Best Places To Visit In Northern California

Most of the best places to visit in Northern California are easily accessible. There is something for everyone. It doesn’t matter how you define fun, there is something for you. The people in California are also welcoming and visitors feel safe in almost all locations.

Best Places To Visit In Northern California

Monterey Bay Aquarium

 The Monterey Bay Aquarium is located in Cannery Row, Monterey, California. It has a size of 20,000 square feet (1,900 m²) of decks that allow visitors to have a spacious lookout.

It was the first aquarium to show a living kelp forest when it opened in October 1984. It is a non-profit organization that researches and ensures conservation of the sea otter, various birds, and tunas.

Seafood Watch is a sustainable seafood advisory list published by the aquarium at the beginning of 1999. It receives around 2 million visitors each year.  

It has also been featured in two PBS nature documentaries as well as appeared in film and television productions.

To keep everyone spaced out and moving in one direction visitors follow a one-pay path through the aquarium.

When we went there, we had to choose the Ocean’s Edge path or the Open Sea path. You can also choose both as many times as you would like.

If you visit Monterey Bay Aquarium, you will see diverse marine life that includes sea otters, penguins, and the world’s largest Octopus.

The Mystery Spot

The Mystery Spot can be found in Santa Cruz, Northern California. It was discovered in 1939 and opened to the public in 1940. It defies gravity with a tilt-induced visual illusion.

People who visit experience an illusion because of the environment that is oddly tilted. Standing on a tiled floor, misperceptions of the height and orientation of objects occur.

When outside on the level ground, the slant of the building causes people to judge the height of the people suing the slant building roof instead of the true horizon.

Other visuals include balls rolling uphill, water flowing uphill, and people leaning in impossible angles without falling. The experience will amaze you.

The Tech Interactive

Tech Interactive is located in downtown San Jose, California. It was established on October 31, 1998.

It has a size of 132,000-square-foot (12,300m²). In 2018 an expansion of the facility by 63,000 square feet (5,900 m²) was proposed.

It is a family-friendly science and technology center. The structure was designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta.

Tech Interactive is a landmark for Silicon Valley which gives a view into the most innovative place on Earth.

It also has experimental and design challenge experiences which empower people to innovate with compassion, creativity, and curiosity.

At the interactive IMAX Dome Theater, you will experience the world’s first laser projector for a dome theater. A four-story wraparound screen and 12,000 watts of digital surround sound, giving you a one-of-a-kind movie experience.

Winchester Mystery House

The Winchester Mystery House is located in San Jose, California. It was originally the personal residence of Sarah Winchester. A widow to one of the firearms magnates William Wirt Winchester.

It’s a Queen Anne-style Victorian mansion which is famous for its size. It was first constructed in 1886, is privately owned, and serves as a tourist attraction.

It is believed that the property was haunted by the ghosts of those killed with Winchester rifles. The house is made up of turning and twisted halls, staircases to nowhere, and doors with no rooms on the other side.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is one of the most picturesque destinations and one of the best places to visit in Northern California.

It is located in between Tuolumne, Mariposa, Mono, and Madera counties in California. It was first established on October 1, 1980.

It has an area of 748,436 acres (3,028.81km²). It received the status of a world heritage site around 1984.

It is recognized for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, meadows, glaciers, and biological diversity.

It also has an elevation range from 2,127 to 13,114 feet (648 to 3,997 m). The park has five primary vegetation zones that divided into alpine, sub-alpine, upper mountain forest, lower mountain forest and oak woodland.  

More than 20% of California’s 7,000 plant species are found within Yosemite. The area has suitable habitat for more than 160 rare plants.

It also has rare local geologic formations and unique soils characterizing ranges that are restricted to many of these plants.

When we visited the Yosemite National Park, we planned a day trip and hiked the beautiful trails. Don’t forget to bring along your binoculars to help you spot different wildlife.

17-mile Drive

The 17-mile Drive is a pretty picturesque road through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula, California.

It’s a 17-mile journey through some of the most beautiful views along California’s coast. A journey that takes you to through the Pacific coastline to the majestic forest.

Some of the landmarks that you will see along the route include; the Lone Cypress, the Spanish Bay, and the world-famous Pebble Beach Golf.

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is one of the best places to visit in Northern California that you can’t miss when you travel there.

It’s located in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of Visalia, California. It was first established on September 25, 1890, and has a size of 404,064 acres (1,635 km²) of forest mountainous terrain.

The area was designated as a world heritage site in 1976. It was recognized for its giant sequoia trees that include the Sherman tree the largest tree on Earth.

The park contains half of the ten largest trees on earth. Has the highest point of Mount Whitney at 14,505 feet (4,421 m) above sea level.

It is also home to abundant wildlife bobcats, foxes, ground squirrels, rattlesnakes, and mule deer.

Although they are rarely seen some mountain lions and the Pacific fishers can be spotted from time to time.

At higher elevations of between 5,500 and 9,000 feet (1,700 and 2,700 m) in elevation, the landscape becomes dominated by a coniferous belt.

The type of trees you can expect to find here are Ponderosa, Jeffrey, sugar, and lodgepole pine. White and red fir as well as the giant sequoia trees are also present in the area.

The Sequoia National Park should be on every adventurer’s bucket list. I recommend it because you will have a sense of awe as you walk through this massive national forest.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake. The lake lies at 6,225 feet (1,897 m) between California and Nevada, west of Carson City.

It’s the largest alpine lake in North America and has a size of 122,160,280 acres (150.7 km³). It also has a depth of 1,645 feet (501 m), making it the second deepest in the United States after Crater Lake in Oregon.

It is known for lots of winter sports, outdoor summer recreation activities, and scenery that can be enjoyed at any time of the year.

This is one of my best places to visit in Northern California because it is surrounded by accommodation facilities.

One of my favorite spots is the Squaw Valley Mountain Resort, which housed people over the world during the winter Olympics in 1960.

Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning one point seven miles wide (2.7 km). It has a straight that connects San Francisco to Marin County.

It has 6 lanes, pedestrian and bicycle lanes. Its total length is 8,980 feet (2,737.1 m), about 1.7 miles (2.7 km), a width of 90 feet (27.4 m), and a height of 746 feet (227.4 m).

The bridge was designed by engineer Joseph Strauss in 1917 and was opened in 1937. There was no other suspension bridge that preceded it in height or length.

Final Thoughts

Northern California is one of the travel destinations that doesn’t disappoint. If you are thinking of visiting the region, plan accordingly. You are more likely to run out of time before you can visit all the places.

I hope this post on the best places to visit in Northern California gave you some ideas on places that you should visit. Please share it with other people and help fellow travelers hoping to visit Northern California.

10 Best Places To Visit In Northern California

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for the ideas on some of the places we can visit as a family. I love waterfalls so I will be looking out for some!

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