california summer
Summer in California

Top 7 places to visit in California this summer!

Spring is here and you are eagerly looking forward to traveling after the difficult year we have had. If you have California in mind for your plans, look no further to find where you must visit. Here are the top 7 places to soak up the sun this summer in California.

lake tahoe
Lake Tahoe

1. Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is not only a winter destination to enjoy its numerous snow activities, but it is a beautiful summer destination too. The trails around the lake alone steal your breath. Zephyr cove marina is awesome for water activities. If time permits, you can go on the Emerald Bay cruise for a relaxing ride on the lake. There are even helicopter rides over Lake Tahoe to take in the most wondrous scenery of this spot.

Note: 2021 #CaldorFire is still raging as of August 30th. Please avoid any trips to South Lake Tahoe at this time. Fire personnel need the roads clear to safely evacuate the locals.

Yosemite National Park

2. Yosemite National Park

Yosemite is famous for its pristine beauty, lakes, waterfalls and hikes to cater to people of all fitness levels. Half dome is a majestic spot to enjoy in this park. Don’t forget to spend a night under the stars on a campground here. If you plan on camping here, check out a few tips for campers here. Or even attend a night-time ranger talk about the stars at Glacier point. Mariposa grove is currently closed because of wind damage in January 2021, so plan accordingly.

Monterey Whale watching tour

3. Monterey

A charming coastal town on the western coast, Monterey is a lovely spot to enjoy the sea, taste exceptionally tasty seafood and relax. The Monterey aquarium is famous for its mesmerizing display of jellyfish and a large shark display. Lovers Point beach is an exceptional spot to relax here. And the cypress trees along this coast are unique.

Carmel beach

Also read: 25 Hidden gems of USA

4. Carmel-by-the-sea

Right next to Monterey is the cute fairytale town of Carmel-by-the-sea. Once you walk through its beautiful main street with small stores which beg you to step into them right away, make some time for the majestic Carmel beach. Carmel beach is a lovely white sand beach with clear waters. It is dog-friendly too. Or take a hike along the scenic coast. Do not miss out on the 17-mile drive to Pebble Beach while you are in this area.Pack a picnic to enjoy at the Spanish Bay Beach!

Point Reyes

5. Point Reyes

Point Reyes National Seashore is a picturesque cape along the Pacific Coast and is only an hour’s drive from San Francisco. It can get quite windy and chilly at this spot, so summer is the best ever time to be here. Fog is present most days. Even in summer, carry some warm layers for this spot.

What’s more, you might even catch the whale migration while you are here from the lighthouse observation deck. Just check the national park website before you go because there might be closures for certain areas in the wildlife breeding season.

Also read: Whale-watching by hiking Tomales Point at Pt. Reyes Seashore

The lighthouse here is a reason in itself to visit Point Reyes seashore, not the lighthouse structure itself, but the road you take to reach it leaves you speechless. This magnificent part of California has been a source of inspiration for many artists and is featured in films too. Make a stop at the Cypress Tree Tunnel in Inverness on the way to the lighthouse. 4

Half Moon Bay pumpkin farm

6. Half Moon Bay

There are numerous beaches along the coast of Half Moon Bay that attract visitors, and the town itself is quaint and welcoming. Half Moon Bay State Beach, Roosevelt beach, Poplar beach, Naples beach, Francis beach and Dunes beach are some of the most popular beaches along this part of west coast.
Do not forget to take a stroll along the town’s main street, it holds many historical points of interest. You can easily spend a long weekend in this beautiful spot.

Also read: Best camping spots in the USA

pismo beach dinosaur caves park
Pismo beach

7. Pismo Beach

The beach itself is remarkable. It has shallow waters for quite a stretch where little ones have fun. The water is clear and you can enjoy amazing views from the pier going into the ocean. If spending the day soaking in the sun gets a bit boring, go on one of those ATV tours along the amazing Oceano Dunes. Rent a buggy if you have little ones and make sure you have a child seat with you to take the kids along on the ride. The Dinosaur Caves park and Monarch Butterfly Grove are a few spots that are must visit when you are at Pismo beach.

Honorable mentions

If we had our way, it would have been a huge list as there are so many treasures in California. These are some of the very best too.


Check out the awesome coast here and the unique glass beach at Fort Bragg when you are in Mendocino. Read this post for more things to do in Mendocino.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Check out Subway lava tube caves when you are in this national park area. (Check caves status before going.) Also visit Burney falls. The whole park is a geological wonder. Kids especially enjoy looking at the boiling mud-pots, Bumpass Hell area, wildflowers during spring season and the Boiling Springs lake hike. #DixieFire has effected Lassen National Park this year (2021), so check if it open before you plan the trip.

Fern Canyon/Redwood National Park

Bodega Bay

Big Sur, Pfeiffer Beach

Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks

Safety first. Follow all Covid-19 safety measures and have a safe and fun summer exploring California!

Best spots to visit in California this summer
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About Priyadarshini Rajendran 201 Articles
Priyadarshini Rajendran is a travel enthusiast, avid reader and a passionate writer. She has a few of her books published and is writing more books. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked as a software consultant taking breaks for her travels. Her blog is her passion and she writes about travel, books and food on the blog. She offers customized itineraries for South Indian destinations.

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