The state of California contains a wealth of natural wonders that are loved by international students.
From national parks to gorgeous beaches, international students are spoilt for choice on options to blow off steam after classes and especially after submitting that important assignment.
Not sure where to start? Here are our top five spots every nature-loving international student in California shouldn’t explore:
1. Racetrack Playa
With mysterious stones that glide on their own and leave imprinted trails behind them, this is one of the Death Valley National Park’s most bizarre spots to visit. This large, dry lake bed is about three miles long and two miles wide, not too far away from other main attractions at the park too, like the Mesquite Sand Dunes.
But getting here takes a little advanced planning. You’ll need to go through long, rough and rocky roads through a remote landscape for at least one-third of the 83-mile drive from the Furnace Valley Visitor Center. Enjoy the journey and once you get there, it will all be worthwhile once you take in the beauty of the place.
2. Pfeiffer Beach
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Pfeiffer Beach is known for its Instagrammable sunsets and soft purple sand. A favourite of photographers and locals, it’s relatively unknown among tourists but more than worth your time. Bring a couple of friends along for an unforgettable picnic here with enviable views of sweeping vistas and dramatic cliffs.
3. Lava Tube in the Mojave Desert
In some earlier time, lava tubes were the channels of lava that flowed down slope from a volcanic vent or fissure. During an eruption, it drains the lava from the volcano. In extinct lava tubes where the lava flow has ceased, the rocks cool and a long cave is formed.
In the Mojave Desert, you’ll be able to experience first-hand this natural phenomena together with the fantastic light beam that shines through it at certain times in the day.
If you can’t get enough of it, California has other lava tubes worth checking out in Lassen National Park and the Lava Tubes National Monument, too.
4. Yosemite National Park
This famous trail for hikers comes with spectacular views of the tallest waterfalls in the US and panoramas of the valley floor. There are two options for this trail: two-miles for moderate hikers and seven-miles for the more advanced amongst us.
Spring is the best time to come here as the waterfalls flow in abundance. Summer can get really hot so be sure to get here early! Pro tip: bring water, as drinking water would not be available at the trail and never stray from the trail as it can lead to a steep and very dangerous drop.
5. Fern Canyon at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
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Fifty miles north of Eureka is one of the most beautiful state parks in the world. The key attraction here is the majestic redwood trees set among the oldest forests in the world. The trees with giant amber-hued trunks and leafy canopies make up almost all of the world’s old-growth redwood trees.
It’s a serene environment that’s sure to beat those exam blues away. Not too far off is the Fern Canyon, where scenes in the Jurassic Park film were shot. There’s also the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park which has sandy beaches and expansive open meadows.