23 Wonderful and Exotic Places in California

12 mins read
Source: Unsplash By: Maarten van den Heuvel

There are a lot of exotic places in California that are picturesque, and worth a visit. It has the world’s most exquisite and diverse landscapes. Many people have their ideal California experience, but it is hard to narrow down what makes this state so unique.

You will find breathtaking natural beauty in this place. But if you want more than just scenic beauty, there are also plenty of interesting cultural experiences to discover. Whether you like hiking through redwood forests or enjoying ice cream at an artisanal gelato shop, California has something for everyone! Read on for our top picks for unique and exotic places in California:

Exotic Places in California

Exotic places in California
Source: Unsplash By: Craig Melville

Check out these exotic places in California that are mentioned below. Some must-visit places in California are listed in this article. These exotic places in California will amaze you!

1. Yosemite National Park

This national park located in the mountains of Sierra Nevada in California is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is known for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, meadows, forests, and backcountry trails.

Yosemite was founded as a national park in 1890 as the result of an agreement between President Benjamin Harrison and his Mexican counterpart Porfirio Diaz to protect Yosemite Valley from development pressures by private land speculators led by John Muir, who had been leading conservation efforts since 1875, when he assisted with the creation of Sequoia National Park (now Kings Canyon).

2. Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia and south of the Fresno metropolitan area in California. There are groves of giant sequoia trees here that are protected. These trees are the largest living single-stem trees in the world.

The park was established on October 1, 1890, as the second U S National Park to preserve ancient redwood forests and their associated plant and animal life. The area had been used for timber extraction by miners since 1852, when gold was discovered nearby; this process continued until 1878, when Congress passed an act prohibiting it from further use except for scientific research purposes only.

3. Joshua Tree National Park

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Source: Unsplash By: Huper by Joshua Earle

Joshua Tree National Park is a United States national park in southern California. This park is named after the Joshua trees. It is located in the Colorado Desert, in southeastern San Bernardino County, approximately 130 miles east of Los Angeles.

The relatively arid climate has allowed Joshua Tree National Park to retain many of its natural habitats, including desert scrub, woodland, and riparian communities, which have been preserved intact by their isolation from human development over time.

The park contains two parts: Death Valley National Park and Mojave National Preserve, forming an area known as the Mojave Desert or Great Basin Desert Region (GBDR). Deep valleys characterize these areas carved out by rivers flowing through narrow canyons called washes, extensive stands of giant Sequoia trees, and high-elevation peaks such as Wheeler Peak.

4. Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Humboldt Redwoods State Park is one of the exotic places in California that you must visit. Humboldt Redwoods State Park is home to some of the world’s tallest trees, and it takes about an hour to hike through all of them. The redwood trees are ancient and incredibly splendid. Some of them are said to be very old, over 1,000 years old. Some of the trees were cut down to make way for development, so now we have fewer than what we started with. 

The forest is well preserved as human interference in this forest is minimum. Visitors to this park can experience hiking among these old giants. If you enjoy the outdoors and nature trails, this will be one of the exotic places to visit in California.

Humboldt Redwoods State Park offers visitors different activities for enjoyment. The forest is well preserved as human interference in this forest is minimum. Picnic areas and campsites allow visitors to stay overnight or spend a few days relaxing in nature.

5. Big Sur

It is a region of California (Central Coast). At this place, the Santa Lucia Mountains rise from the Pacific Ocean. The area is extremely rugged and scenic, with deep canyons, massive redwood trees, and sweeping ocean views.

Big Sur stretches from Carmel-by-the-Sea to San Simeon along the Pacific Coast Highway. It’s best known for its many hiking trails that offer spectacular views over Monterey Bay and up into Canada. You will also find numerous state parks—including Henry Coe State Park, which has one of only two fishing piers in California!

The Big Sur River also flows through this region; it is home to some historical sites such as Fort Ross State Historic Park where Russian fur traders settled in 1812.

6. Lassen Volcanic National Park

This national park is in California. It contains the largest volcano in the Cascade Range, Lassen Peak, which last erupted between 1914 and 1917. The park has dozens of other volcanoes, such as Mount Shasta and Mount Tehachapi.

7. Big Basin Redwoods State Park


This State Park is located in the Santa Cruz Mountains, (in the north of San Jose). It is one of the most popular parks and exotic places in California. It has a wide variety of ecosystems, including coastal Douglas fir forest, riparian woodland, grassland communities, and chaparral shrublands.

The park also has six miles of hiking trails that offer access to an impressive variety of wildlife, including black bears (although rarely seen), American mule deer, gray foxes, and even red-tailed hawks if you’re lucky enough to spot them!

8. Channel Islands National Park

Another national park in California is the Channel Islands National Park. It consists of five islands: Anacapa Island, Santa Cruz Island, Santa Rosa Island, San Miguel Island, and Santa Barbara Island. All of them are stunning and can be listed under exotic places in California. 

