- Traffic in Los Angeles can take a toll on travelers.
- There are plenty of other destinations in California that offer museums, beaches, stunning views, and more.
- From Carmel-by-the-Sea to Lake Tahoe, here are 12 places to go in California other than Los Angeles.
Few places on Earth offer a better chance of spotting celebrities than Los Angeles, which draws more than 45 million visitors each year. The city offers beaches, museums, and plenty of shopping – but as magical as Los Angeles is, a few days of never-ending traffic on the 405 can take a toll on even the most steadfast traveler.
Luckily, plenty of places in the Golden State are just as beautiful – and a lot less traffic-jammed.
Carmel-by-the-Sea is full of quaint cottages.
Big Sur has sweeping ocean views.
- Getty Images Ltd. From 100 Places to Go Before They Disappear, published by Abrams.
Surfers come from all over to ride the waves at Big Sur, just south of the Monterey Peninsula. Big Sur, home to the Bixby Bridge, is known for its low-key beaches, abundant campsites, and rugged coastline.
The Pacific Coast Highway takes you over rocky seaside cliffs.
- Doug Meek/Shutterstock
Napa Valley is known for its wine and vineyard views.
- Michael Warwick/Shutterstock
Wine enthusiasts will find heaven in Napa Valley, just north of San Francisco. The county is revered for its vineyards. You can go wine-tasting and ride the Napa Valley wine train, a train with restored, 100-year-old railcars and a traveling restaurant that runs through the region.
Hearst Castle is on a 127-acre estate.
Hearst Castle is perched high in the hills of San Simeon. The mansion, which is on a 127-acre estate, was built between 1919 and 1947, holds a large collection of art and antiques, and was once a playground for Hollywood’s biggest stars. You can take tours of the different rooms and art in the castle.
Santa Catalina Island has a botanical garden and zip-lining.
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Vacationers sail to Santa Catalina Island, just off the coast of Los Angeles, in pursuit of laid-back beaches, shopping, and more. The island is home to the Wrigley Botanical Garden, the relaxing waterfront town of Two Harbors, and adventures like zip-lining and biking.
San Francisco offers its well-known trolleys as well as roller disco, breweries, and more.
- Flickr/Nicholas Raymond
As expensive as it is to live in San Francisco, the Bay Area makes for a great vacation spot. Its trolleys, hills, and the Golden Gate Bridge draw thousands of visitors each year, and there are plenty of non-touristy things to do, such as a visit to the aquarium, roller disco, or a brewery.
Yosemite National Park is a nature-lover’s dream.
Yosemite National Park has been popular with hikers, campers, and all-around nature lovers since 1864, when President Abraham Lincoln designated it a protected wilderness area. Within the 1,200-square-mile park, you can see the sweeping beauty of the Sierra Nevada mountains and extraordinary waterfalls.
San Diego is almost always sunny.
- Shutterstock/Sebastien Burel
San Diego‘s beaches and near-perfect weather welcome visitors from around the globe. With sites like the world-renowned San Diego Zoo and views of the San Diego Bay, the city offers plenty of entertainment.
Santa Barbara has mountains on one side and the ocean on the other.
The surrounding Santa Ynez Mountains and nearby Los Padres National Forest create a striking backdrop for Santa Barbara. Nicknamed the American Riviera, the coastal city’s red-tile roofs and white stucco buildings show off its Spanish and Mediterranean influences.
Joshua Tree National Park is breathtaking.
Joshua Tree National Park shows off another side of the Golden State’s natural beauty. Named for the Joshua trees that grow in the area, the desert park offers fantastic camping, rock climbing, stargazing, and more.
Lake Tahoe offers summer and winter sports.
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Located on the California-Nevada border, Lake Tahoe is a popular destination for every kind of traveler. The area surrounding the crystal-blue lake has world-class restaurants and lodges and offers opportunities for water sports, hiking, and biking.
- Read more:
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- 21 stunning photos that show just how amazing US National Parks are