California gets a lot of stereotypes, but let’s face it – it’s hard to find better places to go during the summer. With its diverse geography and beautiful climate, there are plenty of amazing parks, lakes, and beaches to hit up. Check out six of our favorites and let us know about some of your favorite spots.
1) Kate O. Sessions Memorial Park - San Diego
Perfect for a photography session, romantic picnic, or just to hang out, San Diego's Kate O. Sessions Memorial Park can be whatever you want it to be. From the top, there is an amazing view that overlooks the bay and the ocean, with downtown buildings, the Coronado bridge, and SeaWorld in the distance.
Photo courtesy of Tully's Training
2) Mission Dolores Park - San Francisco
Mission Dolores Park, or simply Dolores Park as it is more commonly referred, is probably one of San Francisco's most visited areas. It can get busy at times, but part of the park's beauty is experiencing all of the life that it brings out of the city. Located on the edge of SF's historic Mission District, this park features plenty of sports courts, a playground, and a dedicated dog area.
3) Lake Tahoe - Sierra Nevada
Nestled on the border of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is one of the best getaways that you can visit to beat the heat. The lake is famous for its clear, blue water that attracts people from all over the state. Grab some friends and go hang out on the shore, or take part in countless water activities that Lake Tahoe offers like boating, paddle boarding, kayaking, parasailing, and jet skiing.
4) Mono Lake - Mono County
If you're trying to escape the crowds and water activities aren't really your thing, Mono Lake is the perfect destination. This unique lake contains three times as much salt as the ocean and is home to interesting creatures like brine shrimp, planktonic algae and alkali flies. The tufa towers (large deposits of limestone that rise out of the lake) make for stunning photography opportunities.
5) Laguna Beach - Orange County
You might have heard of the TV show with the same name - don't worry, the real Laguna Beach isn't as dramatic. It is just as beautiful though. The beaches warm, white sands compliment the cool Pacific Ocean. Nearby you will fine scenic coves and a booming artist community within the fashionable, culturally rich town.
6) Santa Monica State Beach - Santa Monica
Famous for its pier, Santa Monica State Beach features the original muscle beach and endless boardwalk activities. There are plenty of amusement park rides, aquariums, and festival foods that will provide you a taste of that classic "SoCal" vibe. You can't beat the view of the sunset over Santa Monica Pier.