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Here Are 20 Fun Facts About California That Only Locals Know




Get ready to uncover the Golden State’s best-kept secrets with 20 fun facts about California that are sure to surprise and delight! From towering trees to historic firsts, California is a treasure trove of unique stories and quirky trivia. So grab your sunglasses and let’s dive into the wonders of the West Coast like never before!

Largest Tree

California is home to the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park, the largest tree in the world by volume.

Oldest Lake

Mono Lake, located in Eastern California, is one of the oldest lakes in North America, estimated to be over 760,000 years old.

World’s Tallest Outdoor Climbing Wall

The world’s tallest outdoor climbing wall is at the Centro de Escalada Deportiva in Reno, which is technically in Nevada but just a stone’s throw from California.

First McDonald’s

The first McDonald’s restaurant was opened in San Bernardino, California, in 1940 by Richard and Maurice McDonald.

Golden Gate Bridge

The iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is painted “International Orange” to enhance visibility in the fog.

Silicon Valley

Home to many of the world’s largest high-tech corporations, Silicon Valley in California is considered the tech capital of the world.

Largest Economy

If California were a country, it would have the fifth-largest economy in the world, surpassing that of the United Kingdom.

Death Valley

Death Valley is the hottest and driest national park in the United States, and holds the record for the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth at 134°F (56.7°C).

Hollywood Sign

The famous Hollywood Sign originally read “Hollywoodland” when it was erected in 1923 as an advertisement for a local real estate development.

First Theme Park

Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park is considered America’s first theme park, opening in 1940 before Disneyland.

Giant Kelp Forests

Off the coast of California, you can find some of the world’s largest underwater kelp forests, which are vital ecosystems for marine life.


Alcatraz Island, located in San Francisco Bay, served as a federal prison from 1934 to 1963 and housed some of the most notorious criminals in U.S. history.

Gold Rush

The California Gold Rush began in 1848 when gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill, leading to a massive influx of settlers seeking fortune.


Napa Valley and Sonoma County are two of the most famous wine-producing regions in the world, renowned for their high-quality wines.

First Motion Picture Theater

The first motion picture theater in the United States opened in Los Angeles in 1902, known as the Electric Theater.

Mount Whitney

At 14,505 feet, Mount Whitney is the highest peak in the contiguous United States, located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

California Redwoods

The coastal redwoods of Northern California are the tallest trees in the world, with some standing over 370 feet tall.

Zzyzx Road

Zzyzx Road, located off Interstate 15 in Southern California, is famous for having the last word in the English language as its name.

Lake Tahoe

Straddling the border of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America and is known for its clear blue waters and scenic beauty.

San Andreas Fault

The San Andreas Fault is a major fault line running through California, responsible for some of the most significant earthquakes in U.S. history.

Currently residing in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and Pomeranian, Mochi. Leo is a lover of all things travel related outside and inside the United States. Leo has been to every continent and continues to push to reach his goals of visiting every country someday. Learn more about Leo on MuckRack.

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