The "Golden State" California is one of the most famous US states and attracts many tourists and emigrants every year. From great beaches and the dream factory Hollywood to spectacular National Parks - find out now what California has to offer!
Many centuries ago, between 9,000-10,000 B.C., about 70 different Indian tribes populated the former land of California. After 1500, the first European settlers came to California, such as Francis Drake or Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, to claim the state for themselves. In 1769 the first permanent settlement called 'Alta California' was built by Spanish missionaries.
With the discovery of larger quantities of gold, more than 250,000 settlers from all parts of the USA rushed to California around 1848 (California Gold Rush), among them mostly farmers from the Southern and Western states. They hoped not only to become rich through gold, but also to find better climatic conditions to achieve a greater harvest.
During the Mexican-American War California gained its independence and was declared the 31st state of the USA in 1850 as a result of the "Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo". After the Civil War, California was better connected to the rest of the USA in 1869 with the construction of the Transcontinental Railway line, which contributed to the economic success of the Golden State.
In the 1920s, another industry grew in importance alongside agriculture. Due to the abundant sunlight and relatively cheap land prices, the film industry settled in California and the world-famous Hollywood film studios were established.
Today, California is mainly known as a very liberal state and democratic stronghold, which is also reflected in the presidential elections. With its almost 40 million inhabitants, it is the most populous state in the USA. Unfortunately, the cost of living and real estate prices have risen dramatically in the meantime, which makes living in California very expensive.
California is also a "Minority Majority State", so almost 60% of the population consists of Asians, Latin Americans, Indians or other groups. A quarter of the people were born outside the USA. Apart from English, Spanish is spoken most frequently. The largest religious communities are the Protestants with 32 percent and the Catholic Church with 28 percent. A whole 27 percent of the population do not belong to any religion.
The Golden State is the largest food producer in the USA and is considered the fifth largest supplier of food worldwide. Wine growing also plays an important role due to the good climatic conditions. In addition, California is nowadays globally known for Silicon Valley as the center of the IT and high-tech industry. It is also an important location for the aerospace industry.
The US state of California is located in the southwest of the USA by the Pacific Ocean and borders the US states of Oregon, Nevada and Arizona as well as the Mexican peninsula called Baja California. With its almost 424.000 km² it is the third largest state in the USA in terms of area.
The landscape in California is very diverse and has a lot to offer. In the West it borders the Pacific Ocean with about 1350 km of coastline, so there are many great beaches. In the East lies the high mountain range Sierra Nevada (Spanish: mountain range covered in snow), which stretches over 500 kilometers to the South. The Sierra Nevada offers up to 250 sunny days a year.
Mount Whitney, at around 4,418 meters, is the highest mountain in the continental USA and is only 80 kilometers from the lowest point in the USA in the Death Valley desert region. In addition, the tallest, thickest and oldest trees in the world grow in California (redwood and pine). The state also owns most of the National Parks in the USA - nine in total!
Although most of the state has a Mediterranean climate, the climate varies from moderate to subtropical due to the size of the country. Temperatures in the coastal regions are often somewhat lower than in the inland due to the cool Pacific Ocean, and fog often occurs in summer.
However, in the interior of the country, Sierra Nevada has hotter summers as well as colder winters with lots of snow on the mountains. In Northern California, more rain falls in winter. The desert regions are usually warm and sunny all year round, only at night it can get quite cool.
If you want to visit the big cities San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego in the best possible weather, you should make your trip between May and October. However, August should be avoided if possible due to the holiday season in the USA, as all beaches, hotels & sights are much more crowded or expensive then.
All skiers can pursue their passion well in the winter months from October to April in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada. The desert region in Death Valley is also a good place to visit at this time of year, as it is pleasantly mild.
California is known for its many National Parks and beaches and its sunny, mild weather. Those who prefer peace and nature can enjoy the breathtaking landscape or the extensive beaches along the Pacific coast.
Whether for camping, hiking or comfortably by rental car... There is something for everyone in the numerous National Parks! In the following we have listed all the Parks in California for you:
California is also one of the states with the most National Monuments and there are four National Historic Trails, such as the Old Spanish Trail - a historic trade route. For the adventurous, a visit to the famous high security prison Alcatraz in San Francisco is a must. For families with children, Disneyland or the Six Flags amusement park near Los Angeles are also recommended!
Active holidaymakers can choose between countless sports activities or immerse themselves in the flow of the big cities, which in turn offer their very own sights. All movie fans should of course take a closer look at L.A. and Hollywood. There you can, for example, go on a celebrity hunt and, if you plan early, even get a seat in the audience at a TV show!
Culture lovers also get their money's worth in California. Especially in the bigger cities there are some interesting museums that are worth a visit. These include, for example:
Californian cuisine reflects the diverse culture of California and is significantly influenced by its Hispanic-American roots (Mexican, Latin American, Spanish). But there are also many Asian (Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese) and European influences (Italian, French, Portuguese).
Californian food culture also places great emphasis on fresh, light and health-conscious dishes, as well as on the local sourcing of Californian products and seafood, such as fresh vegetables from regional farms. Most California cities also have the popular Farmer's Markets, which offer fresh local produce.
In fact, California is very proud of its good wines, handmade cheese and organic vegetables. These delicious things appear on most menus in California restaurants and bistros.
With a 1350 km coastline along the Pacific Ocean, California has some beautiful beaches. Among our top 5 are definitely those ones:
Don't forget to pack your swim trunks🙂!
As already mentioned, California offers something for all tastes and makes every photographer's heart beat faster. From mountains, beaches, desert, lonely ghost towns to great big cities with a high celebrity density - there is something for everyone! We have listed the best Instagram Hot Spots for you:
And last but not least some interesting facts about the 31st state of the USA: