State Since: September 9, 1850
Area Codes: 209, 213, 310, 323, 408, 415, 510, 530, 559, 562, 619, 626, 650, 661, 707, 714, 760, 805, 818, 831, 858, 909, 916, 925, 949
Bird: California Valley Quail
Flower: California Poppy
Largest City: Los Angeles
Motto: Eureka-I have found it
Nickname: The Golden State
Song: I love you, California
Time zone: -8
California Travel Information
California is one of the largest states in the United States of America in terms of area and population. It is stretched from north to south along the west coast of the country, which borders the Pacific Ocean. The capital is Sacramento. The largest cities are Los Angeles (4 million inhabitants), San Francisco, San Diego and San José. Lower California is the Mexican peninsula attached to California. The symbol of the state is the bear, which is also depicted on the flag. California’s nickname is Golden State.
The state has a lot of varied natural beauty, rich vegetation, and many interesting animal species. California is a state of extremes: it has the (second) highest and lowest point in North America; the thickest, bulkiest, and tallest living trees in the world; and it has the second hottest area on Earth. It has mountain ranges with ski areas, as well as deserts, glaciers, forests, hills, lakes and beaches. It has very large, civilized cities, but also many simple villages. The subtropical climate in the south allows for grape harvests and orange cultivation.
Hernán Cortés, who conquered Mexico, put an end to the Aztec Empire and invaded Lower California in search of gold. He had heard of the mythical Queen Califia. In her realm there would be much gold. According to legend, the females there, after mating, would feed the males to the griffins. Cortés called the area California (Current State of California plus Lower California).
Juan Rodriques Cabrillo sailed into San Diego Bay in 1542 and claimed the new territory for Spain. It was inhabited by North American Indians at the time. In 1769, when the Russians began to penetrate the coastal area, it was officially colonized by Spain as Upper California. As late as the 16th century, Sir Francis Drake landed in San Francisco Bay and claimed the northern part of the present state for England. However, the territory remained with Spain, and California was completely assigned to Mexico in 1821, when that country became independent from Spain. Names such as Los Angeles, San José and Santa Monica are still strongly reminiscent of the Spanish/Mexican past.
Nevertheless, more and more American settlers came to the area. In 1846, the Mexican-American War was more or less provoked (by the annexation of Texas) by the United States led by then-President James K. Polk. During this war, California declared its independence from Mexico as the Bear Flag Republic. The Peace of Guadalupe Hidalgo of February-March 1848 ended the war with Mexico, after which California was incorporated into the United States.
After a John Marshall first found gold in the waters of the American River on January 24, 1848, near the town of Coloma, near Sacramento, the famous California Gold Rush started, and the peace of the area was over. Hundreds of thousands of prospectors flocked from east to west, and those early years yielded many finds for the lucky few. Professional gold diggers are still looking for the leftovers in the hills. For many decades, California has attracted many Mexicans, many of whom are illegally trying to cross the border. They are called wetbacks.
The area of the state is 411,049 km², making it the third largest state in the US, after Alaska and Texas. The climate is subtropical in the south, in the north it is slightly cooler and the coastal regions have a maritime climate. California has the second highest point in North America (Mount Whitney) and the lowest point (Badwater, Death Valley ), the tallest trees in the world and the second hottest area on Earth. Parallel to the sea coast (Pacific Ocean) lie the Coast Ranges, or the Coastal Mountains. The east is dominated by the Sierra Nevada, with National Parks such as Yosemiteand King’s Canyon. The Southeast and the Death Valley are extremely hot. California is made up of 58 counties, with the largest being San Bernardino County and the most populous Los Angeles County. See how many cities are in California.
California had 36.8 million inhabitants in 2006. A third of the inhabitants were born abroad. 60.5% of the population speaks English, 25.8% Spanish and 13.7% other languages. Most Californians are Christian.
Because California is huge, you also have large climate differences. Along the coast you often have to deal with a temperate climate with wet winters in the north. Snow falls regularly in the Sierra Nevada mountains in the east, while in the deserts in the south the temperature can rise to great heights. Most of California has a comfortable, Mediterranean climate all year round. And that makes California an ideal holiday destination if you want to escape the bad weather in the Netherlands! Source: www.californie-vakantie.nl/climate-californie
National Parks and Other Natural Phenomena
- Redwood National Park, 64 km. northern coastal strip, with the tallest trees in the world. It concerns Coast Redwoods (coastal sequoias). The highest is 112 meters high.
- Sequoia National Park with giant sequoias, with the largest tree in the world, the General Sherman (circumference 30 meters) and the thickest tree, the General Grant (circumference 32.8 meters). These are Giant Redwoods. Lassen Volcanic National Park (Lassen Peak, 3181 m, one of the last active volcanoes in the country; last eruption: 1917).
