The Most Beautiful Places in California You Didn't Know Existed

The Most Beautiful Places in California You Didn't Know Existed

Photo of Thrillist LA

From Yosemite and Big Sur, to Joshua Tree and Santa Barbara, California is home to some of the most beautiful places on the West Coast, nay, the country, nay, THE WORLD, okay reverse nay, still just the country.

14 Places
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    It's maybe the most beautiful-looking rock place in the entire state. Also it was featured prominently on U2's The Joshua Tree album cover. So there's that.
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    This way WAY Northern California redwood forest on the Lost Coast is like any other redwood forest, except it's known as the Enchanted Forest (!!!)
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    While years of dumping Fort Bragg garbage along the coastline in the '50s and '60s was mostly the worst thing ever, it wasn't totally and entirely, thanks to Glass Beach -- a beach filled almost entirely with sea glass.
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    Yep. That's in California. One of the most scenic waterfalls in the Golden State, Mossbrae Falls are fed by springs, which course down a moss-covered canyon wall and create this eye-bulger.
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    One of the coolest natural wonders of the Sierras, the Seven Tea Cups has been described as one of the world's (WORLD'S!) most spectacular canyoneering challenges. And that's the rub on this one -- you need, like, ropes and stuff to climb it.
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    1) holy crap look at it, 2) it's an international Biosphere Reserve (what does that even mean???), and 3) it's a narrow gorge carved out by Home Creek with walls hugged by seven types of ferns, some of which date back 325 million years.
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    McWay Falls (NorCal tidefall No. 2!!) gets a lot of the Big Sur attention -- as it should, it's freaking ridiculous -- as does Bixby Bridge (also great), but Pfeiffer Beach might actually be the gem-ier gem.
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    Known to geology nerds as a “karst,” the Natural Bridges were formed when the rushing waters of Coyote Creek eroded through a layer of soluble bedrock and created this Aladdin-caliber Cave of Wonders.
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    Located about an hour southeast of Palm Springs, this is hands down one of the most unique California "hikes" you'll ever go on, largely because it's a LADDER hike (!) through a narrow and actually really refreshingly cold gorge.
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    Turns out, Orange County's only "lighthouse" (known as "Pirate Tower" to locals) was actually a 60ft structure built in 1926 to help California State Senator William E. Brown get from his home on the top of the cliff to the beach below.
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    When the water levels are right and you're near the east side of the Monticello Dam at Lake Berryessa, this open bell-mouth spillway (basically what lets them release flows of dam water into Putah Creek) is one of the coolest things you'll ever stare into
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    Named after the spherical sandstone creations, which look like bowling balls (and also, just regular balls), Bowling Ball Beach is located way the hell up Hwy 1.
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