Found in the Sonoran desert, the Salton Sea is an inland saline lake that formed when the Colorado River burst in 1905. Well, Colorado’s loss is California’s gain. In the 60s, a town formed around the lake but ultimately became a ghost town when pollution destroyed the Salton Sea’s water. Despite all that, visiting the Salton Sea and the abandoned town is still a hauntingly beautiful sight.
Another saline lake that will boggle your mind is Mono Lake. This ancient lake spans 70 square miles and there’s also a huge amount of tufa ― limestone columns that have formed over time to show off nature’s true beauty. Walking and kayak tours can be taken around the lake too.
Stop by the Old-Town Historic State Park for some unbelievable pieces of history. This part of San Diego dates all the way back to 1825. You’ll really feel like you’ve stepped out of a time machine. There’s lots of shops and eateries to add to the old-timey feel.
San Diego Old-Town, 4002 Wallace St, San Diego, CA, USA, +1 619 220 5422
Head north of San Francisco for about 45 miles to reach these Monterey Cypress trees that have formed a mesmerizing arch. Tourists, photographers, and even locals flock to these stunning, and somehow natural archways. It’s a true marvel.
Cypress Tree Tunnel, Point Reyes, Inverness, CA, USA, +1 415 464 5100
If you think you’ve seen all the beach sunsets possible, you’ve never been to Asilomar State Beach. Travelers make camp all around Asilomar. Right before sunset, it’s apparent everyone is waiting for the same thing. The beach at sunset will have you pinching yourself to make sure you aren’t dreaming of this stunning scene. All the trails and alcoves add to the surreal allure.
Nestled within the San Bernardino Mountains, Big Bear Lake is a piece of California that not a lot of people get to see. The surrounding town is casual and yet has boutique shopping and dining as well as breathtaking summits and lake views.
Glass Beach has a harrowing origin that has turned into something stunning. For years, trash was dumped over the cliffs in the small oceanside town of Fort Bragg. However, the crashing Pacific rendered the glass that had been thoughtlessly dumped and it now graces the shores of Glass Beach in the most beautiful ways. You have to leave those little gorgeous pieces on the beach though. It’s illegal to take any glass from the beach.
Just under 30 miles off the shores of Long Beach is Santa Catalina Island. This precious gem of an island is famous for its shops, nature, and wildlife. The island is tiny, only 22 miles long, but the scenery here is unbelievably gorgeous, as if from a picture book. Catalina Island is like a surreal getaway that you don’t have to travel too far off the mainland to getaway to.
You don’t have to be a huge Wizard of Oz fan to love the poppy fields in the Mojave desert (although it certainly won’t hurt.) These fields go on for eight miles and the wildflowers do major blooming throughout the spring months. But California wouldn’t be California without poppies, the state flower. These bright orange flowers create a wonderland you have to see to believe.
The Wave Organ is a unique San Francisco sculpture of 25 organ pipes made out of PVC and concrete. The way the individual pieces have been methodically placed so when the tides hit, subtle music fills the air. It’s beautiful, magical, and leaves you feeling like you’re the surreal one.
It’s well worth making your way all the way up northern California to get to the Lava Beds National Monument. These lava-created parts are the largest volcano covered area in the Cascade Range. What really makes this place surreal is that not only does the land consist of over 700 gorgeous caves, one of those is Mushpot Cave which becomes fully illuminated at night. You’ll feel as if you’ve left earth in the most beautiful way.
Get ready for unforgettable sandy good times and ocean views that will make you feel like you’re dreaming. At Treasure Island Beach, there’s snorkeling, scuba diving, tide pools to explore, and beautiful beachfront homes. Let the waves on the shoreline lull you away to serenity.
Treasure Island Beach, Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA, USA, +1 949 497 0426