- Yosemite National Park
- Bridalveil en Yosemite Falls
- Vernall at Nevada Falls
- El Capitan in Half Dome
- Maripose Grove of Giant Sequoias
- Glacier Point …
- Red Rock Canyon State Park.
- Lake Tahoe, on the border between California and Nevada.
- Sierra Nevada, 800 km long mountain range, in which the highest mountain of the so-called ‘Contiguous States’: Mount Whitney (4418 m).
- Kings Canyon, 2400 meters deep gorge, carved by water.
- Death Valley, the second hottest place on Earth, has the lowest point in the Americas: Badwater (86 m below sea level).
- Mojave Desert, a desert located in southwestern California.
- Joshua Tree National Park, a wildlife park known for the Joshua Tree. This park is the only place in the world where you can find this species.
- California ridge, caused by a fault line in the Earth’s crust, the San Andreas Fault, which runs north-south through the state. There is always a danger of an earthquake.
Whether it’s your first or tenth visit to California, there are must-sees when you’ve been there. How about: The famous Hollywood sign on the Hollywood Hills, the Walk of Fame and the Golden Gate bridge? A drive on Highway 1 is also a must when visiting California, the Half Dome in Yosemite, the 2,000 kilometers of coastline, forests filled with the largest trees in the world, the national parks and the museums and historic sites are all things that you must see on this trip! Many travelers therefore do not have enough with one visit.
Beautiful routes in California
Getting from A to B in California can be a vacation in itself. Highway 1 along the Central Coast, Highway 395 in the Eastern Sierra, Historic Route 66 and the new Trinity Scenic Byways are beautiful routes. The ‘California Road Trips’ guide is available online at www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/sunset/californiadrives09
Wine lovers come to California from all over the world to get a taste of the good life. With more than 2,700 wineries, California produces 90% of all wine in America and offers consumers a diverse selection of wines in different price ranges. The wine regions are spread from the well-known Napa Valley and Sonoma County to the emerging favorite areas of the Paso Robles, Santa Cruz Mountains and Santa Barbara.
Facts over Yosemite
Name: Yosemite National Park
Details: Half Dome
Opening: October 1, 1890
Admission: $10.00 per person (except if you are 15 years or younger)
Hours of operation: 24 hours a day
Number of visitors: 3,280,911
Travel information about Yosemite
Yosemite National Park is a national park in California, located about 250 kilometers east of San Francisco in the middle of the Sierra Nevada. Thanks in part to the efforts of John Muir, it has been a national park since October 1, 1890. Yosemite has grown over the years to its current size of 3,080.73 km². The park is known for its high waterfalls, giant sequoias, alpine meadows and wild rivers. Ansel Adams, one of the most influential photographers of the twentieth century, is known for the landscape photos he took in this park. In 1984 the park was added to the World Heritage List.
The valley was created by erosion. Millions of years ago, large glaciers eroded the valley (900 to 1200 meters deep) here. When the glaciers retreated, the valley remained.
There is a free shuttle bus route throughout Yosemite, with a bus at a stop every 15 minutes. There is also a newspaper every two weeks with organized walks, activities and events. In the Village there is a small hospital and several churches. There are many facilities for the disabled such as paths for wheelchairs and wide entrances. There are babysitters and a kennel. In the park you can also rent bicycles, go rafting, play golf and use the internet. Campsites are in Yosemite Village, outside the village and just outside the park. High above Yosemite valley is the Glacier Point viewpoint where you have a fantastic view over the valley and the Half Dome.
