The Golden State has it all. Sometimes, we forget that. Where else can you drive from the beach to the desert and the mountains all within a day? To help you think a little outside the box, we’ve gathered a list of the top 9 unique activities in California besides the beach.

See Rainbow Mountains In Death Valley National Park

Price: $25 per vehicle plus $10 per person

Hours: Open 24 hours 

Location: Death Valley National Park, California

Why You Need To Go: We bet you didn’t know California has rainbow-colored mountains. You can take a 9-mile drive through a world of color at Artist's Palette.

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Hike Around Big Sur 

Price: Free parking on Highway 1 or $10 via Falls Trail

Hours: Open 24 hours

Location: Highway 1, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, CA 93920

Why You Need To Go: You’ll see amazing views of an 80-foot turquoise waterfall cascading onto the beach. The Bixby Bridge offers an iconic view.

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Swim In Turquoise Waters At Lake Tahoe

Price: Check the specific park for location 

Hours: Varies by park

Location: Lake Tahoe, California

Why You Need To Go: You can hike through lush green forests and swim or kayak in the clear turquoise water.

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Drink Wine In Napa Valley

Price: Varies by location

Hours: Open 24 hours

Location: Napa Valley, California

Why You Need To Go: You can sip wine and watch the sunset over the rolling green hills of Napa Valley wine country. There’s even a cute wine train you can take for a scenic tour!

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Road Trip to Calico Ghost Town

Price: $8 entrance fee

Hours: 9 am to 5 pm daily

Location: Calico, California

Why You Need To Go: You can explore an authentic silver mining town from the 1880s. Guests can take tours, pan for gold, ride a train, and even go ghost hunting.

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Take the 17-Mile Drive in Carmel

Price: $10.50 entrance fee per vehicle

Hours: 24 hours a day

Location: 17 Mile Drive, California

Why You Need To Go: This scenic drive is home to some of the most stunning views of northern California. There's plenty of pretty stops to get out and take pics.

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Take a Boat To Catalina Island

Price: $74.50 per person for the ferry

Hours: Varies by ferry Location: Catalina Island, California

Location: Catalina Island, California

Why You Need To Go: This beautiful California island is the closest thing you’ll find to the south of France in southern California. You can zipline, hike, and take a glass-bottom boat tour in beautiful, lush surroundings.

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See City Lights at the Griffith Observatory

Price: Free

Hours: Tuesday - Friday from 12 pm to 10 pm, Saturday - Sunday 10 am to 10 pm

Location: 2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Why You Need To Go: It’s not only a great place to hike around, but it also offers spectacular views of LA day and night. There are free science exhibits that offer amazing planetary and light shows, and it’s only $7 a person. You will need advance tickets for the show. It's a super cute date idea

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Hike to Burney Falls

Price: $8 entrance fee

Hours: 6 am to 6 pm

Location: Burney Falls, California 96013

Why You Need to Go: These gorgeous 129-foot streaming waterfalls will take your breath away.

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Editor's note: Many California waterfalls are seasonal. Check weather conditions before you go on the trails to make sure the falls are still flowing and trail conditions are safe.

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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