Some cool and unusual things to do in California

Cool and Unusual Things to do in California - Long term travel

I once read a study that found that people thought that they would be happier if they moved to California. Fair enough, it’s a top spot. Warm weather, palm trees, convertibles, beaches, surfing and the sun, doesn’t sound like too bad a place really, but there’s actually far more to it than that or the traditional tourist spots. Here’s a (very) short list of some of the more unusual things to do in California.

Let’s start by saying that it’s one of the few places in the world you can visit where a few hours drive in different directions will put you either on a sunny beach or snowboarding down a mountain.

However you’re travelling the state, be it slumming it in camper or ‘luxing’ your way around by renting some of the truly amazing California beach house rentals up and down the coastline (6 bedroom, Beverly Hills grand villa? Alright, well I guess I could slum it for a night… sure!), there’s something in Cali for everyone. That being said, with the weather turned to ‘awesome’ basically every day I’d recommend road tripping up the coastline to anyone keen to banish the winter blues.

When I was last in the States I spent a few weeks driving all over California: The Mojave, Death Valley, Yosemite, San Fran and then up the coast through Oregon all the way to Washington State. It was amazing.

I went snow camping in Yosemite and almost froze my family jewels off, went 18 holes of golf with the devil in Death Valley and generally had the time of my life.

Instead of rattling off some of the more traditional tourist sites and things to do while you’re visiting California, I thought I’d put a short list of some of the cooler more unusual things to explore.

The Sailing Stones of Racetrack Playa
I mentioned how I love Death Valley in other posts I’ve written, it’s an amazing place and like nowhere else on earth. You could quite literally be on another planet in some areas and that’s just straight up cool. But you know what else is just cool? Moving rocks! The mysterious Sailing Stones are large rocks that seem to move around the desert leaving trails behind them. Turns out it’s an ice and wind thing but I’m keen to keep believing they’re basically alive.

The Salton Sea
Popular with interesting people and over 400 species of birds, this abandoned accidental sea is a surreal landscape as desolate as it is interesting. Abandoned houses, cars and other signed of human habitation as well as copious amounts of dead fish and bones make for a rather morbid but undoubtedly cool experience. Just off the 86 it’s easy to find but be mindful that people still call the area home.

Preston Castle
A 46,000 square foot, 120 room ‘castle’ built in 1890 as a juvenile rehabilitation facility for ‘wayward boys’. Abandoned since the 1960’s it’s a creepy place at night, especially since it’s said to be haunted. If you’re keen there are overnight ghost tours available for about $100. Boo!

Avenue of Giants
The beautiful scenic stretch of road, that meanders around some of the oldest and tallest trees in the USA (some of them over 300 feet high!). Beautiful land breathtaking in its grandeur and scale, it’s an amazing experience, easy to find, just head North on the 101 until you see the sign.

California is a really cool place, culture and tech aside, the natural beauty of the state is amazing and enough of a reason to visit on it’s own before you even go into the food, culture and people. Go there immediately!

Those are some really big trees!

About Author


Hi, I'm Pete, an ex-cubical slave and corporate love monkey currently writing my way around the world. My background is in branding, digital marketing, media and I'm probably about a level 10 at moustaches.

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