California is on every travelers’ list. It’s a hotspot for food, wellness, road trips, sightseeing, and especially photography and Instagram.  When visiting California, you have to check out these five amazing coastal towns to skyrocket your experience.

1. Malibu

Venice Beach California Travel Guide

Image via Flickr by NickiMM

When thinking about Southern California, we immediately imagine the ocean crashing up against pristine beaches, surfers enjoying the waves, and Los Angeles. Malibu offers all of this. It’s close enough to famous LA that you could head over for a day of Hollywood stargazing, yet it still retains that perfect beachy vibe. Touring Malibu can leave you in awe of humongous celebrity homes and giant waves, yet it still has that small-town feel. Malibu is a best-of-both-worlds experience with Hollywood stars, larger-than-life living, unreal beaches, restaurants, and that SoCal vibe. Flying into LAX can be intimidating with  all that LA traffic, so finding airport transfers like through can really relieve the stress.

2. San Diego

When considering California, San Diego is likely one of the top places that come to mind, with its SoCal beachy vibes, perfect Instagram moments, and barreling ocean waves. There is so much to experience in San Diego, which boasts one of the most famous zoos in the world, gorgeous national parks, and the beaches and weather of a paradisaical island. When navigating San Diego, check out this San Diego city guide to get the most out of your experience.

3. Carmel-by-the-Sea

Driving the Big Sur route is the road trip dreams are made of. Imagine driving with the warm California breeze blowing in your face as you traverse photographically perfect cliffs and mountains, watching the sea crash into the edge of the shore. Carmel-by-the-Sea is a must-stop town because it’s positioned as the perfect stopping point for this road trip of epic proportions. It’s a small, cute, and quaint town serving as inspiration for many writers, artists, and poets. There are lots of hotels and restaurants, as well as many places to relax, in this picturesque coastal Californian town.

4. San Francisco

San Francisco, California, is one of the biggest cities in the state as well as a cultural capital. It’s the home of the Golden Gate Bridge, the famous Chinatown, the Walt Disney Family Museum, Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, and, of course, Fisherman’s Wharf. San Francisco is a cultural mosaic, you can almost taste the world in restaurants there. You will not be left without things to see and do with tours of the Bay Area and Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary available.

5. Berkeley

In the San Francisco Bay Area is Berkeley, home to one of the more famous universities in the United States, the University of California, Berkeley. It may no longer fully embrace the free-spirited hippie vibe as a symbol of the hippie movement, but Berkeley is still very mellow and progressive. It’s known for its 1960s political activism related to free thought, the civil rights movement, and anti-war protests. In modern-day Berkeley, you can learn more about the social change of the hippie movement and visit historic sites, but you can also embrace the arts, culture, and cuisine that has evolved.

California is such an interesting area of the United States, as it boasts a variety of popular ideas, a mosaic of cultures, some of the best food in the country, and the perfect traveling vibe. If it is not on your list already, it should be now!

*This article has been created in conjunction with GoDoTrip*