Fun things to do in California

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    Universal City ~Universal Studios

    by Yaqui Written Jun 13, 2009

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    Every year we like to take the boys somewhere fun and we decided it was time to let them experience Universal Studios, although my oldest has been here a couple of time with the youth centers. My youngest though was all big eyed and had question after question of all the shops and restaurants (City Walk) that you have to walk to, to get to the entrance of the Studios.

    I remember in the old days once you got in, you lined up right away to get onto the trams and they took you on the back lot tour and then let you off to see the rest of the exhibits. Not anymore. The tram tour is an option, but an option everyone should experience. You get a wonderful view of Universal CityI thoroughly enjoyed my day with the family here. We did most of the attractions and found that the wait time was not bad at all. You will get wet on the Jurassic Park ride and might find yourself getting a little wet on the tram ride if you sit on the right side, so beware…lol! All in all it was a great visit. Oh, its not cheap eating there, but hey it’s costly at most amusement parks now days so I am just reminding you of any sticker shock. Parking is at least $10.00, but plenty of spaces available and getting there is really easy too! Check it out, loads of very trendy restaurant and stores waiting for you to experience and explore.

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    NORTHERN ELEPHANT SEALS

    by LoriPori Updated Nov 8, 2004

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    Northern Elephant Seals can be seen on the beaches 12 miles north of Cambria, south of the Peidras Blancas Lighthouse. These creatures have huge noses that give these beasts their name. These large mammals may seem slow and docile but can be very dangerous when provoked. Hans and I were thrilled when we got to see a large elephant seal emerging out of the water and then make its way up the sand, so he could lay in the sun with the others.

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    DRIVING DOWN LOMBARD STREET

    by LoriPori Updated Dec 20, 2005

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    This was a total thrill to go down the "crookedest street in the world". LOMBARD STREET has eight sharp turns, known as switchbacks, on a 40 degree slope. There are also stairways on both sides for pedestrians. Located in the Russian Hill District, the descent begins at Hyde Street.
    We went down not once, but twice. What a blast!!!

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    Oceanside ~Mission San Luis Rey de Francia

    by Yaqui Written Jun 13, 2009

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    As you stand before such a beautiful historical momument, just stand and look around imagining nothing around other than simple huts or houses that may have dotted the landscape and to look up at such a huge structure. I can imagine what an imposing building this must have been for settlers entering the valley during this time. I bet the padres had no idea at what a impact these missions would really have during this time and way it still influences our faith.

    This mission is eighteenth of twenty-one California Missions dotting up and along the coast of California. Found in 1798 by Fr Fermin de Lausen and still operated by Franciscan Friars of California, it still serves the community with services, social events, retreats, museum, historical educational tool, and a reminder of our past and future. Only four Franciscan Missions remaining Franciscan Missions
    Tour Information for the Musuem:
    10:00 - 4:00 PM Daily
    Adults: $5.00
    Youth (under 18): $3.00
    Family: $20.00
    Under 5 Free

    The Musuem has many wonderful artifacts, so check it out!

    MISSION SAN LUÍS REY DE FRANCIA Historical Landmark No.239

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    Bakersfield ~ California Living Museum

    by Yaqui Written Jun 12, 2009

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    This a wonderful place to spend the day with the family. Lots of wonderful animals who are cared and loved here. The main purpose of the museum is to education, recreation, conservation, and research. Many of animals were injured at one time in the wilderness and were given a home to heal, but because of their injuries they cannot take care of themselves in the wilderness again. So they help the public in the importance of respecting our environment and for all creatures who live in it. A great place to bring everyone!

    Around Christmas Holiday they have a wonderful display of lights that decorates the whole park. It is actually a great time to see some of the animals that are nocturnal.

    Open daily; 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    Admissions and gift store close at 4:00 p.m.
    Winter hours: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.; November through January. Admissions and gift store close at 4:00 p.m.

    Closed Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day & New Year's Day.

    CALM ADMISSION:
    Adults $7
    Seniors $5
    Students with ID $4
    Children 3-17 $4
    Children under 3 years of age are admitted FREE

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    Barstow~Calico Ghost Town

    by Yaqui Written Jun 12, 2009

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    Calico’s name was derived for the many colors that King Mountain possessed with its blue, red, gray, green, vermilion, brown, and yellow rock. Perched high against King Mountain, Calico Ghost Town has experienced way too often, what fires do to old mining towns. Luckily, for Calico, it keeps alive by those who see her as a living institution that continues to tell her colorful stories and educate many of us what it must have been like to live among the fiery days of the desert sun and survive the bone chilling evenings.

    Calico prospered when silver was discovered. Once the mine started to go bust, approximately $86 million worth of silver was found in King Mountain from 1881-1896. Yet, borate was still lucrative and about $45 million worth was mined till 1929. She boasted at one time having at least 20 saloons, several red light districts, merchants, restaurants, hotels, and even a China Town. Her population almost exceeded 1,200 souls. Oh, let us not forget the famous four-legged postal carrier who brought mail to the vast mining camps that graced all around King Mountain.

    Open 10:00 am--4:00 pm Daily, also by Appointment
    (Subject to Staff Availability)
    Telephone: (760) 254-3679
    Email: calico@mscomm.com

    Write: Lane House & Museum
    Calico Ghost Town Regional Park P.O. Box 638
    Yermo, CA 92398

    Billy Holcomb Chapter No. 52.

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    THE BREATHTAKING BEAUTY OF THE BIG SUR

    by LoriPori Updated Nov 8, 2004

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    You must take in the beauty of the Big Sur. It winds along the Pacific Coast and is a 90-mile stretch of awesome beauty. As we drove along the coast, it was just one incredible view after another.

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    Bodie State Historic Park

    by Yaqui Written Jun 12, 2009

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    The town inherited it name from William S. Body, yeah I know, not the same spelling, but the towns’ folk wanted to insure it was supposedly pronounced right according to historians. Gold was discovered here in 1859 by Mr. Body. By 1879 during it most notorious hey day, it boasted a population of ten thousand and 2,000 buildings. Can you imagine what had transpired with having 65 saloons? Killing after killing from gun and fist fights from all the liquor that had to be brewed constantly due to the demand. Let’s not forget what goes up must come down, for instance all those dang stay bullets that probably found many unlucky victims. Let’s not forget to mention the bad men that were lured here by Gold that found it lucrative to live here.

    Still as little as four years time, the mining was drying up and the gold mining companies were going bust. Like the saying goes, “when it rains it pours”, the town was ravaged by two fires that only left behind 5 percent of its original buildings and was a ghost town by the 1940’s. It became a state historic park in 1962 and maintained in a state of "arrested decay", so lucky tourist like my self can see what it was like to live back then. I am still amazed how we ever survived the test of time.

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    Cholame ~ James Dean Memorial

    by Yaqui Updated Jun 12, 2009

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    Born James Bryon Dean Feb 8, 1931 became one of those most unforgettable Hollywood Icons that are synonymous with Humphrey Bolegart, Marilyn Monroe and Clark Cable. James Dean was known for his need for speed. His love of fast wheels evolved to purchasing his 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder, which unfortunately was the vehicle he died in only after two weeks of purchase. Irony is, he was even given a ticket for speeding that same day while traveling along highway 46. Blackwell's Corner market is the last stop he made to chat with a fellow race driver and buy a pack of cigarettes. Not soon while trying to pass another vehicle before intersection 41 and 46 he collides with oncoming traffic and cartwheels out of control, which enviably becomes his last ride on September 30, 1955.

    A memorial has been erected to honor the fallen rebel. Next to the memorial is a nice little restaurant Jacks Ranch Cafe. We took a drive to see the unique bill board that graces James Dean face at Blackwell’s Corner Market. If you continue on Highway 46 and as you pass the junction of Highway 46 and 41 you'll see Jacks Ranch Cafe on the right, be sure to stop there because this is where the memorial is located.

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    San Diego ~Star Of India

    by Yaqui Written Jun 13, 2009

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    This very real exhibit is part of the Maritime Museum in San Diego. If you enjoy the sea and love exploring this is the place for you. My family absolutely loved being on the boats and actually feeling the water. Many of ships are still used for special events all year long. The Star of India is a real beauty. She is the oldest active ship and a California and National Historic Landmark. She was constructed at the Ramsey Shipyard on the Isle of Man. She was originally known as the Euterpe, Greek muse of music. She began her very long career in 1863 as a full rigged ship and was constructed of iron mostly instead of wood, which was rare back then.

    She had a very rough start with many unhappy times, but eventually in 1871 she began a new career transporting emigrants to New Zealand for the Shaw Savill of London. She sailed around the world 21 times lasting almost a year for each trip. Life on board while sailing was tough. Sea sickness and others diseases claimed many during her journey. Yet, many survived to embark with a new life in New Zealand. Eventually she was sold again back to the America's in 1898 to work as a fishing boat.

    Her new owners Alaska Packers renamed her the Star of India in 1906. By 1923 old sailing ships fell on hard times with the steam ships taking over and many found themselves docked for good. Yet, in 1926 San Diegans wanted to save her and bought her for $9,000 and this is where she found her home. She was docked for some time because of the depression and WWII. Finally in 1957 famous author Captain Alan Villiers wrote about her said condition and once again money began trickling in to restore her.

    Historical Marker NO. 1030 STAR OF INDIA

    Volunteers offered their services and by 1976 she was fully restored. She sailed once again after a fifty years. She still is one of San Diegans pride and enjoys and is dedicated in keeping her maintained.

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    San Jose ~Winchester Mystery House

    by Yaqui Written Jun 13, 2009

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    In 1884, a wealthy widow named Sarah L. Winchester began one of the most oddest task till her death 38 years later by having her house constantly built on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to keep the dead spirits away from exacting revenge on her for her husbands invention, the "Winchester Rifle."

    What can be said about being so superstitions that such fear can affect the very aspect of everyday living?! Goes to show you that money cannot buy you happiness. Although being one of the oddest architectural built Victorian homes, it still has that lasting beauty of a hardy era. This house encompasses about 6 acres so far, 160 rooms, 47 fireplaces, 13 bathrooms and 10,000 windows. The windows always encompasses at least 13 windows in a room, stairs of 13 steps that lead to no where.

