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Life in California is a life lived outdoors, and a vacation to the Golden State is no different. Some of the best experiences and most exciting adventures in California can be found in the great outdoors. Whether you are road tripping up the Pacific Highway, hiking the John Muir Trail or taking to the ocean on one of the many cruises from California, there’s a whole world of outdoor excitement to be found in this surprisingly wild corner of America. Read on for some of the best outdoor experiences in California.
Channel Islands National Park
Immerse yourself in nature on one of the five remote islands off the southern California coast that make up the Channel Islands National Park. Taking the trip on the Island Packers ferry is an adventure in itself, and the islands are home to lush, verdant plant life and a huge variety of fascinating and fantastic animals.
Surf La Jolla
The breaks at La Jolla are out of this world, and the entire stretch of coast from Encinitas to Point Loma is an unparalleled surf destination. There’s nothing quite like a day spent out on the waves, so grab a board and a wetsuit for a wonderfully outdoorsy experience.
North Coast Beaches
The northern coast of California is a world away from the golden sands and glamour of the south. Jagged cliffs and towering redwood forests define a stunning yet rugged coastline, offering extraordinary sights like the shimmering glass of Glass Beach and the amazing sea stacks of Goat Rock Beach, and wonderful outdoor adventures, hiking, and exploring up and down the coast.
Hike the John Muir Trail
Although someway inland, hiking the full extent of the John Muir Trail is an experience not to be missed for adventurers, explorers and lovers of the great outdoors. A remarkable trail that covers over 200 miles and crosses some of California’s most awe-inspiring landscapes, including mountain passes, sequoia forests and Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous US.
Camp at Two HarboRs
A short boat ride from Long Beach, Two Harbours on Catalina Island offers an amazing natural escape from the real world, and a wonderful overnight wild camping experience. With gorgeous ocean views, awesome hiking trails, and snorkeling and diving in the Pacific, this is a superb way to take a break from everyday life.
Of course, not every outdoorsy experience has to be gritty, rugged or adventurous! Big Sur offers a touch of arty, hippy luxury with a lovely rural mountain atmosphere, and gives you the chance to relax and pamper yourself surrounded by glorious sights and the natural environment.
Driving up Big Sur from Bixby Bridge offers a wealth of amazing sights such as McWay Falls, Point Sur State Historic Park, Ragged Point, and the natural hot springs at the Esalen Institute are the perfect way to relax. Perched high on the cliffs above the rough ocean waves below these alfresco natural hot tubs will have you forgetting the cares of the world in no time!