The 101 best California experiences to bookmark now

The Los Angeles Times; Storyblocks

A beach made of kaleidoscopic pebbles. A desert roadhouse with a world-class license plate collection. Medleys of irresistible waterfalls. The last grand train station in America. If you’re looking for the gold of the Golden State, let us be your guide.


In this drought-paused, restriction-lifted, spring-awakening moment, our state is ready for a good head-to-toe inspection. Come explore with us.

Our travel writer shares his response to the one question people keep asking: Where should I go next?

Christopher Reynolds takes us to his favorite downtown destinations in this 4-minute video.

Print it out, fold it into your pocket and keep track of your adventures. (Or, you know, save it to your phone.)

Want a print version of the list? Our 26-page guide is packed with history, insider tips, traveler updates and photos of the most inspiring adventures across the state.

There’s a lot to see and do across the state’s 163,696 square miles. We want to know what’s at the top of your list.



Writer: Christopher Reynolds
Editors: Michelle Woo, Jen Doll, Brittany Levine Beckman
Creative director: Amy King
Design director: Taylor Le
Senior deputy design director: Faith Stafford
Art direction, digital production and motion graphics: Anne Latini
Art direction and print design: Kay Scanlon
Additional print design: Jan Molen
Photo editors: Taylor Arthur, Liv Paggiarino
Photographers: Al Seib, Allen J. Schaben, Brian van der Brug, Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune, Carolyn Cole, Christopher Reynolds, Francine Orr, Gary Coronado, Genaro Molina, Gina Ferazzi, Jason Armond, Jay L. Clendenin, K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union Tribune, Kent Nishimura, Lisa Boone, Luis Sinco, Marc Martin, Mark Boster, Mel Melcon, Myung J. Chun, Peter Da Silva/For The Times, Ricardo DeAratanha, Robert Gauthier, Wesley Lapointe
Copy editors: Doug Norwood, Lisa Horowitz
Audience engagement: Leslie Cory
Digital production: Denise Florez, David Lewis
Video producer, editor and camera: Albert Brave Tiger Lee
Senior video producer: Maggie Beidelman