    When we took the tour the house felt errie and sad. You can almost feel it. While outside enjoying the gardens it almost felt someone was always watching you from every window.

    There is lots to see here and you will get your monies worth in the tour, in fact that is the only way you can see because of the safety factor.
    The house has many dangerous aspect to it since sometimes doors way lead to a drop off to the next floor or floors left undone. So stick to the tour!

    California Historical Marker#868

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    Ventura ~Mission San Buenaventura

    by Yaqui Written Jun 13, 2009

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    Founded in 1782 by Fray Junipero Serra on Easter Morning, March 31 and the ninth and last founded during his lifetime, and one of six he personally dedicated. A permanent construction began in 1792, but was not complete till almost 1809 and dedicated on Sept. 9. Services began the very next day.

    The mission survived earthquakes and pirates. It's land and possessions were seized by the Mexican government, but later after the state was part of the union Bishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany petitioned the United States Government to return that part of the Mission holdings comprising the church, clergy residence, cemetery, orchard, and vineyard to the Catholic Church. The request was granted in the form of a Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln on May 23, 1862.

    This mission is still a very active catholic church. I was so impressed with how they have kept the interior as it was over two hundred years. The paintings on the walls are all original and so old. Masses are still held here, so be sure not to interrupt a mass during your visit. It has a gift shop and mini museum and a beautiful patio area too.

    MISSION SAN BUENAVENTURA Historical Marker NO. 310

    Hours:
    Mon - Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Closed Major Holidays

    Admission:
    Donation for the Museum and a self-guided tour is $1.00 for adults and 50 cents for children.

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    Los Angels ~Museum of the American West

    by Yaqui Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This museum was a creation of Gene Autry 1907-1998 the singing cowboy and owner of the Angels baseball team, who wanted to give back to the community of something that was his life and had given him joy and such success during his very long career. His love of the west, movies, radio and culture can be seen and enjoyed here. It is filled with loads of wonderful paintings, sculptures, crafts, artifacts of the days of the westerns movies, TV and radio. It has so much for all ages to see, learn and remember of those by gone days of westerns. My hat is always off as a salute when I visit here. It brings back so many wonderful memories and reminds us all of what hardy stock we ALL come from.

    The museum and Museum Store are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Summer Hours: On Thursdays, from Memorial Day through Labor Day, the museum and Museum Store are open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    Closed on most Mondays, we are open for Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and New Year's Day. Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    Hours:
    Museum of the American West
    Griffith Park
    $7.50 for Adults
    $5.00 for students and seniors 60+
    $3.00 for children 2-12

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    Manzanar National Historic Site

    by Yaqui Written Jun 13, 2009

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    When Japan’s attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, plunging the United States into World War II. Racial prejudices and paranoia changed the lives of 120,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry living in the United States. In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the Secretary of War to establish camps by removing anyone from those areas who might threaten the war effort. Without due process and against the very core of the Constitution, the government barely gave anyone of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast only days to decide what to do with their houses, farms, businesses, and other possessions. Most families sold all their belongings at a loss, rented properties to neighbors, while some left possessions with friends or religious groups. Others either abandoned their property or while many just burned their belongings. Each family was assigned an identification number and transported by cars, buses, trucks, and trains, taking only what they could carry on their backs. They were transported under military guard to 17 temporary assembly centers located in Washington, Oregon, California, and Arizona. Then from there were moved to one of 10 hastily built relocation centers that were inadequate to keep warm during winters, harsh winds and keeping cool during the soaring temperatures of Owens Valley summer months.

    This is a historic 814 acre site is open every day from dawn to dusk.

    Interpretive Center
    Summer hours (April 1 - October 31) 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
    Winter hours (November 1 - March 31) 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    Closed December 25

    Manzanar National Historic Site
    P.O. Box 426
    5001 Highway 395
    Independence, CA 93526

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    Morro Bay ~ Rock

    by Yaqui Written Jun 13, 2009

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    This 576 foot rocky mound was first sighted by Cabrillo in 1542 and is now a famous landmark for the town of Morro Bay.

    Morro Bay has many unique qualities compared to other Californian ocean side communities. It has a natural embayment, and the Army added to that by building breakwaters across the north end of the harbor to have access to the rock. This allowed a wonderful open area for day camping and fishing access to the ocean. Plus, the surfers like to launch into the breakwater end that allows them to swim to the waves. It also gave birdwatchers a unique access to watch many species of birds especially the Peregrine Falcons that live in their natural environment safely.

    Although, the power plant does cast a shadowy figure (necessary evil) that is unappealing, the bay and the rock are still lovely to look at and enjoy. This area is also ideal for kayaking because of the breakwaters. So enjoy the shops, restaurants and outdoor activity. Just relax and have a good time.

    Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center:

    845 Embarcadero Road, Suite D
    Morro Bay, California 93442
    phone 805-772-4467
    fax 805-772-6038

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