The Channel Islands archipelago comprises about 1/3 of the California Coast Ranges land area, and lies between San Diego County on the mainland and Ventura County to its south. 

The United States federal government manages the islands as part of mainland California’s Channel Islands National Park. However, they have been administered separately from other parts of this national park since 1937. 

They are considered part of their unique ecosystem and environment that differs from that found elsewhere in North America (including Hawaii).

9. Mount Shasta and Castle Crags State Park


Mount Shasta is a popular mountain. It is located in the Cascade Range, which is close to the city of Mount Shasta. It is best known for its snow-covered peak, which can be seen from a distance when approaching the area from Siskiyou County, California. 

Native Americans used these mountains as a burial site & sacred place for a long time. Today visitors enjoy hiking trails through forests full of ancient redwoods that were once giants themselves thousands of years ago.

The park offers camping spots along with backpacking trails that lead through some stunning natural beauty around this area:

  • Mount Shasta itself—a hike up onto its slopes provides amazing views over nearby towns, including Mount Shasta City.
  • Castle Crags State Park—a scenic drive through forested areas with jagged peaks rising above them.
  • Ash Mountain Recreation Area—this campground offers amenities like showers facilities etc., but also beautiful scenery such as waterfalls flowing into streams below rocky ledges along paths winding uphill towards higher elevations where temperatures drop rapidly during winter months, making it colder than usual.

10. South Fork Kings River

This River is a tributary of the Kings River in Kings Canyon National Park, California. It arises from snowmelt on Mount Goddard and Mount Dade, which lie in central California’s southern Sierra Nevada range. The river flows east through canyons to join with its parent river at Lee Vining Canyon.

The river has been designated as a Wild and Scenic River by Congress since 1968, making it one of only four such rivers in California—the others include Upper Kern River (1977), Middle Fork Feather River (1985), and North Fork Smith River (1992).

11. Valley of the Giants

The Valley of the Giants is a very popular and one of the most exotic places in California, and for a good reason. It’s located about 50 miles north of Sacramento, with a large visitor center with many exhibits about giant sequoia trees. These trees have a long life, they can live for 2,000 years and more, and are said to grow up to 30 ft!

Wildflowers bloom during the spring and fall seasons, making them the best seasons to visit this national park. In addition to viewing some beautiful scenery and enjoying nature walks through the park itself (which has trails all around), there are also plenty of activities available like horseback riding or hiking along nearby mountain trails—all without leaving town!

If you are looking for something else in this area, consider checking out Yosemite National Park across Highway 120; it is only an hour away by car but offers similar terrain as VOT, and being closer sounds appealing, then definitely give them both a try!

12. Death Valley National Park

 Death Valley National Park is another stunning national park in California. It’s located on the southwestern edge of the Mojave Desert, and it covers an area of about 1 million acres (4,000 km²). The park protects several major valley floors including badlands, dunes, and cliffs. The elevation range within this desert environment can be seen in just one day as you travel around its many coves and valleys by car or bike!

13. Kelso Dunes

Kelso Dunes are said to be the largest dunes in the Mojave National Preserve. The dunes are made of sand and rock, some as high as 300 feet. The area covered by these dunes is about 40 square miles, making it one of California’s most impressive natural wonders.

14. Mount Whitney

The Mount Whitney Trail begins on the mountain’s east side and ends at its summit. The highest point in the lower 48 states, at 14,505 feet above sea level, Mount Whitney is reached by foot or by car. To get there from Lone Pine Canyon you’ll have to pass through one of two entrance gates: one for hikers and another for bikers only—both require a permit; otherwise, you will not be allowed to enter their respective areas (the trailhead is part way up Lone Pine Canyon).

Once you reach the top, there are various ways to explore it: hiking around its perimeter will take about three hours; taking photos may take longer because they need time on film if they are going to turn out well!

15. Bodie State Historic Park

Bodie is a ghost town located in Mono County California. It was once a thriving gold mining community that had an estimated population of 9,000 people during its peak in the mid-19th century.

Bodie State Historic Park preserves the historic buildings and landscapes left behind by this former boomtown, which became one of the most farm America’s most famous ghost towns Historic Park is one of the most exotic places in California you can visit while traveling there.

The park offers tours of historic buildings such as saloons and hotels along with guided hikes through some very remote parts of the landscape where you can still find evidence from Bodie’s past life. There are also special events held throughout the year including concerts at Miners Union Hall built around 1900; also check out their annual Old Time Christmas Celebration!

16. Lake Tahoe


South Lake Tahoe is located in California, Nevada, and Oregon. Lake Tahoe is famous for being the second deepest lake in North America. The lake is a popular tourist destination where you can enjoy boating and fishing in its calm waters.

The location of Lake Tahoe makes it ideal for skiing or snowboarding during winter months when other areas may be too cold to enjoy such activities (or they might not want to). It would be excellent if you visited Lake Tahoe; it is one of the most exotic places in California.

