Top seven natural attractions in California that will make you feel dwarfed by nature

Top seven natural attractions in California that will make you feel dwarfed by nature
Photo by Sam Kolder on

Podcast host Joe Rogan says there’s a mass exodus out of California now, for reasons like its overpopulation and high tax rate. However, there are some natural attractions that will still lure you in to visit (or even relocate to) California. If you’ve been itching to get out of the house (aren’t we all?) then here are seven of the most enticing nature pulls in California.

Bioluminescent waves in southern California

The beach is great and everything, but you’ve probably already been there, done that and are not sure a beach trip, especially during this pandemic, would even be worth the sunburn. Luckily, these glowing, neon blue bioluminescent waves should satiate those seeking a new serenity source. That is, if you’re lucky enough to catch them.

During the daytime, southern California oceans often have a red-brown tint. The cause of that tint is Lingulodinium polyedra, which is a microscopic phytoplankton. This phytoplankton can develop as a result of the collision between warm rainwater and seawater. By nighttime, this phytoplankton can respond to wave’s disturbance by emitting a blue light – which is enabled by the molecule luciferin. It’s believed that the light-emitting response is sometimes triggered because it could scare away organisms that want to eat the phytoplankton.

If you think you’ve seen it all at the beach, think again. This scientific phenomenon is worth checking out on any visit to southern California.

General Sherman Tree

Source: National Park Service/Rick Cain

Do you want to see the largest tree in the world? Of course, you do! The General Sherman Tree is in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park near Fresno, California. The park is renowned for its majestic giant sequoia trees. The General Sherman Tree, which is estimated to be 2,200 years old, may give you a new perspective on the short temporality of life.

It’s interesting that the most massive tree in the world bears a name that honors William Tecumseh Sherman, an American Civil War general – although the famed giant sequoia is indifferent to politics, wars and human beings.

It brings to mind the words of Jean-Paul Sartre – “I am going to outlive myself. Eat, sleep, sleep, eat. Exist slowly, softly, like these trees, like a puddle of water, like the red bench in the streetcar.”

Glass Beach

Source: CaliforniaBeaches

Nature provides an ideal space for contemplating the impact and meaning of human existence. And Glass Beach, a group of three beaches near Fort Bragg, California, is basically the lo-fi hip-hop beats of nature. There’s a message in the sand that can afford to be subtle. If you want a sharp confrontation with the damaging impact humans have on the environment, look up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch instead.

Broken glass has accumulated for years on Glass Beach. However, the shards have notably become smooth from the wave’s weathering, turning it into a beautiful sight. This semi-natural attraction can remind you that there’s still beauty on the planet, despite the destruction humans have caused.

Lava tube in the Mojave Desert

Does being deep in a cave far removed from your alarm clock and the working world’s daily bustle sound appealing? If so, then the lava tube in the Mojave National Preserve should be your next travel destination.

A lava tube is a type of cave formed from flowing lava, and the beams of light that peek through the mentioned southern California cave provide a cinematic atmosphere.

“Super cool spot, very unique opportunities for photos,” said Rex Jones in his review of this lava tube. “For anyone serious about taking high quality pictures, plan on spending some time down there.”

Joshua Tree National Park

Source: National Park Service/Larry McAfee

You may be wondering – if there’s so many great parks in the United States, what’s so special about Joshua Tree National Park? Well, what makes this desert landscape so outstanding are the Joshua trees themselves (they are also known as “J-trees") as they create some pretty distinctive sights.

What’s cool about the mountains near the “J-trees" is that they make up for more than 8,000 established rock climbing routes. However, the daytime attractions pale in comparison to the nighttime attractions at Joshua Tree. Joshua Tree has been called one of the best places to stargaze on the planet – located 5,000 feet above sea level and far from polluting cities, you can get your first good look at the Milky Way Galaxy here.

Mount Shasta

Yes, there is snow in California. Found in northern California, Mount Shasta is an ice-coated, potentially active volcano that attracts both tourists and spiritual folks alike. It’s a great place to go hiking.

“The Native Americans have always felt that the mountain [Mount Shasta] was the sacred center of the universe," Ashalyn, founder of Shasta Vortex Adventures, says. “They even have stories that talk about it being the home of the creator."

Yosemite Falls

You can’t have a list of the best natural attractions in California without a waterfall making a splash. Yosemite Falls, more than 2,425 feet tall, enjoys being one of the tallest waterfalls in North America. This waterfall can provide the ultimate adventure if you want to do an ambitious all-day hike to the top of the falls.

Yosemite Falls is arguably the most otherworldly waterfall in California because of its surrounding location. Yosemite National Park in Mariposa, California has it all – from multiple waterfalls and giant sequoias to stunning granite walls like El Capitan, which Alex Honnold climbed without ropes in the movie “Free Solo.”

John Muir, a famous naturalist who has been nicknamed the “Father of the National Parks," said this about Yosemite – “It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.”

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