California is a diverse and captivating state that offers a multitude of reasons to fall in love with its unique charm. From the stunning coastline of Big Sur to the majestic redwoods of Muir Woods, California’s natural beauty is unparalleled. The state boasts a variety of landscapes, including deserts, mountains, and vineyard-covered valleys, providing endless opportunities for outdoor adventures.

California’s vibrant cities, such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, offer a mix of cultural attractions, world-class dining, and eclectic neighborhoods to explore. The state’s rich history, from the Gold Rush era to Hollywood’s golden age, adds depth and character to its allure. Whether you’re surfing in Malibu, wine tasting in Napa Valley, or hiking in Yosemite National Park, California’s diverse offerings make it a truly enchanting destination for visitors.

The Best Times To Travel To California

High Season: June – August

This is when the weather is warm and sunny, making it an ideal time to explore the state’s beaches, national parks, and cities. Popular destinations like Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and the coastal towns along the Pacific Coast Highway are bustling with visitors during this time. Prices for accommodations, activities, and attractions are generally higher during the high season, and popular attractions may be more crowded.

Shoulder Season: March – May / September – November

Typically in the spring and fall the shoulder season attracts slightly less visitors. During these times, the weather is mild and the streets may be less crowded. This can be a great time to visit wine country in Napa Valley, enjoy the wildflowers in the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, or explore the coastal towns along the Pacific Coast Highway.

Low Season: December – February

The low season usually occurs in the winter months, when temperatures are cooler and rainfall is more common. This can be a great time to visit ski resorts in Lake Tahoe or explore the desert landscapes of Joshua Tree National Park. Prices for accommodations and activities are generally lower during this time, and crowds are thinner.

What To Expect

Affordability: The state offers a diverse array of accommodations, from luxury resorts and boutique hotels to budget-friendly motels and hostels. Prices for lodging can vary significantly based on location, with coastal cities like Santa Monica and San Diego typically commanding higher rates compared to inland areas. Dining options in California are equally varied, with upscale restaurants, trendy cafes, and casual eateries catering to all budgets. While dining at Michelin-starred restaurants in cities like San Francisco can be a splurge, exploring local food markets, food trucks, and ethnic eateries can offer more affordable dining options. Additionally, entrance fees to popular attractions such as national parks, museums, and theme parks can add up, so it’s important for travelers to plan and budget accordingly to make the most of their California experience.

Travel Options: Renting a car is a popular choice for those looking for flexibility and independence, especially when traveling to different cities or remote areas. California’s extensive network of highways and scenic routes make road trips a memorable way to experience the beauty of the state. Public transportation, including buses, trains, and light rail services, is also widely available in major cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, offering a convenient and eco-friendly way to get around urban areas.

BTA Specialists for California



Best Destinations to Visit

Mono Lake

Tucked away in the Eastern Sierra region, Mono Lake is a hidden gem known for its otherworldly tufa towers and unique ecosystem. Visitors can take a guided tour, birdwatch, or simply relax by the tranquil shores of the lake.

Channel Islands National Park

Just off the coast of Southern California, the Channel Islands offer a pristine and secluded escape. Visitors can kayak through sea caves, hike scenic trails, and spot wildlife like dolphins, seals, and seabirds.

Alcatraz Island

The former federal prison, located on an island in San Francisco Bay, offers a fascinating glimpse into the past. Visitors can explore the cell blocks and learn about the infamous inmates who once called Alcatraz home.

Balboa Park

Located in the heart of San Diego, this is a cultural oasis that offers a diverse array of attractions for visitors of all ages. Home to museums, gardens, theaters, and the famous San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park is a must-visit destination for those seeking a blend of history, art, and nature.

Favorite Hotels

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills

The hotel offers exceptional accommodations with incredible views and terraces in each room. Guests can indulge in top-notch amenities, efficient and friendly service, rooftop dining by renowned French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, an exclusive La Prairie Spa, and a seamless indoor/outdoor ambiance that embodies the essence of the luxurious Californian lifestyle.

The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay

Perched atop a rugged bluff with breathtaking views of 50 miles of California coastline, this resort is the epitome of romance in Northern California. Offering a blend of seaside charm and five-star luxury, guests can enjoy activities like roasting s’mores, playing on championship golf courses, indulging in spa treatments, exploring coastal trails, and dining in ocean-view restaurants.

The Resort at Pelican Hill

Right by the Pacific Ocean on the Newport Beach Coast, this five star resort offers unparalleled luxury. The villas offer stunning coastal views, gourmet kitchens, and access to an exclusive clubhouse. Additionally, the resort boasts bungalow guest suites, with fireplaces and private terraces. Enjoy the Forbes Five Star spa, two 18-hole championship golf courses crafted by Tom Fazio, the impressive 136-foot Coliseum Pool, and a selection of 5 restaurants on-site.

