You might think you've been prepared for California: you've seen lots of films set in the Golden State after all. But the truth is that nothing is comparable to the real thing - to walk among the skaters in Venice Beach, to explore San Francisco's Chinatown or to drive through groves of giant sequoias in Sierra Nevada.
The natural beauty of California is unparalleled. From the Lassen Volcanic National Park with its otherworldly volcanic landscapes, exuberant forests and lakes, to the dramatic coasts of Big Sur - the place to find smugglers coves, picturesque lighthouses and even a colony of elephant seals.
Of course, one cannot talk about California without mentioning its trademark sport. As the song goes... If everybody had an ocean/ Across the USA/ Then everybody'd be surfin'/ Like Californ-I-A. Surfing was invented in Hawaii, but popularised in California. Indeed, some of the best beaches for this sport are dotted across the 1100 miles of public accessible shoreline in California. Take Mavericks, Redondo, Santa Monica, Zuma Beach, Topanga Point or Venice Beach Pier, just to name a few. Yes, that's Surfing USA.
Family holidays in California are also highly recommended. A trip to Yosemite National Park will give you the chance to spot a black bear in the distance, cool off in scenic river pools or have a picnic in the shade of the tallest sequoia trees you'd ever seen. Can you think of anything better for your children? Maybe Disneyland? Well, this incredible theme park is in California too.
Are we forgetting anything? Hollywood, perhaps? The most popular cinema is quintessentially Californian: big, lush, sunny and with a happy ending. You'll feel like the main character in a road movie when visiting California and you can even enjoy the views of the legendary Hollywood Sign from Mulholland Drive. Check out some of our California holidays below.
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