18. Muir Woods National Monument

This is redwood forest is located near the city of Mill Valley, in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area California. The Muir Woods National Monument was named after conservationist, John Muir who was also the founder of the Sierra Club.

The trees are part of an ancient stand that dates back over 2,000 years. Visitors can walk through this beautiful landscape or take one of several hikes ranging from easy to difficult trails that will take you past magnificent sights and ponds with waterfalls cascading down them into pools below where many animals live, including deer who often come out at nighttime looking for food so keep an eye out! Sound amazing, right? Muir Woods National Monument is one of the exotic places in California that you must visit.

19. Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve


Antelope Valley is a great place to see wildflowers in California. The flowers bloom from April through July making it the best months to visit, with some exceptions during winter months when they may only be seen during springtime. The Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve in southern California.

The park includes over 1,000 acres of land where you can enjoy walking trails, viewing areas for wildlife watching, or photography opportunities!

20. Devil’s Postpile National Monument

Devil’s Postpile National Monument is one of the most exotic places in California to visit. This national monument is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and it was a result of volcanic activity. The rocks at Devil’s Postpile contain striations that are caused by flowing water over time and weathering processes. That is the reason for so many colors on the rocks! This place has multiple hiking trails and different activities for its visitors. 

21. San Francisco Bay Area 


The San Francisco Bay Area is in California and consists of seven counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara. The Population in this region is more than eight million people. In the San Francisco Bay Area, you can find everything from hipster cafes to high-end boutiques.

The area is home to world-renowned universities, including Stanford University and UC Berkeley, as well as many technology companies. The Bay Area is quite a popular choice among residents when it comes to owning or renting houses. It’s close to the mountains and ocean,  and has many great parks and beaches. 

The San Francisco Bay Area is home to some important technology companies in the world. The cost of living is also pretty high here. 

22. Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park is a geologically diverse park in central California. The park contains two types of giant sequoia trees at Pinnacles—the Coast Redwood and Giant Sequoia—coastline during an ancient sea.

This Pinnacles national park is rich in flora & fauna. It is a home to different plants and animals. Some examples include:

  • Living fossils: Pinnacles contain dozens of rare species that have not changed since they first appeared in their current form millions of years ago (or even more). For example, there are two types of giant sequoia trees at Pinnacles—the Coast Redwood and Giant Sequoia—which grow to over 300 feet tall! Other examples include redwood trees up to 100 feet high with trunks up to 12 inches thick; giant cottonwoods; mountain mahogany trees; manzanita bushes with feathery leaves that turn bright red during fall color season; wildflowers like Indian paintbrush or bear grasses (which look like daisies but grow from underground roots). You can see these amazing sights from various hiking trails throughout the park’s 265 acres.

23. Crystal Cove State Park

Crystal Cove State Park is one of the most exotic places in California to visit. This place not only offers natural beauty but remarkable history as well. It is known as one of the most beautiful beaches in California, with a secluded cove that has been protected from the ocean by a sandstone cliff for thousands of years.

The beach of this park is an ideal option for swimming. This beach was used as a set for commercials, TV shows & movies. Besides this, you will enjoy climbing in this park. You can also explore a cave, though it’s closed for less time than the rest of the park.

The cliffs are the shelter for wildlife which includes shorebirds and sea turtles. The park has two different types of campsites: walk-in sites and backcountry sites that require a permit. The walk-in sites are preferable because they have restrooms and fire rings, while the backcountry sites do not have fire rings or restrooms. 

If you are looking for something more active, some trails lead you to waterfalls and swimming holes. There is even an amphitheater where you can hear live music or watch movies outdoors during the summer months.

Final Note

California has some wonderful and unique natural areas. Some of those places are more accessible to the average person than others, but there is no need to feel intimidated by their size or difficulty—you can still get in, even if it takes you longer than other places. For example, you could visit only one park during your trip and make sure that it has enough time left over for exploring other spots around the state before returning home. Because there are so many great options out there, we have provided a list of exotic places in California here so that you have an idea of where they might be worth checking out on your next trip!

Besides these exotic places in California, Santa Monica Mountains, Pismo Beach, Napa Valley, Schooner Gulch State Beach, Redwood National Park, Golden Gate Bridge, Pfeiffer Beach, Catalina Island, Yosemite falls, Kings Canyon National Parks, Emerald Bay State Park, Bowling Bowl Beach, California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, are some other exotic places in California that offer the stunning views in California.

You can enjoy different activities in exotic California such as whale watching and hiking as there are numerous trails, scuba diving, hot air balloon rides, road trips, and much more. These beautiful places to visit in California offer stunning views of palm springs, the Pacific Ocean, snow-capped mountains, and sandy beaches. Must visit these places and enjoy the nature, and exotic views of the surroundings! 

Suggested reading: Amazing Things to Do in San Jose

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