From idyllic coastline views, geological wonders, and natural vistas, to quirky culture, historical monuments, museums, and cutting-edge technology and entertainment, California is rich and varied enough to satisfy anyone’s taste for travel.
The ‘bear state’ really is a dream destination, with some amazing must-see attractions that could feature in any trip. In fact, California has even more to offer than most people usually imagine. There are plenty of lesser-known attractions to add a unique flavour to your itinerary. So, as a follow up to their guide to underrated places to visit in every US state, NetCredit have produced a similar guide for California.
Focusing on attractions with very high visitor ratings but a low number of reviews on Atlas Obscura, this series of maps illustrates the exciting niche locations you can visit in the different regions of California.
This region is dominated by the Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges, which were formed millions of years ago by earthquakes, volcanoes, and glaciers.
Make your mountain adventure special with other-worldly hexagonal basalt columns, sparkling bacteria in lava beds, thermal springs, and ancient lakes. You might also get a rare sighting of BigFoot, if you know where to look!
Central Coastal Region
California’s central coast is known to have some of the most fertile farmland in the US, the Salinas Valley, and the Monterey peninsula.
A wholesome road trip along the magnificent coastline in this region might include the lovely ‘Butterfly Town’ of Pacific Grove, and a lighthouse that has been illuminating the surf at Point Sur since the late-nineteenth century.
Central Valley Region
This is a vast agricultural region of vineyards, orchards and farms. Its varied and eccentric history and culture is reflected in some of it’s underrated attractions.
Take your pick, from a Tibetan temple, a Trappist monastery, underground gardens, and romanesque castle with bricks made by inmates of the same prison where Johnny Cash famously recorded Folsom Prison Blues!
This is a rich and thought-provoking landscape of geological wonders and mystical focus, and many of its most underrated attractions embrace a phenomenal spirit.
A journey into the desert could take you through ancient volcanic craters, lava tunnels, and a natural ‘cathedral city’ of limestone pinnacles. For those who want to get even more ‘spaced-out,’ there’s also crystal sound baths in an extraterrestrial-inspired dome!
Northeast Coastal Region
Boasting magnificent redwood forests and Pacific coastline, as well as some of California’s major cultural hotspots, it’s hardly surprising that the Northeast Coastal Region has a wide range of exciting lesser-known attractions, too.
You can take a side-trip from trees and tidal falls to meet like-minded nature lovers at an environmentally-friendly tourist club, play giant monopoly on a San Jose beach, say hi to Charlie Brown and friends, or get dizzy in a San Francisco mirror maze.
Southern Coastal Region
This region is a hotspot for quirky and eccentric characters, and there are some amazingly underrated attractions to charm the hardest of cynics.
A trip to Tinseltown could include a visit to the glamorous resting place of Cecil B. Demille, Johnny Ramone, and the long-overdue monument to Hattie McDaniel, or you might also amuse yourself with a time-travel retail experience in Echo Park.
Take your pick of natural wonders, curiosities, and cultural gems in this hub of underrated attractions.