4 NorCal Destinations Featured on List of ‘Best Places to Visit in the USA’

For everyone that lives in Northern California, we’re well aware that our destinations rival some of the best in the entire United States. That’s why it’s no surprise that NorCal dominated U.S. News’ 30 Best Places to Visit in the USA, with four destinations featured on the list.

There’s some spots they got right, but it’s obvious they also missed some of our best destinations (maybe that’s a good thing, for our sake). Here are the four NorCal destinations that made the list.

#2. Yosemite

Photo by Trent Erwin

Can’t argue with including Yosemite National Park on the list, coming in second only behind the Grand Canyon. That seems fair. Here’s what they said about the world-famous park:

A vacation at Yosemite National Park in California is all about reconnecting with nature. Spend your visit checking out famous landmarks like Half Dome and Glacier Point or hiking Cathedral Lakes, the Mist Trail and other popular paths. You’ll also want to save time to admire Yosemite’s numerous waterfalls, including towering Yosemite Falls, which is one of the tallest waterfalls in the world. If you’re not one for camping, opt for a daytrip from San Francisco, Sacramento or Lake Tahoe.

A Tour of 10 Stunning Waterfalls in Yosemite National Park

#7. San Francisco

Photo by Joonyeop Baek

There’s going to be a lot of NorCal locals who disagree with this listing, but you have to admit that San Francisco offers quite the experience for a traveler. For anyone who hasn’t seen the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park and the world-famous food of SF (Mission burrito anyone?), it’s probably good to visit once in your life (avoid the Tenderloin). Here’s what they said about the City by the Bay:

San Francisco’s culture has been influenced by diverse ethnic groups and many social movements. The best way to get a glimpse of the City by the Bay’s character is to explore its neighborhoods on foot or by cable car. From the Mission District to the Castro, you’ll find various boutiques and eateries serving nearly every kind of cuisine. Soak in city views from a picnic blanket in Mission Dolores Park, or take a quick boat ride to Alcatraz Island for a history lesson. Just be sure to come prepared for the steep hills by wearing a sturdy pair of walking shoes.

Find Cool “Off The Beaten Path” Destinations in San Francisco

#14. Lake Tahoe

Photo by Parker Ulry

For my money, this would have been much higher on my list. Lake Tahoe continues to be listed throughout the internet as one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and it’s hard to argue with that. The Tahoe area provides so much to do during the different seasons, all while getting insane nature views of the lake. Here’s what they said about Big Blue:

Known for its stunning clear water, North America’s largest alpine lake beckons to active travelers year-round. Winter draws skiers and snowboarders in droves to the slopes at Lake Tahoe’s numerous resorts, while summer is ideal for hikes, scenic drives and lake activities like kayaking and boating. There are also many area golf courses for those looking to work on their game. For an active vacation with a twist, trek one of the California and Nevada region’s beer trails or sign up for an outdoor aerial fitness class.

A Day in the Life in Lake Tahoe

#21. Big Sur

Photo by Joe Pascavage

Big Sur is probably not what many would consider “NorCal” but its close proximity to many of the local municipalities mean we’re claiming it as our own on this list. It’s a great place to visit from NorCal and is legendary for it’s coastal views, along with McWay Falls. Here’s their assessment:

Although this California coastline isn’t made for swimming, Big Sur is the place to go for Instagram-worthy photos. Some of the best views of the jagged rocks and turquoise water can be found at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and Pfeiffer Beach, but those looking to relax can head to Sand Dollar Beach. Meanwhile, hikers can explore the trails that crisscross Andrew Molera State Park, which spans 4,800 acres. Travelers who are just passing through Big Sur will want to pull over by historic Bixby Bridge to snap a quick picture of the scenery.

The list also included California gem San Diego, along with 25 other popular destinations in America. They probably could have included Mount Shasta and the Redwood National Park, but we’re happy to let people search for them instead. See the full list here.

What did they miss on the list?

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California

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