The rhythmic sound of birds chirping forms a soothing melody as the faint outline of tufa towers along Mono Lake’s shallow lakefront slowly comes into focus in the distance. Making my way up the Eastern Sierra, a remote California region east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, my weekend getaways through the state are spent hiking through ancient waterfalls and rejuvenating in roadside natural hot springs. And, that’s just the start—the treasures of both Northern and Southern California still await.
From the epic Pacific Ocean swells along NorCal’s rugged coast to Temecula Valley’s underrated wine region in SoCal, you don’t have to leave the state of California to experience something memorable. Here are eight of the best unique places to visit in California. Have you already been to all of them?