7 Beautiful Northern California Locations You Probably Didn't Know Existed
Discovering unknown and lesser-known places in the state where you live provides some fun and excitement. Even if you’ve lived in California all of your life, there are always new places to explore and discover. These beautiful Northern California locations are places you probably didn’t know existed. Whether you’re a native Californian or a recent transplant, exploring the state’s lesser-known destinations can be a rewarding and exhilarating experience.
1. Glass Beach– Fort Bragg
Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, CA 95437, USA
This is a true trash-to-treasure story! Starting in the early 20th century, garbage was dumped on this beach all the way until the 1960s. Several efforts were made to clean up the area, and it was decided that the glass and pottery would be tumbled by the crashing waves.
It worked well and today this
is covered in colorful sea glass. The glass has been smoothed over time by the ocean waves. It’s definitely a sight to see!
2. Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens– Mendocino
You’d think this 47-acre ocean-front
would be more crowded. Since it’s a drive from the major cities, this picturesque garden doesn’t get the traffic that San Francisco’s botanical garden does, but it is equally beautiful.
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens contains a nursery where you can purchase plants, a botanical garden to explore, plus a cafe and gift shop.
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, 18220 CA-1, Fort Bragg, CA 95437, USA
Purchase tickets in advance to explore this beautiful garden. Check the botanical garden’s website to see their upcoming events, like Yoga at the Gardens and Art in the Gardens. The gardens, gift shop, nursery, and cafe are open daily.
3. The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas– Ukiah
City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, 4951 Bodhi Way, Ukiah, CA 95482, USA
features a large temple, meditation hall, and several gardens.
The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas was one of the first Buddhist monasteries built in the United States. There are a lot of beautiful structures to explore here. The Jeweled Hall of 10,000 Buddhas has a 20-foot statue of a thousand-armed Avalokitesvara and walls adorned with 10,000 images of the Buddha. Visitors are welcome daily from 1-5 p.m.
4. Anderson Marsh State Historic Park– Lower Lake
Anderson Marsh State Historic Park, 8400 CA-53, Lower Lake, CA 95457, USA
This Lake County park is home to a variety of wildlife and migratory birds. Visitors can hike the park’s trails and take in views of Clear Lake, the largest natural lake in California.
Anderson Marsh State Historic Park contains a marsh, historic ranch structures, and archeological sites of the Pomo people. Take a
guided trail walk
on the second Saturday of each month.
5. Sherman Island County Park– Rio Vista
Sherman Island County Park, 4800w Sherman Island Rd, Rio Vista, CA 94571, USA
This Sacramento County park is known as a fantastic place to windsurf. This little bit of land on the Sacramento River is also a great place to picnic, boat, kite-board, fish, and enjoy all sorts of water sports.
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a beautiful area with parks and sloughs, plus lots of wineries and over-water restaurants.
6. Whiskey Flat Swimming Basin– Butte Valley
Butte Valley, CA 95965, USA
Bring a floaty and towels to this swimming hole that’s only known to locals.
You’ll need at least AWD to manage the rough road to this swimming hole, but take a truck or off-road vehicle if you have one. It’s a slow and bumpy drive to this area of unspoiled nature, but it’s so worth it. The water here is a beautiful blue color and pretty chilly– perfect to cool off in after basking in the hot sun.
7. Happy Camp
Located in the northernmost part of the state in Siskiyou County, Happy Camp is a tranquil census-designated place with beautiful forests, and quiet streams and rivers.
Happy Camp is located off of California Route 96, also known as “Bigfoot Scenic Byway”. The town is tiny, but there is a market, a lodge, and a pizza restaurant. The draw of Happy Camp is all the beautiful nature and the many trails that start right in the town.
Happy Camp, CA 96039, USA
Hike the Happy Camp Town Trail to get a scenic view of the town from the top of a mountain. Don’t miss the chance to relax next to the beautiful Klamath River, which runs next to Happy Camp. Finally, visit the Karuk Tribe People’s Center Museum & Gift Shop in Happy Camp to explore exhibits that feature the local Karuk People’s history and art.
There are many reasons to visit these beautiful unknown places in California, even if you live nearby. On these seven adventures, you might be able to connect with nature, explore local culture, relax, and enjoy a new experience.
OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article.
Explore Northern California