State: California – CA

Geography map of california

Published on June 1st, 2015 | by Brandon Ramsey in Geography


Located on the west coast of the United States, California is one of the most well-known of the 50 U.S. States. It is a state bordered by Nevada to the east, Oregon to the north, and the Mexican state of Baja California to the south. With such popular locations like Los Angeles, Hollywood, and plenty more, this state has a lot to offer for both visitors and citizens alike.

Before we dive into the geography, climate, culture, and tourist attractions of this state, let’s first take a look at some key information:

  • State Capital: Sacramento
  • Largest City: Los Angeles
  • Ranked 3rd in surface area
  • Admitted to the Union on September 9th, 1850
  • Located in the Pacific Time Zone (UTC -8/UTC -7 during Daylight Saving Time)
  • State Bird: Quail
  • State Flower:  Poppy
  • State office: ca.gov 
  • State Flag

map of california in the united states

An Overview of The State

With over 38 million people, this is the most populous state in the United States. It is the third largest state by area and houses some of the most iconic locations in the world. It was originally settled by various Native American tribes prior to being discovered by European explorers in the 16th and 17th centuries.

map of california

During this time it was claimed by Spain as part of the Spanish Empire and added as a part of Atla California in the territory of New Spain. For a time, it was part of Mexico after the country had succeeded in gaining its independence. After the Mexican-American War, it became part of the United States again.

It was admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850. The area saw a massive influx of immigrants and hopefuls during the Gold Rush, which began in 1848. With a wide range of geographical features, the state has a lot to offer in terms of scenery.

The state is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which results in over 37,000 earthquakes each year. Luckily, most of them are two small to feel. Remarkably, as much as half of the fruit produced in the United States comes out of this state. As a result, the state also leads in the production of vegetables too.

The state’s economy is also heavily dependent on aerospace, education, manufacturing, and the technology industry. If this state were its own country, it would have the 8th or 9th largest economy in the world.

The Geography and Climate of California

After Alaska and Texas, this is the 3rd largest state in the United States. The middle of the state houses the Central Valley. In the east lies the Sierra Nevada and in the west are the coastal mountain ranges. The Cascade Range lies to the north, and the Tehachapi Mountains are in the south.

The central valley is the heart of the state’s agriculture. It is divided by the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. This delta is a major supply of water for the state. Much of the water that flows through here is redirected throughout the other parts of the state.

To give you an idea of how important this delta and its water is, it is responsible for supplying drinking water to over 23 million people, which is two-thirds of the state’s population. That same source of water is also used to maintain farms in the state.

Moving on to the Sierra Nevada, this range contains Mount Whitney, which is the tallest peak in the 48 continental states. This mountain range wraps around the Yosemite Valley which is famous for Sequoia National park where you can find giant sequoia trees.

These trees are the largest living organisms on the Earth. The park also contains Lake Tahoe, which is the largest lake in the state by volume. Roughly 45 percent of the state’s surface is covered by forests. It has more forestland than any other state, save for Alaska.

A large number of the trees in the White Mountains are among the oldest in the world. For example, one Bristlecone pine in the forest is over 5,000 years old! There is a desert in the south-central region of the state called the Mojave. Just northeast of here is the iconic Death Valley which is the lowest and hottest place on Earth; the Badwater Basin.

The state’s location on the Ring of Fire results in it being subjected to tsunamis, floods, wildfires, landslides, volcanoes, and earthquakes. In particular, there are several faults running through the state’s area, including the San Andreas Fault.

The state enjoys a Mediterranean climate that includes cool, rainy winters and dry summers. As you move inland, the winters get colder and the summers get hotter. Similarly, as you move upward in the state, the rainfall averages go higher and higher as well. The mountain ranges in the state are responsible for regulating the climate in each area.

Popular Tourist Attractions in The State

Now it’s time to find out what makes this state so popular. These tourist attractions in the state are great for both visitors and native Californians alike. Let’s find out what they are!

1. Yosemite National Park

This national park has everything from waterfalls, to mountains, to valleys and rivers. This valley was carved out by melting glaciers during the last ice age.  This incredible place must be seen to be believed.

2. Disneyland

This is one of the most famous theme parks in the world. It is located in Anaheim and houses a wide variety of rides, shows, and restaurants. It is truly a place where anyone can step into the worlds of Disney and feel like they are in the movies they love. Beyond just the parks, there is also Downtown Disney where you can find shops, dining, and resorts.

3. Death Valley

Death Valley and its national park is home to some of the most grueling terrain in the world. Dunes, mountains, and vast plains of desert keep you parched. That being said, the sights are truly spectacular and offer some incredible lookouts that can be visited by car if you prefer.

4. Golden Gate Bridge

This famous bridge in San Francisco is a modern marvel of human architecture. It’s an iconic symbol for anyone who thinks about the city and stretches across the San Francisco Bay. It’s truly a sight to behold.

5. Hollywood

The central hub of the entertainment history known as Hollywood is located in the central area of Los Angeles. What began as a small community in 1870 is now one of the most popular destinations for tourists and hopeful performers alike.

Now that you know a bunch about this state, it’s time to see if you truly know everything. Join us for a list of facts about California next as we fill in the last of the information you need to become an expert in this state.

Don’t forget to share your knowledge about this state in the comments below!

printable map of california



About the Author
Brandon Ramsey

Brandon Ramsey is the head author and editor of The Time Now Blog. Be sure to follow us via social media!


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