20 photos that will make you wish you lived in California

Surfers line up in California's Huntington Beach.

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Surfers line up in California’s Huntington Beach.
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Chris Carlson, ApImages

  • California is home to a variety of views from big cities to forests to shorelines.
  • California’s coastline is incredibly photogenic.
  • Photos of San Francisco‘s Golden Gate Bridge and cable cars will have you wanting to move there.
  • Visit INSIDER.com for more stories.

From the winery-dotted Napa Valley and winding roads of the Pacific Coast Highway to the natural beauty of Yosemite and star-studded streets of Los Angeles, the options for experiencing the magic of the Golden State are endless.

No matter what part of the state you choose to visit, your eyes are in for a treat.

Don’t believe us? Take a quick photo road trip with us to see why California is the place to be.


There’s a little bit of something for everyone in California.

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Downtown Los Angeles, California.
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Carl Larson Photography

The Los Angeles skyline comes complete with great city and mountain views.


Surfers can find some great waves at beaches in Big Sur.

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Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur, California.
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Chase Dekker Wild-Life Images

McWay Cove is a hidden paradise located in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur.


Hikers can get lost amongst the giant trees of the Redwood Forest.

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Humboldt Redwoods State Park in Humboldt, California.
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Noppawat Tom Charoensinphon

Redwoods are often more than 200 feet tall.


City dwellers can explore the streets of big cities like Los Angeles.

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Los Angeles, California.
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Ilja Mask / EyeEm

Los Angeles is known for its abundance of palm trees, excellent shopping, and celebrity sightings.


Dreamers can stroll through a real-life fairytale in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

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Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.
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jejim/Shutterstock

Carmel-by-the-Sea was once voted one of the most romantic getaways on earth.


And nature enthusiasts can spot some incredible views at Yosemite.

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Yosemite National Park, California.
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Photograph by Tony Van Le

Yosemite is the third-oldest national park in the United States.


Even better — Yosemite looks just as stunning in winter as it does during the summer.

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Yosemite National Park, California, in winter.
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Don Smith/GettyImages

Other than a few roads, most of the park remains accessible year-round.


In fact, California has some of the country’s best national parks. Take Joshua Tree for example:

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Rock formations at Joshua Tree National Park, California.
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Carlo Van Stek / EyeEm

Joshua Tree National Park covers over 1,200 square miles.


As intimidating as Death Valley National Park sounds, the desert views are incredible.

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Zabriskie Point in Death Valley National Park, California.
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Robert Alexander / Contributor

Death Valley holds the record for the hottest recorded temperature on Earth.


Even when it seems busy everywhere, there’s always peace and quiet to find.

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Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California.
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Gary Weathers

The Santa Monica Pier and beach is picturesque and calming but has something for the whole family to enjoy.


The beaches around the Golden Gate Bridge make a great escape from the bustling city nearby.

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Golden Gate Bridge from Marshall Beach, San Francisco, California.
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Can Balcioglu/GettyImages

Despite being called golden, the bridge’s color is technically “international orange.”


But don’t miss out on San Francisco’s famous hills and streetcars.

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Russian Hill in San Francisco, California.
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RICOWde/GettyImages

It is also famously one of the world’s most expensive cities to live in.


You can get some amazing views while coasting along the Pacific Coast Highway.

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Pacific Coast Highway, Los Angeles, California.
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Cavan Images/GettyImages

Winding along California’s coast, it is often considered a bucket-list road trip.


Imagine taking a calming stroll through one of Napa Valley’s vineyards.

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Vineyard in Napa Valley, California.
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LockieCurrie/GettyImages

With 400 wineries in the valley, we recommend picking a destination before you go.


Sonoma Valley also has great vineyard views, if you’re nearby.

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Vineyard in Sonoma County, California.
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Akira Yuan / EyeEm

It was once named the best small town to visit in America.


Places like Lake Tahoe are so relaxing they seem unreal.

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Secret Harbor Cove Lake in Tahoe, California.
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stevedunleavy.com/GettyImages

The luxury estates for sale in the area are impressive, as well.


Sailboats cruising around Morro Bay will put you at ease.

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Morro Rock in Morro Bay, California.
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Jauder Ho / jauderho.com/GettyImages

Morro Rock itself is an underrated natural landmark you shouldn’t miss.


And don’t forget to visit some of California’s hidden gems like Catalina Island.

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Catalina Island, California.
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David Marano Photography/GettyImages

Just off the coast of long beach, you can reach the island by ferry.


They certainly don’t call it the Golden State for nothing.

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Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica, California.
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Westend61/GettyImages

It was named for the 19th-century gold rush, but the sunshine is golden, too.


California is definitely worth the trip.

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Highway 1 in Big Sur, California.
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Art Wager/GettyImages

No matter where you go in California, you’re in for a beautiful ride.