Alila Napa Valley

Nestled in the heart of California’s wine country, Alila Napa Valley offers a unique blend of modern and traditional elements at this exclusive adults-only sanctuary. Guests can experience the mix of town and country, with the historic Beringer estate’s vineyards, and the quaint downtown St. Helena just a short stroll away. Indulge in the renowned Spa Alila and Acacia House restaurant, in an antique farmhouse, serving up contemporary American cuisine.

Oceana Santa Monica, LXR Hotels & Resorts

Experience coastal elegance and residential comfort at this recently transformed 70-suite hotel, offering breathtaking views of the Pacific. Embrace the local lifestyle with complimentary beach cruisers, seaside yoga sessions, and tailor-made adventures. Indulge in poolside dining within the courtyard. This hidden gem is conveniently located near the charming boutiques and cafes of Montana Avenue, and a stroll away from the iconic Santa Monica Pier.

Pendry San Diego

Located in the vibrant Gaslamp Quarter, this embodies a fresh take on luxury, boasting a rooftop pool lounge, spa, and upscale nightclub. The rooms and suites showcase a blend of urban coastal California style, with classic and contemporary luxury amenities. Indulge in sports viewing at Nason’s Beer Hall, with a selection of over 24 beers on tap. For meals, visit Provisional Restaurant, or savor modern coastal cuisine crafted by renowned chef Jojo Ruiz, a James Beard Smart Catch Leader.

Local Foods to Try in California

When it comes to local foods in California, the Golden State offers a tantalizing array of culinary delights that reflect its diverse cultural influences and abundant natural resources. From fresh seafood caught along the Pacific coast to farm-fresh produce from the fertile Central Valley, California’s cuisine is a true reflection of its rich agricultural heritage. Indulge in juicy California oranges, creamy avocados, and plump strawberries that thrive in the state’s sunny climate. Savor iconic dishes like fish tacos in San Diego, sourdough bread in San Francisco, and In-N-Out burgers in Southern California.

Plus, treat yourself to a mouthwatering California-style pizza topped with unique and fresh toppings, or feast on a seafood platter showcasing the state’s abundant coastal offerings. Don’t forget to sample some of California’s famous wine or craft beer to complement your meal. Whether you’re exploring the bustling cities or relaxing in the picturesque countryside, California’s culinary delights are sure to leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.

Fun Facts

California is a treasure trove of fascinating facts and unique experiences for visitors to discover. One interesting fact is that California is home to the tallest tree in the world, the majestic redwood tree, which can reach heights of over 350 feet. Visitors can marvel at these ancient giants in places like Redwood National Park. Additionally, California is the birthplace of the film industry, with Hollywood being the entertainment capital of the world. Visitors can take a stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame or tour iconic movie studios like Warner Bros. and Universal Studios.

California also boasts the lowest and highest points in the contiguous United States – Death Valley, the hottest and driest place in North America, and Mount Whitney, the tallest peak in the lower 48 states. Whether you’re exploring the stunning beaches of Malibu, hiking in Yosemite National Park, or tasting wine in Napa Valley, California offers a wealth of fun facts and unforgettable experiences for visitors to enjoy.

BTA Blogs on California

The Best Luxury Family Resorts In The US For A Perfect Vacation

Rated as one of the 10 best hotels globally by the Travel Channel, Hotel Del Coronado is a southern California coastal escape. This oceanfront beach resort which is only a few minutes away from downtown San Diego offers luxury amenities and activities.

Best Family Vacation Destinations In The US – Big Cities To Natural Wonders

San Francisco is a great city for families due to its abundance of kid-friendly activities. From exploring Golden Gate Park to riding cable cars, there is no shortage of things to do in San Francisco.

Best Luxury Back To Nature Hotels In The West

Leave your children at home and escape for an unparalleled adult-only, exclusive, sanctum getaway at Post Ranch Inn. The hotel is perfectly secluded yet located 150 miles south of San Francisco.

Best Luxury Resorts For Families With Teens In The US

California is one of the first destinations that come to mind when considering the ultimate summer holiday! If you dream of the perfect Californian vacation, book your stay at Hyatt Huntington Beach.

8 Best Luxury Resorts In the Southwest For A Relaxing Corporate Retreat

If you are looking for a place to stay in California where you can fully immerse yourself into the laid-back, relaxing vibe, look no further than the luxurious 5-star Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage.