California has an endless number of incredible tourist attractions, from Disneyland to the Golden Gate Bridge to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to the Redwoods. While many of these activities are exciting, it can be difficult to find the most spine-tingling, awe-inducing places in the state. Where does a thrill-seeking tourist even begin? Not to worry, I’ve compiled a list for you!
The Top 7 List
Here are the top 7 most thrilling tourist attractions in California.
1. Visit One of California’s Many National Parks. Absorbing the grandiose natural beauty of California’s cinematic landscapes is very popular, and for good reason. California is home to 9 national parks—more than any other state—including Yosemite, Death Valley, Redwood, Point Reyes, Pinnacles, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Lassen Volcanic, Joshua Tree, and the Channel Islands. Within each park are unique opportunities to hike, view wildlife viewing, go trail riding, take scenic drives, and go on nature tours. Some of the activities, like Yosemite’s Half Dome hike up a metal ladder or rock climbing in Pinnacles, are sure to get your heart racing.
2. Drive Along the Scenic Pacific Coast Highway. State Route 1, also known as the Scenic Pacific Coast Highway, boasts some of the most amazing scenery in California, with its dramatic cliffs, crashing waves, emerald green hillsides, and beautiful rock formations. It has some of America’s most dramatic coastal vistas. This drive is not for the faint of heart; the cliffs can be quite steep, the bridges very high, and the road quite windy, so make sure to buckle up!
3. Embark on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Located in California’s Colorado Desert Coachella Valley, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is the world’s largest rotating tramcar. Starting from the Valley station (2,643 ft.), the 80-car tramway follows the cliffs of Chino Canyon to Mountain Station (8,516 ft.) in about 10 minutes. At the top, tourists can see breath-taking views, enjoy hiking trails, eat at cafes and restaurants, and experience nature and education exhibits.
4. Check Out an Amusement Park. California is home to the Disney and Universal Studios empire as well as their respective theme parks Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood. They are constantly improving the visitor experience with thrilling and innovative amusement rides, new restaurants, and more. Visitors can also check out lesser-known amusement parks, such as Knott’s Berry Farm or Six Flags Magic Mountain, for a new experience.
5. Walk over the Golden Gate Bridge. Known as the gateway to San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic symbol of the city and the state. The Art Deco-designed, red-painted bridge is visible from almost every part of the city. Towering as high as a 65-story building and extending 4,200 feet, tourists can elect to walk the 1.7 miles across the bridge from the Welcome Center to the south end vista point lookout on the north end. You can see epic views of the Pacific Ocean, the city, the national park, and the San Francisco Bay.
6. Visit an Escape Room
There are escape rooms all over the state of California, and all of them offer a new, often hair-raising experience. An escape room is an immersive game in which you’re locked in a room and have a certain amount of time to escape. Many of these escape rooms are even themed! For example, these escape rooms in LA offer themed rooms ranging from an Alice in Wonderland scene to a “Dr. Psycho” experience.
7. Drive Fast and Furious at the Simraceway Performance Driving Center. Located 30 minutes north of San Francisco, the Sonoma Raceway can quench anyone’s thirst for speed at California’s longest track. The facility has a racing school, performance driving courses, go-karting opportunities, and more. You can drive their McClarens and F3 race cars, go karts, or bring your own car to put to the test.
California is an amazing state to visit, and offers an abundance of exciting activities. Next time you’re in the Golden State, hit up one of these thrilling attractions—if not all of them. You’re sure to have a real adventure.