What comes to mind when you think of California? Common stereotypes include long walks on the beach, watching the sunset, and drives down PCH. The Golden State deserves a better swipe right bio. To save you from boredom and cheesy one-liners, we’ve come up with a list of the most beautiful places in California you need to see.

Whether you’re a long-time local or visiting and hoping to see the best spots, there’s something on this list for you. Pack your bags and grab your camera. It’s time to hit the road and hop across the map.

Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

Price: $10 per vehicle parking fees 

Location: 15101 Lancaster Rd, Lancaster, California 

Hours: 7 am to 7 pm weekly 

Why You Should Go: These magical poppy fields are so colorful, you’ll feel like you’re in the Wizard of Oz.

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Alabama Hills

Price: Free

Location: Lone Pine, California

Hours: Open 24 hours

Why You Should Go: You’ll feel like you’re on Mars as you explore these otherworldly landscapes

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Glass Beach

Price: Free 

Location: W Elm St. and Glass Beach Drive, Fort Bragg, California 

Hours: 24 hours

Why You Should Go: This rainbow-colored beach gets its name from the colorful, smooth glass pieces all over the shore. While you can't take glass from the beach, it makes for gorgeous photos.

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Black Sands Beach

Price: Free

Hours: Open 24 hours

Location: 298 Dolphin Drive, Shelter Cove, California 

Why You Should Go: This smooth, black sand beach looks like the dreamy volcanic shores of Hawaii. 

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Artist’s Palette

Price: Free 

Location: Artist’s Drive, Death Valley, California

Why you should go: You can drive through 9 miles of beautiful rainbow-colored mountains.

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Big Pine Lakes

Price: Free

Hours: Open 24 hours

Location: Big Pine, California

Why You Should Go: You can hike to 7 emerald-colored glacier lakes and see multiple waterfalls!

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Lava Tube Trail

Price: Free

Hours: 24 hours

Location: Mojave National Preserve, California

Why You Should Go: You can explore awesome underground lava tubes.

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Cypress Tree Tunnel

Price: Free

Hours: 6 am to 12 am

Location: Point Reyes National Seashore, Inverness, California

Why You Should Go: This towering tunnel of cypress trees is just as beautiful in real life. 

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Lake Berryessa

Price: Free

Hours: 24 hours 

Location: Napa County, California 

Why You Should Visit: When conditions are right, this lake turns into an actual vortex, pouring water into a creek hundreds of feet below.

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Badwater Basin Salt Flats

Price: Free

Hours: 24 hours

Location: Death Valley National Park, California 

Why You Should Go: Exploring these salt flats will make you feel like you're in Bolivia.

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Editor's Note: It is illegal to take the glass from Glass Beach. Make sure to respect the environment wherever you go and leave no trace.

We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.

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