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When it comes to tourism in California, the mind typically goes to the Southern half of the state…Los Angeles, Hollywood, San Diego, and the sun and sand. But, the Northern part of the state is chock-full of awesomeness as well, from nature to the cultural hub of San Francisco. Here are just a few spots worthy of inclusion on your itinerary.

San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the most beloved cities in the whole United States and with good reason. It is a melting pot of cultures, uninhibited and full of fascinating people from all walks of life. The architecture and hilly landscape just adds to its appeal. There is no shortage of tourist attractions, from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Alcatraz Prison Museum. You can find authentic cuisine from every corner of the globe.

There are also lots of great attractions in the surrounding areas, such as some of the best casinos in Northern California, and all sorts of nature activities.

Top Places To Visit In Northern California

Monterey Bay

Monterey Bay offers amazing coastal views, small cities oozing with charm, beaches and myriad activities to keep you entertained. There is the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk where you can play some games, take a ride on the Giant Dipper and nosh on all sorts of delicious treats like cotton candy. Check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Fisherman’s Wharf for some top-notch seafood.

Yosemite National Park

Without a doubt, one of the most popular attractions in the northern half of the state. Situated among the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada, the park is home to several ecosystems, unique flora and fauna, towering granite cliffs, trees that are hundreds of years old, lakes, and waterfalls. Some of the most popular activities here are rock-climbing and mountain biking.

Redwood National Park

Home to the majestic redwood trees, here you will see the tallest in the world. You can also find many other flora species such as Douglas firs. There are a number of trails perfect for hiking, biking, horseback riding and scenic drives.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

This is an interesting attraction for anyone but particularly geology buffs as this is the only place you can observe four distinct types of volcanic structures. This major tourist attraction is very popular because it contains an active volcano. You can backpack through here, and during the winter, you can go skiing and snowshoeing.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is not only one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Golden State, but in the whole country. This alpine lake is the perfect backdrop for a variety of fun activities such as hiking, water sports, gambling, skiing and golfing.

Big Sur Coast

This is one of the most beautiful spots in the state, with jaw-dropping views that will take your breath away. There is great hiking here and a wonderful view of Pfeiffer Falls. There is a beautiful beach as well as the Hearst Castle, with its magnificent architecture and art work.