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21 Viewpoints to explore in California

California

The most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area.

Aguereberry Point
Aguereberry PointAguereberry Point, California 92328, USA

Aguereberry Point is a 6,300 foot peak, similar to Dantes View on the far side, 20 miles away in a direct line but 77 miles by road. Because of its westerly setting, this place is one of the best locations to photograph the valley in afternoon and around sunset. The promontory is actually 1,000 feet higher than the more famous Dante’s View vista point and provides a stunning 360 degree view of Death Valley.

Alamo Square
Alamo SquareAlamo Square, San Francisco, CA, USA

Alamo Square is a residential neighborhood and park in San Francisco, California. Its boundaries are not well-defined but are generally considered to be Webster Street on the east, Golden Gate Avenue on the north, Divisadero Street on the west, and Fell Street on the south. The well known postcard motif "Painted Ladies" is located in Alamo Square.

Almaden Quicksilver County Park
Almaden Quicksilver County Park21785 Almaden Rd, San Jose, CA 95120, USA

4,163 acres (17 km²) park that includes the grounds of former mercury ("quicksilver") mines. The park is named after the New Almaden Quicksilver Mines, which were named after the mercury mine in (old) Almadén, Spain, and produced mercury that was used to process ore during the Gold Rush.

Alum Rock Park
Alum Rock Park15350 Penitencia Creek Rd, San Jose, CA 95127, USA

The 720 acres (2.9 km2) park offers 13 miles (21 km) of trails. The narrow floor of the valley includes a visitor center, a small museum/animal rehab facility, picnic areas, playgrounds, lawns, sand volleyball pits, mineral springs, lush plant life, woodlands, creek play opportunities, and occasional group camping.

Bernal Heights Park
Bernal Heights Park3400-3416 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA

Bernal Hill provides visitors with a breathtaking 360-degree panorama and clear views of San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, downtown, San Bruno Mountain, and the hills of the East Bay. At its highest elevation is a privately-owned equipment building and 50-foot tall telecommunications tower. The tower does not have an official name, but some residents call it "Sutrito", as it resembles a shorter version of Sutro Tower​​​​​​​.

Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA

An aquarium and the public outreach center for Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California. Birch Aquarium at Scripps has an annual attendance of more than 439,000, including more than 40,000 school children, and features more than 3,000 animals representing 380 species. The hilltop site provides views of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus and the Pacific Ocean.

Cabrillo National Monument
Cabrillo National Monument1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr, San Diego, CA 92106, USA

Southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula. It commemorates the landing of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay on September 28, 1542. This event marked the first time a European expedition had set foot on what later became the West Coast of the United States.

Coronado Bridge
Coronado BridgeCA-75, Coronado, CA 92118, USA

A 3,407 meter (2.1 mi) long prestressed concrete/steel girder bridge, crossing over San Diego Bay, linking San Diego with Coronado, California. The pillars supporting the bridge on the eastern end are painted with huge murals as part of Chicano Park, the largest collection of Chicano art murals in the world.

Dante’s View
Dante’s ViewDeath Valley National Park, Dantes View Rd, California 92328, USA

Dante's View offers a dramatic panoramic view of Death Valley from a very brink of an edge. It is also an excellent venue for night time star viewing with telescopes.

Griffith Observatory
Griffith Observatory2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA

Commands a view of the Los Angeles Basin, including Downtown Los Angeles to the southeast, Hollywood to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. The observatory offers a close view of the Hollywood Sign and an extensive array of space and science-related displays. Admission has been free since the observatory's opening in 1935.

Jumbo Rocks Campground
Jumbo Rocks CampgroundTwentynine Palms, CA 92277, USA

Campground surrounded by large boulders and rock formations for which the Joshua Tree National Park is well known for.

Minaret Vista
Minaret VistaLookout Point Rd, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546, USA

This is a mountain pass on Highway 203 in the central Sierra Nevada. The pass, lying on the Madera-Mono County border, is within the Mammoth Ranger District of the Inyo National Forest and located near Devils Postpile National Monument, Mammoth Lakes, and Mammoth Mountain. It offers views of the Ritter Range, including The Minarets, Mount Ritter and Banner Peak, to the west and the Long Valley Caldera, the Glass Mountains and the White Mountains to the east.

Mount San Jacinto
Mount San JacintoMount San Jacinto, California, USA

The highest peak of the San Jacinto Mountains, and of Riverside County. It is one of the most topographically prominent peaks in the United States. Its north escarpment climbs over 10,000 feet (3,000 m) in 7 miles (11 km), one of the largest gains in elevation over such a small horizontal distance.

Mt San Jacinto State Park
Mt San Jacinto State Park25905 CA-243, Idyllwild-Pine Cove, CA 92549, USA

Mt. San Jacinto State Park offers over 50 miles of hiking trails located within a 14,000-acre pristine wilderness. All trails are accessed by exiting the Mountain Station of Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and descending a concrete pathway to Long Valley where you will find picnic tables, the ranger station, flush toilets, and several easy trails.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway1 Tram Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262, USA

The largest rotating aerial tramway in the world. The tramway spans along the breathtaking cliffs of Chino Canyon, transporting riders from the desert floor to the pristine wilderness of the Mt. San Jacinto State Park. Tram cars rotate slowly during the journey, offering picturesque and spectacular vistas of the rock formations and the valley floor below. Once you reach the Mountain Station—you can enjoy restaurants, observation decks, natural history museum, two documentary theaters, gift shop

Runyon Canyon Park
Runyon Canyon Park2000 N Fuller Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046, USA

60-acre (65 ha) park with numerous hiking trails. Because of its proximity to residential areas of Hollywood and the Hollywood Hills, celebrity sightings are common here.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

Largest urban national park in the United States and the world. It preserves one of the best examples of a Mediterranean climate ecosystem in the world. It also protects one of the highest densities of archaeological resources in any mountain range in the world.

Table Mountain
Table MountainTable Mountain, California 95965, USA

North Table Mountain and South Table Mountain are two prominent basaltic mesas overlooking the city of Oroville, California. In the scientific literature, both mesas are also known as North Oroville Table Mountain and South Oroville Table Mountain in order to differentiate them from the Table Mountain. They are named for their flat surface, like a tabletop; because of this it is often mistakenly called Table Top Mountain.

The Getty
The Getty1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049, USA

Well known for its architecture, gardens, and views overlooking Los Angeles. The Museum features pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts; and photographs from the 1830s through present day from all over the world. The Museum's collection includes outdoor sculpture displayed on terraces and in gardens.

Torrey Pines State Reserve
Torrey Pines State Reserve12600 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA

2,000 acres of coastal state park, one of the wildest stretches of land (8 km²) on the Southern California coast. one of the wildest stretches of land (8 km²) on the Southern California coast. The reserve consists of a plateau with cliffs that overlook Torrey Pines State Beach, and a lagoon that is vital to migrating seabirds. Many different kinds of wildlife and flora are found within the reserve, including bobcats, foxes, skunks, raccoons, coyotes, rabbits, cacti, coastal chaparral, and the ra

Map of Viewpoints to explore in California