California, known as the Golden State, is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. Having 38 million inhabitants, it is the largest US state by population, and the third largest by area (after Alaska and Texas). It is bordered by Oregon to the north, Nevada to the east, Arizona to the southeast, and the Mexican state of Baja California to the south. Its state capital is Sacramento, largest city is Los Angeles, and largest metro is Greater Los Angeles Area. California’s landscape spans over 160,000 square miles; its border to the west is made up of a rugged coastline along the Pacific Ocean while its south-eastern part is dominated by desert that covers 25% of California's total area. Meanwhile, the state’s climate varies from temperate at the coast to harsh winters of the mountains to one of the world's hottest regions in the deserts.
What to see & do
California is home to many popular attractions known across the world. There’s Disneyland, Hollywood, and Malibu beaches in the south; the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the hills of San Francisco, the vineyards of Napa Valley, and the capital, Sacramento, in the north; while some of the minor cities are home to a number of North America's most rugged national parks, skiing/snowboarding areas, and ancient northern forests. See Los Angeles’ Hollywood sign, the Walk of Fame, the Graumann's Chinese Theater, Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive, and plenty of wide, sandy beaches stretching miles and miles; San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, a large Chinatown, and Italian North Beach; San Diego’s world-renowned zoo, safari park, the Sea World marine theme park, and the thriving downtown area; Disneyland in Anaheim; and Santa Barbara, known as "the American Riviera."
How to get around within California
Despite its massive size (California is the same land area with Sweden), getting around the state is easy and convenient, having a reliable extensive public transport system. Navigating around by car is usually the best way to explore California, with its expansive state highway systems, aside from interstates and US highways. Make sure you have a good map with you as the network of freeways in major population centres can be confusing for first-time visitors. For long-distance intrastate travels, getting on a plane is the best and fastest option. American Eagle, Alaska, United and United Express, JetBlue, Virgin America, Delta Connection, and Southwest offer intrastate service. California’s various rail services offer cheap and reasonably comfortable services. Amtrak operates a number of long-distance routes through and out of the state. While it can get rugged, getting around the bus is one of the cheapest ways to get around the state, with Greyhound serving around 100 locations state-wide – though some of these are just stops, not actual stations.
How to get there
Most cities in the state have an international airport, the largest being Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which offers flights to six continents. The airport links 87 domestic and 69 international destinations in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Oceania; with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines being its most prominent air carriers. Another is San Francisco International Airport (SFO), located near Millbrae and San Bruno in unincorporated San Mateo County, which offers numerous flights to Europe and serves as an important gateway to and from Asia. Aer Lingus, Aeroméxico, Air Canada, Air China, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, British Airways, All Nippon Airways, Air France, Emirates, EVA Air, Hawaiian Airlines, KLM, Korean Air, Philippine Airlines, Singapore Airlines, United Airlines, United Express, and Virgin America are some of the airlines that serve SFO, with flights to and from London, Hong Kong, Seoul, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Taipei, Vancouver, Beijing, Paris, and Toronto, among others. Aside from air transit, California can be accessed by road, with all major road entrances (including entrances from other U.S. States) having agricultural inspection stations ensuring that fruits and vegetables that may have come into contact with the farms in the Central Valley do not cross into a region.