Are you planning a trip or a move to the Golden State? California is the place to be. People from all walks of life live in this sunny state, from farmers to tech gurus, even celebrities. How much do you know about California?
For most people, their California knowledge starts and ends with Hollywood in Los Angeles. They know that there are stars on the ground with celebrity names and they go to the state with hopes of seeing a celebrity in real life.
Cool Facts About California
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But what about some of the fun facts about California? There’s more to California than Disney and movie stars. We’re here to tell you some of our favorite interesting facts about California so you can prepare yourself for your adventure (or just impress your friends on trivia night). Keep reading to learn more.
1. The High Population
So it’s obvious from a glance that California is big, but how big is it really, population-wise? California is home to almost 40 million people. If that number sounds mind-boggling, it should. That’s the largest population of any state, and it’s about 10 million more than the next second largest (Texas). It’s about one-eighth of the total US population.
When you move to California, you’ll be among good company. California has more people than most countries. It even has more people than our own country of Canada which only has 37.59 Million people.
2. An Abundance of Parks
Many people think of California as a bustling state that’s comprised only of dense cities and beaches. While it’s true that some of the more popular and well-known cities, like San Francisco and Los Angeles, are on that dense and sunny coast, there’s also a ton of wildlife.
California has the most national parks out of any state. They have nine! This means that you’ll have no shortage of hiking and camping spots and you can see all kinds of cool animals and plants. California has an abundance of unique natural features. It’s the perfect state for anyone who loves to put on their hiking boots and get out onto the trails.
3. Find Your Fortune
What’s your favorite part of your Chinese take-out meal? If it’s the famed fortune cookie, you’re not alone. Even those of us who don’t love the taste of fortune cookies love snapping them open to learn our fates (and lucky numbers). Who doesn’t love an interactive meal?
Did you know that these cookies didn’t come to us from China? They were actually created in California. There’s some dispute as to the exact origin of these cookies. Some people claim that they were created by Chinese immigrants in Los Angeles. Others say that they were created to revitalize Chinatown in San Francisco. Others still claim that the first person to serve fortune cookies was a Japanese immigrant!
Regardless of which of these theories is true, the fortune cookie comes to us from sunny California. Next time you crack open your fortune, think of the Golden State!
4. It’s Earthquake Territory
It’s no secret that California has its fair share of earthquakes. People have been talking about “The Big One” for ages, warning coastal Californians that they may be in danger of a massive shake. When will it happen? Who knows. Will it happen at all? Who knows!
What we do know is that California has over 500 fault lines. Fault lines are what trigger earthquakes. Most earthquakes are small, but the last large one happened in 2019 (so they’re not infrequent).
Californians are comfortable with earthquakes, so tiny shakes won’t even cross their radar. If you make the move, though, make sure that you’re ready for the next big quake!
5. The Biggest Trees
So they have the biggest quakes, but did you also know that they have the biggest trees? At the very least, California has the biggest singular tree. The tree is named (yes, named) General Sherman. It’s a sequoia in the Sequoia National Park. It’s over 52,000 cubic feet by volume and it’s over 100 ft in circumference at its base. It’s hard to imagine what this means, but you need to see it for yourself. Go check out the forest and get ready to feel small. You can also see Sequoias in Mariposa Grove of Yosemite National Park.
6. Feeling Inventive?
California is the birthplace of invention. By this, we mean that there are so many things that originated in California. The internet itself was born in California in 1969. California is the home of skateboards, Barbie dolls, arcade games, McDonald’s, and so much more. You see and use things every day that were invented in California.
7. You’re In a Movie Scene
How many of your favorite movies do you think crews filmed on location? Do the movie stars and directors always travel the world to film everything on-location? More movies have been filmed in California than anywhere else. Even if a movie looks like it’s in ancient Egypt, Victorian England, or even across the country in Philadelphia, it’s most likely that the setting is a backlot in Los Angeles or part of California’s vast and diverse landscape. Even with movies filming on location around the world, California still holds on to the top spot of theatrically released projects in 2020.
8. More Than Fun In the Sun
When you think of California’s nature scene, what comes to mind? Do you have visions of women roller skating down the Venice Beach boardwalk? There are surfers in the ocean and families lounging on the beach. Is California all about summer fun? Not at all.
California is an incredibly diverse state. Sure, you can surf and swim in California, but you can also hike through dense forests, climb tall mountains, and even ski or snowboard. This alone, makes it a great place for a road trip.
California is kind of like an entire world in one state. There are balmy beaches and frozen glaciers. You can be in the desert or in a lush forest or by the lake. Regardless of your ideal climate, California can keep up with what you’re looking for.
9. A Moving Landmark
Do you know those classic cable cars in San Francisco? You’ve seen them in movies and commercials, and even on that family favorite sitcom, Full House.
These cable cars make up the first “moving landmark” in the United States. They’re a clear representation of San Francisco and they’re the only old-school cable cars that still function today.
10. Stick to Your Guns
Did you know that there might be weapons under your feet? This is one of our favorite cool facts about California. Don’t worry, you’re not in danger. In San Francisco, you might be walking on guns! In the 1800s, residents were looking for ways to pave the roads and make them more accessible.
Sure, there are plenty of things that you could use to pave a muddy road, but guns and ammo were in no short supply. Excess guns were dumped into the mud to make a paved path.
11. San Francisco’s “Furry Kids”
While this isn’t true for California as a whole, this is one of the California facts that’s worth a read, even if it’s San Francisco-focused. There are more dogs than children in San Francisco.
There are a lot of reasons for this. The primary one is that the cost of living in San Francisco is extreme. Even for tech workers who make a good amount of money, the idea of expanding their families isn’t appealing when money doesn’t go very far in the city. Instead, people adopt pets. If you’re a dog owner with no intention of procreating, you’ll find friends in San Francisco. Check out the dog parks!
12. Ups and Downs
We already talked about California’s climate diversity, but did you know that it’s also home to both the highest and lowest points in the mainland United States? This is one of the most surprising facts about California!
Mount Whitney is the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States. It’s a whopping 14,505 feet tall! Part of it is in Sequoia National Park, so you can see the biggest tree and the biggest mountain all in one giant hike if you’re up for it.
The lowest point in the contiguous United States is in Death Valley (which is less than 100 miles away from Mt. Whitney). Badwater Basin, the lowest point of Death Valley, is 282 feet below sea level. Do you want to see that difference for yourself? Go check out the Golden State! Read about Mount Whitney by Jenna of UpAndAwayMag (above photo)
Do You Love these Facts About California?
These are some of our favorite fun and interesting facts about California. The state is so big and diverse that you’ll never run out of new things to learn or explore! California has mountains, lakes, beaches, and deserts. It has Hollywood glamor and an abundance of pet dogs. So what is it missing? You!
It’s time to start planning your California adventure so you can see it for yourself. Enter your ideal destination and let us guide you so you can start your journey!
Read More About California
- San Francisco Itinerary: 72 Hours in San Francisco – A Local’s Guide to the City
- Yosemite National Park: Things to do in Yosemite National Park
- Los Angeles: 25 Best Things to Do in Los Angeles – Hollywood, Hikes, And More
- Northern California: 7 Epic Places to Visit in Northern California
- Lake Tahoe: Things to do in Lake Tahoe
- San Diego: Where To Stay In San Diego – The Best Neighborhoods & Areas
- San Diego: The Best Things to Do in San Diego – A Local’s Guide to the City
- Beaches in California: 24 Of The Best Beaches in California
- Big Sur: Big Sur Road Trip – The Best Viewpoints
- Hiking in California: 15 Best Hikes In California – Inspiration To Get Outdoors
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