the world’s remaining coastal redwood trees. The parks are also home to beautiful ferns, many animals, creeks, and 37 miles of coastline for you to enjoy stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
What are we missing from this list? Tell us on social media!