1. Lake Helen - Lassen Volcanic National Park
Visible from the road, this piercing blue lake is as gorgeous as it is in pictures. Filled by crisp water run-off from the snow-covered mountains, you might not be compelled to jump right in, but even just having the opportunity to witness such an incredible sight is worth the trip.
2. California Highway 1
If you’ve ever daydreamed about what a drive along the west coast might look like, this is it. California Highway 1 is laden with earthy and dramatic slate-colored cliffs, mirrored by turquoise ocean shores, and accentuated by the lushest green foliage. The views are such a breath of fresh air.
3. Mount Shasta
Easily accessible via the California I-5, a visit to Mount Shasta will be one trip you’ll be glad to have taken. With snow-covered ridges and the tallest green pines, the forested view is truly unique. Breathe in the fresh air and appreciate your small retreat.
4. Sierra Valley, CA
Resembling an image of a somewhat rural farmland, the Sierra Valley in California offers a different kind of landscape not often thought to exist in the golden state. With it’ mountainous pastures and sparse population, the Sierra Valley is a welcomed escape from the fast-paced city living of cities like L.A. and San Fran.
5. The Trinidad Rock
Iconic amongst California natives, Trinidad is one of the most visited beauties of the Northern California coast. Admire the island-like landscape from the nearby lighthouse located on the shoreline – and be sure to snap a few pictures.
6. Diverse California Wildlife
While most people’s mind doesn’t immediately think of wildlife as a wonder per say, the diversity of the wildlife in California is incredibly captivating. From lizards and roadrunners in SoCal to elk in NorCal, you’re in for a true animal adventure when you take the time to stop and admire the life around you.
7. The Gorgeous Cypress Tunnel – Point Reyes, CA
With a roadway just beneath it, the cypress tree tunnel in Point Reyes, CA is a unique experience that emits feelings of magic and whimsy.
8. McCloud River
Proudly housing several cascading waterfalls, the McCloud River is one of the most beautiful natural wonders California has to offer. This location may take some hiking to get to, but it is well worth the foot work.
9. The Redwoods
The redwoods are unlike anything you’ll ever see anywhere else. Big enough to tunnel through (and drive your car through), these monstrous trees will have you feeling like you’re Alice in Wonderland having consumed the shrinking potion labeled “drink me”. The redwoods are magical – total bucket list trip!
10. The Botanical Gardens at Mendocino
Need a romantic date idea? This natural wonder is sure to leave your lover at a loss for words. Stroll hand in hand through the gardens in bloom and take in the botanical wonder. Concluded with a stunning ocean view, this natural wonder is a top pick!
11. The Donner Summit – Truckee, CA
If you’re traveling along the historic highway 40, you’re headed in the right direction. When you reach Donner Summit take in the views of Donner Lake, green pines, and granite structures. The view from the top is incredible!