California is known as the “Golden State” for the wealth that was found below its ground, but its wealth is equally abundant above ground. It is among the most geographically diverse states in the country, encompassing the regions of coast, valley, mountain and desert. Each region has its own distinct climate, geography and tourist spots.
California's coast is known for having some of the most desirable weather in the world. While the southern coast is known for its warm summers and mild winters, the northern coast is known for being moderate and breezy throughout the year. California's sandy beaches are popularized on television, but much of the coast is rocky. Some portions of the coast give way to natural harbors, such as the San Francisco Bay. Other landmark cities in this region include San Diego and Los Angeles.
The deserts in California are divided into two basic types -- the Mojave (high desert) and the Colorado (which is low). There is very little rainfall in these regions, making it difficult for the land to sustain most plant life. They are known for extreme climates, with temperatures soaring in the daytime and then dropping to freezing levels in the night. Death Valley and Joshua Tree are two national parks that are found within California's desert region.
California's valley region, often referred to as the Central Valley, stretches from Bakersfield in the south to Vacaville in the north. The Central Valley is known for being an especially abundant area for agriculture, and produces the majority of the state's produce. The summers tend to be warm and dry, while the winters are cool and wetter. The valley is the location of the state's capital, Sacramento.
The most popular and well-known spot in California's mountain region is Yosemite, which is known for its forests, rivers and waterfalls. Mammoth, Lake Tahoe and Big Bear are all high enough in elevation that they get the most snowfall in the state, which attracts many skiers and snowboarders. Although the weather is very cold in the winter, the temperatures rise to be quite warm in the summertime.