11California: A country unto itself
Here’s what we love about California: the most populous state in the US is a country unto itself. With diverse climates, topographies and people, you can get lost in any setting you like. If you like the ocean, California offers world-class beaches and surf. If the desert is your thing, head inland to the more arid highlands. You can find it warm, cool, wet, dry, and outright hot. There’s vast wilderness, rolling hills, and the largest trees in the world. There are cities with dense traffic, and wilderness so expansive that you won’t see another person for miles.
There’s no better microcosm of this point than the fact that the highest point in the continental United States (Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet above sea level) and the lowest point in North America (Badwater Basin, at 282 feet below sea level) are in the same county, separated by only 85 miles as the crow flies. California, indeed, has it all.
With all of this variety, it’s impossible to narrow down a list of magical places to just 10, without leaving some out. But here are our top picks: