Take the 405, past Ventura Boulevard, cross the ocean, and when you see Lowe's Home Improvement, California will be on your left
We love California, animal style. In America, everything is bigger and badder and California is the biggest and baddest. As the longest state in the country, a drive from north to south could take around 15 hours. Along the way, you will journey through some of the most magnificent scenery you could stumble upon. From humble redwood giants of Humboldt, romantic sprawling vineyards of Sonoma, iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Disneyland, the Happiest Place on Earth, Los Angeles, Hollywood, to San Diego, this Golden State has us California dreaming wide awake. Sit back in your favourite bamboo-lacquered chair, hull a fresh pineapple for your cucumber dip, and do as Californians do and enjoy our list of things in California you won't find anywhere else.
What would you add to our list?
9. In-N-Out Burger
If you haven't had a chance to devour Animal Style-anything on In-N-Out Burger's not-so-secret menu, you may know at least one person who has and won't stop talking about it. Since the first location opened its doors in Baldwin Park, 1948, the not-secret and not-so-secret menus have garnered an almost cult-like following. Ordering your burger Animal Style means being presented with a jacked up sandwich - a small delicious hill of extra pickles, extra mustard, extra onions, extra Thousand Island dressing. You can also order your fries Animal Style. The first drive-thru hamburger stand, the West Coast burger franchise now has over 300 locations.
8. Year round farmer's markets
California's mild climate makes it possible for the state to produce over a third of the country's vegetables and two-thirds of the country's fruits and nuts, according to the 2015 statistics report by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. California harvests include a wild agricultural seasonal abundance, like milk and cream, almonds, grapes, strawberries, tomatoes, and walnuts.
7. California beach culture
There's no better place to hang ten or take five than along the coastal beach towns in Southern California. People watch in Venice Beach, look out at the infinite horizon from the Santa Monica Pier and reflect on life, or zen out with a little surf in Surf City USA, aka Huntington Beach.
6. Some of the world's best theme parks
When visitors refer to Disneyland as either Disneyland or the Happiest Place on Earth, you can bet that there's a reason why. If you'd ever watched the two-parter episode of the original Full House ("The House Meets the Mouse") you instinctively knew from the genius marketing that this was a special place to be. It's religion to some and a rite of passage for others. But there's more than Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, there are so many theme parks and attractions to be discovered, like Universal Studios Hollywood, Legoland, Knott's Berry Farm.
5. Napa Valley, Sonoma County
While some winemakers from around the world would say that California wine has its own strong legs to stand on, California winemakers may say it's the other way around. Wine experts from Food & Wine magazine have boldly claimed that California's Sonoma County produces world class Cabernet Sauvignons, Pinot Noirs, Syrahs, Zinfandels, Chardonnays, and Sauvignon Blancs.
4. Humboldt County's bewildering redwood forests
In Northern California's scenic Humboldt County, you can walk amongst the oldest, tallest redwood trees in the world. These legendary gentle giants are thousands of years old and can soar as high as over 360 feet tall and 13.6 feet wide. Hike through the Avenue of the Giants for one of the most inspiring walks you'll remember forever.
Since the Golden Age of cinema, some of the fondest memories in our hearts can be traced back to the imaginations that run Hollywood. There's no other place like it in the world. Stand in the footprints of celebrities at Grauman's Chinese Theatre (officially, the TCL Chinese Theatre) on Hollywood Boulevard and take in all of the sights and stars of Tinseltown.
2. Griffith Observatory
In the City of Stars, stargazing can be one of two things. Look out at spectacular views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign and peer out at the constellations from the telescopes on the observation deck.
1. Golden Gate Bridge
The iconic Art Deco-inspired pride of San Francisco is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. The Golden Gate Bridge - named not after the hue but the Golden Gate Strait that passes through below it - completed construction in 1937 and was the longest span in the world until 1964.