7 Amazing Natural Wonders Hiding In Plain Sight In Southern California — No Hiking Required
It can take a bit of effort to find and enjoy many of this
state’s natural wonders, some even requiring strenuous or even boat rides to explore. That being said, there are several easily accessible natural wonders in Southern California that you can appreciate without any hiking at all.
1. Moreton Bay Fig Tree - Santa Barbara, CA
This massive and beautiful
Moreton Bay Fig Tree
is over 145 years old, having been brought as a tiny sapling from Australia in 1876. Not only is it believed to be the largest of its kind in the country, but it is a designated State Historic Landmark. The huge above-ground roots, which appear to flow in tall, narrow waves from the trunk, are fascinating to see. To view the Moreton Bay Fig Tree, you only need to drive down the street behind the Santa Barbara train station.
Chapala Street & West Montecito Street, Chapala St & W Montecito St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA
2. La Brea Tar Pits - Los Angeles, CA
La Brea Tar Pits
, in the heart of Los Angeles, is a group of natural pits where you can still see natural asphalt bubbling up from below the earth’s surface. This is one of the world’s most famous active paleontological sites where fossils and prehistoric skeletons have been and continue to be excavated and studied. The on-site museum lets you see the whole process of discovery.
5801 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA
3. Antelope Valley California poppy Reserve - Lancaster, CA
The hills and fields of the
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
come to life in the most glorious way each spring when vibrant California poppies bloom and cover the ground as far as you can see. Driving into the park is enough to enjoy some thrilling views, or you can walk on the nearly eight miles of trails through the park.
4. Point Mugu Rock - Ventura County, CA
Point Mugu is a headland that juts out from the shore into the waves of the Pacific Ocean, and it features a huge rock formation, Mugu Rock, which was a result of Pacific Coast Highway being constructed. It was cut through the edge of the mountain, creating this large, pointed formation that has become an iconic landmark on the highway where it leaves the coast and turns inland as it heads north.
799 E Pacific Coast Hwy, NAS Point Mugu, CA 93042, USA
5. Artists Pallette - Death Valley, CA
California’s desert is surprisingly full of interesting sights, many of which are easily accessible, such as Death Valley’s incredible
. This area of rugged peaks has patches of brilliant color caused by the oxidation of metal in the rocks. The "palette" is located along the fully paved Artists Drive loop.
6. Bioluminescent Waves - San Diego and Los Angeles Counties, CA
During spring and summer months, several Southern California beaches become a spectacular light show.
, the result of a type of algae bloom, sparkle and glow a bright blue color that is truly surreal. The phenomenon occurs at beaches throughout Los Angeles and San Diego Counties, with one of the most well-known and consistent sites being around Scripps pier in San Diego.
7. Vasquez Rocks - Agua Dulce, CA
Although it is hard not to want to hike around (and up!) the Vasquez Rocks, you can enjoy them and take some great photos right from the parking area, or take a short walk around for different perspectives. These dramatic rock formations, formed by layers of sedimentary deposits and seismic activity pushing up the layers, are especially stunning as the sun gets lower in the sky.
Vasquez Rocks Natural Area and Nature Center, 10700 Escondido Canyon Rd, Agua Dulce, CA 91390, USA
These natural wonders in Southern California are easy for everyone to get close to. Have you seen them for yourself? What is the most impressive state wonder you have seen? If you are up for a bit more of an adventure, read about a few
natural wonders worth the effort to discover.
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