Have You Visited One or More of These Delightful Outdoor Destinations?

Chasing waterfalls.

Home to national parks like Joshua Tree, Sequoias and Yosemite, California offers a wide spectrum of natural beauty. And while the masses flock to these popular spots every year, there are plenty of low-key destinations deserving of your attention. Thrillist compiled a list of outdoor gems across the state worthy of discovery and exploration. Here are a few highlights:


Zabriskie Point

Death Valley

Death Valley is probably best known for being home to the lowest point of elevation in North America (and one of the hottest places on the planet), but though we recommend you visit Badwater Basin, a sinkhole located 282 feet below sea level, at some point in your life. You’re really going there to check out this stunning rock formation that was featured on the cover of U2’s The Joshua Tree.


Glass Beach

Fort Bragg

While we would never advocate for an entire town to dump its garbage along the coastline, that’s exactly what Fort Bragg did in the ’50s and ’60s, which certainly did a lot of environmental damage, but also happened to create Glass Beach, a stretch of shoreline that is covered with smooth and colorful sea glass. (While we’re pretty sure this is the cause, there is folklore that sea glass is actually created by the tears of mermaids. Sadly, it’s unlikely we’ll ever find out the truth.) Also sadly, because sometimes people can’t just appreciate beauty in the moment and insist on taking home a souvenir, the amount of glass is dwindling, so look and touch, but then leave it there.


Burney Falls


Burney Falls isn’t going to win any technical competitions in California: it isn’t the highest, or the largest, and it definitely doesn’t fall directly into the ocean. But what it lacks in stats, it makes up for in beauty. Flowing at 100 million gallons every day, the 129-foot waterfall was dubbed “the eighth wonder of the world” by Teddy Roosevelt, and is definitely worth a visit. You don’t have to walk far to see it as it’s right off of the main parking lot, but there are five miles of hiking trails to explore if you want to feel like you earned your reward. Our rec: Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it on the shores of Lake Britton (which you’ll need to access via the Rim Trail, as, currently, part of the Burney Creek Trail is closed due to storm damage/erosion).


Get the full list here.

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