Hot California

Discovering California’s Hidden Gems: 11 Unique Activities off the Beaten Path

giant forests, ghost towns and wineries!

When it comes to California, most people tend to think of the Golden Gate Bridge, Disneyland, and Hollywood Boulevard. However, California has much more to offer than its well-known attractions. Some of California’s best activities are off the beaten path, waiting to be discovered. If you’re looking to explore the hidden gems of California, read on for ten unique activities that will pique your interest.

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Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride

Temecula Valley is home to some of the best wineries in California, but instead of driving from vineyard to vineyard, why not take to the skies? Several companies offer hot air balloon rides over the valley, giving you a unique perspective on the rolling hills and vineyards below. After the ride, you can enjoy a wine tasting and relax with a glass of your favorite varietal. See our favorite family-friendly winery tours and winery hotels in Temecula to make the most of your trip.

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Go Stargazing

California is home to some of the darkest skies in North America, making it an ideal spot for stargazing. Head out to one of California’s many dark skies preserves and take in all the stars have to offer! You can join a guided tour or rent your telescope for an even more immersive experience. Palm Springs is an excellent option for stargazers, since there so many fun activities to enjoy during the say and starry skies by night. See our guide to visiting Palm Springs with kids as well as the best Palm Springs resorts for families for the ultimate weekend getaway. If you want to make the most out your stargazing experience, consider checking some of these amazing glamping sites in Palm Springs.

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Explore a Cave

Head underground and explore one of California’s many caves! Whether you’re interested in spelunking or want to take in some stunning rock formations, plenty of options are available throughout the state. Many of California’s caves are seaside, giving them extra mystic and beauty. Just make sure to bring along a flashlight and wear sturdy shoes – caving can be pretty treacherous!

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Visit Ansel Adams Wilderness – Inyo National Forest

The Ansel Adams Wilderness is located in central California near Yosemite National Park, but visitors often overlook it due to its remote location. This pristine wilderness area is home to breathtaking views, crystal clear lakes, and abundant wildlife – perfect for those seeking an escape from city life!

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Take A Hike Through The Redwood Forest

The Redwood Forest is one of California’s most iconic natural wonders and one of its best-kept secrets! Take a hike through this ancient forest and marvel at its towering trees as you wander its winding trails. Don’t forget your camera – you’ll want to capture this once-in-a-lifetime experience!

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Learn To Fly

If you’ve ever dreamed about soaring through the skies, why not apply for flight school? With multiple flight schools throughout California, learning how to fly has never been easier or more accessible than it is today – so don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity!

Go Whale Watching

Head out on an ocean adventure with whale-watching tours off the coast of California! Keep your eyes peeled for majestic humpback whales as they breach the surface, or spy on playful dolphins while swimming alongside your boat. It’s sure to be an unforgettable experience that will leave you wanting more!

There are some many places to go whale watching from San Diego up the coast of Northern California, so wherever your visiting there will be tour perfect for you. Newport is one of our favorite spots, check out our guide for cool things to in Newport Beach.

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Visit An Abandoned Ghost Town

Explore what remains of some long-forgotten towns with visits to abandoned ghost towns throughout California! These eerie locations are filled with history and provide insight into what life was like during the gold rush days gone by – make sure not to disturb any artifacts or structures while exploring these sites! One our go-to ghost towns is Calico, since it makes for a great road trip stop on the way to Las Vegas. It has some cool things to do, like a mystery shack, a train ride and mines to explore. See our guide to Calico Ghost Town for more information.

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Take A Road Trip Along The Pacific Coast Highway

Take all California offers with a road trip along its famous Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). This iconic highway stretches from San Diego all the way up past San Francisco, taking travelers past stunning coastal vistas, quaint beach towns, and even Big Sur’s dramatic cliffsides – perfect for those looking for an adventure off the beaten path!

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Visit A Local Winery Or Brewery

California isn’t just known for its stunning scenery; it also produces some incredible wines and beers! Spend an afternoon visiting local wineries or breweries where you can sample delicious drinks while enjoying beautiful views at every turn – what could be better?

Looking for some family-friendly options? Check out our picks for the best wineries for families in Napa, Sonoma and Temecula. Also see our picks for the best family-friendly breweries in Temecula.

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Hike to the Hollywood Sign via the Bronson Canyon Trail

The Hollywood Sign is an iconic symbol of Los Angeles, but few visitors know that a hiking trail leads right up to it. The Bronson Canyon Trail is a relatively easy hike that takes you through the Hollywood Hills and offers stunning views of the city below. Once you reach the top, you can snap a photo with the famous sign and take breathtaking views.

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That’s A Wrap!

As you can see, California is full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or just looking for a unique experience, there’s something for everyone in the Golden State. So, get out there and explore them today!

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I am a busy mama with 3 delicious babies and a serious itch for travel and writing (when I am not bartending, that is)! After graduating from Cal State San Marcos with a B.A. in Communications, I decided to start a family and pursue a career in freelance writing. I created HotMamaTravel as an outlet to do what I love while sharing useful travel tips and inspiration with others. Our mission is to show parents how to master travel with kids, while keeping your Saturday-night selves. We call it "Family travel...with a twist".

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