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A visitor guide to the Golden State

About-California.com - an essential introduction
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 Introduction en français

A beginner's guide to discovering California

If California were an independent nation, it would be the 11th largest economy in the world. As it is, California is the biggest state in the USA by GDP, and the third largest in size – which pretty well says it all.  
  The "Republic of California" is quite big enough to be a nation in its own right, and in terms of tourism, if it were a nation in its own right, it would be well recognised as one of the top five world tourism destinations. And that is hardly surprising. California is the most diverse state in the USA, and the state with the widest range of tourism opportunities. It has the highest point in the 48 contiguous states, Mount Whitney, and also the lowest point in North America, in Death Valley.
   From the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada with their winter ski resorts, to the sun-drenched beaches on the coast between Los Angeles and San Diego , from the Alpine landscapes and massive forests of Sequoia National Park to the stunning rock-formations of Yosemite, from the dramatic coastal landscapes like Big Sur and small towns of rural California, to the great city of Los Angeles and the unique historic city of San Francisco, California has something for everyone... and indeed plenty for everyone.
Hôtels throughout California
A great selection at best rates from  Booking.com

 Los Angeles
 San Francisco
  For those seeking a trip back in time, California is the destination end of historic Route 66, the Mother Road, that can still be followed for many miles through the California back country. Or up there in the hills, there are some amazing ghost towns to be discovered, like Bodie, once (for a few years) one of the wildest and most thriving gold-mining towns in the West, in the days when the West was wild.
  For those more interested in fabulous and incredible landscapes, a trip north or south from San Francisco on the twisting and turning California Highway 1, which hugs the coastline all the way from San Luis Obispo north of LA, to Leggett, 150 miles north of San Francisco, is a must. So too are the unique  landscapes of the Mojave Desert, including Death Valley  and the intriguing Joshua Tree park, with its unique vegetation.
  And of course California is a lot more than that; it is a state with amazing wildlife, and of course it is Hollywood and Disneyland, Silicon Valley and Palm Springs; plus one of the world's major wine-producing areas,  and so much more into the bargain.

    To visit California - as any other state in the USA - visitors from other countries (except Canadian citizens, who can enter the USA without a visa) must first obtain a US visa or visa exemption. For more on this see Visas and ESTA on About-the-USA.com. For information about how to buy and pay for things in the USA, see Buying and paying on About-the-USA.com

California facts in brief

Surface area : 159,959 sq. miles (403,934 km²)
Population :  39,144,800 (2015) - the most populous state in the USA
State capital : Sacramento
Joined the United States : 1847
Cities with over 1 million inhabitants : Los Angeles, San Diego, San José

About-California.com   Home page 

Originally colonised by the Spanish, California became a part of the United States of America in the year 1848, at the end of the  Mexican-American war.


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Photo top of page : Eric Niequist

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