Yosemite has the following attractions:
- Wawona’s History Center
- The Butterfly Grove (Giant Redwood)
- Tuolumne Meadows
- Hetch Hetchy Valley
- Yosemite Fall
- Upper en Lower Falls
- Bridalveil waterfall
- Tunnel View
- Half Dome
- Sentinel Rock
- Cathedral Rocks
Facts over Death Valley
Name: Death Valley National Park
Location: California & Nevada
Opening: October 31, 1994
Admission: $10.00 per person
Furnace Creek Visitor Center & Museum
9.00 am- 5.00 pm
Scotty’s Castle Visitor Center & Museum
Summer 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
Winter 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
Number of visitors: 764,820
Death Valley Travel Information
Death Valley is a valley in the United States, in the state of California. The area is surrounded by mountains and is part of the Great Basin and the Mojave Desert. The valley is part of the slightly larger National Park of the same name. In addition to desert, Death Valley National Park also has salt flats, rock formations, canyons, sand dunes and mountains to visit. Death Valley is the second hottest place on Earth and the driest place in North America. The area is so dry because there are a number of mountain ridges between the valley and the Pacific Ocean. Clouds rain empty on these ridges, which means that in Death Valley there is almost never any rain, less than 50 mm per year. In addition, the area is very low, in Death Valley is the lowest point of the United States. This lowest point consists of a salt lake, called Badwater, and is 86 m below sea level. The highest temperature measured here in Furnace Creek, a desert village, was 56.7°C, on July 10, 1913. Temperatures up to 49°C are common in normal summers. Even though there is little rain, flooding can still occur in the canyons at the bottom of the mountains. The soil can absorb almost no water, partly due to the almost lack of plant growth. An example is Golden Canyon, where the road surface was washed away in 1976. The valley got its name in 1849 during the Gold Rush. The name was given by immigrants who wanted to cross the valley on their way to the gold. According to the story, one would try to pass through the valley with a large group to get to the gold. They lost their way and were afraid that they would perish. It was decided to proceed in two groups. One group would have died completely, the other group would have made it. When walking out of the valley, a woman is said to have turned and said, “Goodbye, Death Valley.” The valley is said to have owed its name to this. Gold and silver were also found in Death Valley in the 1850s. Borax was found and mined in 1880. It was transported from the area in wagons pulled by mules. This mode of transport soon proved unprofitable and borax mining was terminated. Nevertheless, Christian Brevoort Zabriskie (the vice president of the Pacific Coast Borax Company) became a household name: Zabriskie Point is named after him. Extremely high temperatures are measured in July and August, rising to 55 degrees Celsius. Tourists who visit the Valley in these months are therefore strongly advised to have sufficient drinking water with them. Death Valley was not made a National Park until 1994 by Bill Clinton, it had been a National Monument since 1933, but it was expanded to the size it is today. Animals and plants still live there, but they have had to adapt to the changes in the climate over the years. An example of this is the Kangaroo rat, a member of the Wangzak family, which can survive for months without drinking. He draws water from the seeds he eats, he concentrates his urine so that he loses less water when he urinates, and he even removes the water from the air he exhales. It also lives at night to avoid the heat of the sunlight. The Chuckwalla, the park’s largest lizard, uses its body as a pantry and canteen. This vegetarian eats when the plants bloom after a rain shower and produces body fat for more difficult times. It also stores the water from its food in its body, just enough to survive without drinking. It escapes predators by crawling into a crack in the rocks and inflating its lungs to three times their normal size to deter the predator. In the salt water of some streams there is a special fish that manages to survive in the salt and the heat, the Pupfish (Cyprinodon salinus). The Pupfish is living proof that Death Valley used to be wetter. For thousands of years to about 10,000 years ago, Death Valley had large lakes, fed by heavy rain and the meltwater from the Ice Age glaciers on the nearby mountains. The climate became drier and the lakes dried up, forcing both humans and fish to move to permanent water sources. Since that time, the Pupfish has survived in isolated springs with water at a temperature of 35° Celsius and in streams where the little water is already five times as salty as the water of the ocean. The Timbisha Indians have lived in Death Valley for at least 1000 years. A settlement is located at Furnace Creek. The name Death Valley was not given to the valley by these Native Americans; in their language the valley is called tümpisa, which means rock paint. This refers to the red ocher found in Death Valley. The valley is easily accessible by car, a 5 hour drive from Los Angeles. In the summer it is so hot that a tourist can do little more than stay in the car (with air conditioning). In winter and spring the temperature is pleasant. In the valley are three places where a limited number of people can stay overnight, Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells and Panamint Springs. Furnace Creek is the largest of the three, all boasting a restaurant, bar and pool. In addition to the natural beauty, there is also Scotty’s Castle, a villa built in Spanish style.
Time moments of awards
- National Monument – 11 februari 1933
- Biosphere Reserve – 1984
- Wilderness (95% of the park) – October 31, 1994
- National Park – October 31, 1994
Facts over San Diego
City Since: 1850
Motto / Nickname: Sign On
Area: 839.6 km2
Time Zone: -8
San Diego Travel Information
San Diego is a city in the United States on the west coast in the state of California near the border with Mexico. It is located in the San Diego County. San Diego has 1.3 million inhabitants and is mainly known as an industrial and commercial center. The city is connected to Coronado via the 3,407-foot San Diego-Coronado Bridge that opened in 1969.
San Diego has a very good natural harbor and is partly for this reason an important base for the American navy on the west coast. The city is also known for the aerospace industry and the respected University of San Diego (University of California, San Diego, UCSD for short), which is actually north of the city of San Diego in La Jolla. The mild climate also makes it a popular seaside resort.
With more than 300 sunny days a year, San Diego is one of the most popular places to live and vacation in California. Located between two protected bays and the border with Mexico, California ‘s third largest city is a fascinating mix of skyscrapers, Victorian homes, recreational areas with long sandy beaches and leisure parks.
In January the average temperature is 14.1 °C, in July it is 21.7 °C. Annual average precipitation is 251.5 mm (data based on the measurement period 1961-1990).
We can recommend the following sights in San Diego:
- Sea World
- San Diego Zoo
- Balbao Park
- Gaslamp Quarter