In the spirit of all this California pride, we want to pay homage to some of the most strikingly beautiful NorCal destinations this Golden State has to offer. Maybe this will inspire the travel bug in you or simply allow you to reminisce on some fond memories. Either way, join us in appreciating the beauty that is Northern California!
Big Sur is a hot spot for beach lovers, offering beautiful coastal drives, a multitude of beaches to hop between and tons of scenic hiking trails. If you also love that fresh, clean forest air, Big Sur is perfectly sandwiched between the forest and the ocean. Try camping at one of the many campsites Big Sur has to offer to get the rugged, forest experience while being just minutes away from the beach. Big Sur is also home to notable landmarks such as Bixby Creek Bridge and McWay Falls, which you may stumble across pictures of in a National Geographic magazine or just through the countless Instagram pictures taken there.
Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea
As Californians, an intrinsic love for the sights and sounds of the beach is engrained in each of us. No one really knows when, how or why, but we shore do love being on the beach. Not to mention, California is known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. These two destinations are lumped together because of their proximity, but make no mistake, each has its own special charm.
Monterey is known for its delicious seafood, gorgeous beaches, world-class scuba diving sites and even the Monterey Bay Aquarium (which served as the inspiration for the setting of “Finding Dory”). Carmel-by-the-Sea is known for its quiet, small-town charm and bustles with stunning works of art, independent shops and amazing baked goods.
Two top picks for eateries are Rosine’s Restaurant in Monterey (if you want an amazing dining experience that is complete with heavenly cake slices) and Cottage of Sweets in Carmel, a tiny, European-style sweet shop right across from the beach that has the most amazing fudge.
Internationally recognized, historic and gorgeous, Napa is a go-to destination for families and wine enthusiasts alike. For a classy, wine-and-dine experience in the rolling hills of California, Napa is the perfect location! This town also boasts a rich art scene, with shops, restaurants and galleries located along a riverfront promenade. Also, be sure to visit the Oxbow Public Market if you enjoy local farmers markets.
Hugging the Mendocino National Forest, Mendocino and Fort Bragg are two gorgeous beach towns within 20 minutes of each other. Fort Bragg was originally home to the Native American Pomo tribe, consisting of a hunter-gatherer society for centuries. In 1856, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, declared it the “Mendocino Indian Reservation.” By 1857, a military post had been built on this land, hence its name.
In addition to an opportunity to learn about Native American history, this quaint and beautiful destination offers the family-friendly Skunk Train, MacKerricher State Park, Glass Beach with tons of colorful sea glass intermingled in the sand, a botanical garden and myriad shops, restaurants and beaches.
We all know and love this one! Famous for summer camping, swimming and hikes along the lake, as well as winter skiing, snowboarding and snowball fights, Tahoe is a versatile and gorgeous place to enjoy nature. It is home to the great Lake Tahoe (its namesake), which is surrounded by thickets of green forests.
Long story short, we love California and appreciate all of the natural beauty our state has to offer. We kindly remind you to uphold your role in conserving our environment and hope that you get to see some of these places for yourself!