Located on the west coast, California is one of America’s largest states, following Alaska and Texas, and it is certainly one of the most talked about and visited states. Locals love the fact that their state is governed progressively by former action hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger, he of Terminator fame.

America’s ‘Golden State’ is perhaps best known for the gold rush of 1849, when several forward thinking people became extremely rich almost overnight. The state’s coastline, with its Mediterranean climate, has traditionally enticed extensive populations. Sittin’ on the dock of the bay in San Francisco brings out the hippie in anyone.

Soak up some history on Alcatraz Island, travel on cable cars and make sure you take a photograph of the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge. Close by, Silicon Valley is seen by most of the world as being the most liberal place on earth and is home to Stanford University and a crush of futuristic companies.

The heavily populated Los Angeles sits comfortably at the southern end of the state, boasting pollution, traffic jams, super trendy people and of course Hollywood. LA is also home to the state’s political power.

Home to a number of excellent theme parks, southern California is a popular destination for family vacations. Attractions include Disneyland, Six Flags Magic Mountain, California Adventure and Universal Studios among many others. Millions of tourists each year flock to the state to visit these parks.

San Diego has much to offer in the way of beautiful beaches and water sports. The Wild Animal Park, Sea World and Mission San Diego de Acala are just some of the attractions that draw the crowds, and all three can be visited on one pass, which will save you money.

California boasts some absolutely stunning hiking areas, with Mono Lake, Yosemite Park and Lake Tahoe being some of the top attractions. Those who can bear the heat should head to the magnificent Death Valley, but the incredible redwood rainforests of the north coast have something completely different to offer and need to be seen to be believed.