What is Fresno CA known for

California - the golden state

California, which is nicknamed the "Golden State" (Golden State), is the third largest of the federal states in terms of area and is therefore roughly twice the size of Great Britain.

Table of Contents
California is not just a vacationer's paradise | Earthquake | Climate and Weather | Main sights | Tickets for attractions and activities | Alcohol and Smoking | Taxes | Traffic rules | Hotels, apartments and holiday homes

Anaheim | Bakersfield | Beverly Hills | Long Beach | Los Angeles | Oakland | Riverside | Sacramento | San Diego | San Francisco | San José | Santa Ana | Stockton

California is bigger than Germany and Switzerland combined. The state owes its nickname to its sunny climate and the time of the "gold rush". In terms of population, California is the most populous state in the United States. Every eighth American lives here. Every third inhabitant is of Spanish-speaking descent, almost 12% of the population have Asian ancestors. The proportion of whites has fallen to 47%. The largest cities are Los Angeles (around 3.7 million), San Diego (over 1.3 million), San Jose (around 950,000), San Francisco (over 800,000) and Fresno (around 500,000).

The landscape is diverse and offers something of almost everyone: beaches, mountains, rugged coasts, deserts, forests and vineyards. Here you can find the highest mountain in the USA outside of Alaska (Mount Whitney, over 4,400 m high) and also the lowest point (Death Valley, 86 m below sea level).

The country's climatic and geographical advantages make it one of the most popular residential and tourist areas in the USA. The landscape is diverse: Bathing beaches on the Pacific, Mountain ranges the Sierra Nevada and Sand dunes in the valley of death. Even the constant danger of earthquakes through the San Andreas Fissure, which stretches over 900 km from Mexico to northern San Francisco, is not a deterrent.

California is not just a vacationer's paradise

But California is not just a vacationer's paradise, the state is threatened by water shortages, forest fires and financial difficulties. The budget deficit reached a record high of around 38 billion dollars in 2002. The liberalization of the electricity market is considered a failure and the end of the high-tech boom is foreseeable. The world's fifth largest economy in its own right has poor credit ratings among the 50 states.

The governor is head of administration and is directly elected by the people. He has no policy authority, but still has considerable influence. He can veto parliamentary decisions and convene special sessions of MPs. He has extensive control over the finances and is the master of around 140,000 civil servants. According to Article 5 of the Constitution, the governor exercises the right of grace (although there are hardly any controversial executions in California any more).

Literature tip:
GEO Special No. 1 February / March 2006 "California & Las Vegas" reports on the Golden State and Sin City, including hotel recommendations and a travel service section of over 20 pages.



From a seismographic point of view, a “big” earthquake must be expected at any time (the big one), numerous smaller earthquakes are considered “common”. The earthquake hazard in the state of California is many times greater than that in other states in the country. See also an article in the world. The U.S. Geological Survey has an online map for California that includes an earthquake forecast for the next 24 hours. Typically, most areas in California have a 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 100,000 chance of an earthquake. But in certain areas the risk increases to 1: 1,000 for an earthquake to occur.

Climate and Weather

The climate is generally mild, with warm summers and cool winters. The extent of California covers 100 degrees of latitude and the climatic differences are correspondingly large. “It never rains in California” is just a hit phrase, the reality is different.

South of the city of Santa Barbara, the cliché applies to the greatest possible extent: blue skies, sun, searing heat. On the coast the winds cool, the further you go into the hinterland, the more oppressive it becomes. North from Santa Barbara to San Francisco, the weather is more capricious. It's not that hot anymore, the water is cooler and even in summer there are more clouds in the sky during the day.

San Francisco itself has weather peculiarities due to its location. The summer months are not hot, because the famous fog covers the city like a haze and hinders the sun's rays. The Golden Gate Bridge can usually only be seen from noon, sometimes not at all. Many hotels therefore do not have air conditioning in the rooms. The best time to travel to San Francisco is from late August to mid-October.

North of San Francisco, the summers are noticeably cooler and wetter. Gray skies and clouds can last for several days in a row. For the area south of San Francisco, the months of April / May and September / October are considered the best travel times. On the coast there is changeable, fresh weather, in the inland it is pleasantly warm. The main season with a corresponding rush is from mid-June to mid-September.

Main sights

Yosemite N.P.
A beautiful mountain valley with waterfalls, mountains, lakes, meadows and giant trees. On June 30, 1864, Abraham Lincoln declared the area around the Mariposa Grove the first state park in the USA, and Yosemite became a national park 26 years later. The real one Yosemite Valley occupies only 7 of the total of 1,169 square miles. In addition to the 186 m high Bridal Veil Falls, the highest waterfall in the USA belongs to the Yosemite Falls, with 730 m to the main attractions. The edge of the gorge offers a view of the two-thousand-meter mountains El Capitan and Half dome. Hardly any other national park has such an abundance of natural beauties, but hardly any other is so congested.
If you want to (or have to) explore the Yosemite National Park in an environmentally friendly way by public transport, there is the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System; Details on the yarts.com and yosemiteconservancy.org websites.
The road to Glacier Point is closed in winter. Nevertheless, you can also reach this place in winter and have a fantastic view of Half Dome. However, this is only possible with skis on a 10.5 mile trip from Badger Pass.
The TV series "Treasures of the World - Heritage of Humanity" focuses on Yosemite National Park, Seasons of a Natural Wonder. The 15-minute film is also available online.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon N.P.
The mightiest trees in the world that Sequoias (Sequoia), with their incredible trunk diameter, are an impressive highlight of a visit to the park. The mountain wilderness between Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley is largely deserted, apart from a few spur roads. The eastern edge of Sequoia N.P. marked Mt Whitney, at 4,418 m highest mountain in the USA (18 km long hiking trail to the summit). The Generals Highway connects Kings Canyon N.P. with the Sequoia N.P. from Grant Grove via Giant Forest to Ash Mountain. The connecting road is winding and 74 km long.

Kings Canyon N.P.
General Grant Grove with General Grant Tree, the largest and oldest Christmas tree of the USA. The over 90 meter high Christmas tree is the third largest Sequoia and between 1,800 and 2,000 years old. Special Christmas celebrations are held there on the second Sunday in December each year, with the high school choir singing Christmas carols and the national park rangers laying a wreath. Redwood Mountain Grove with other mighty sequoias. The Panoramic Point east of General Grant Grove offers views of the High Sierra and San Joaquin Valley.

Sequoia N.P.
A trail leads through the numerous giant trees of the Giant Forest. The highlight is in the truest sense of the word the world's largest Sequoia with a height of 84 m and a trunk circumference of 31 m, the General Sherman Tree. Moro Rock is a granite monolith high above the San Joaquin Valley, stairs lead up to the summit. www.nps.gov/seki/

San Francisco
Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Parks and numerous other attractions. For more details, please click here: San Francisco

los Angeles
with Hollywood and Beverly Hills as well as the suburbs of Santa Barbara and Santa Monica. Downtown Los Angeles - a no-go area for many years - is experiencing a new high as a residential area. Spiegel reported on this on February 13, 2006 in the article “New wings for the city of angels”: www.spiegel.de/reise/fernweh/0,1518,399692,00.html. Fodor's “5 Days in Los Angeles” offers tips for a 5-day stay in Los Angeles: www.fodors.com/news/5-days-in-los-angeles-1578. Fodor’s recommends the best beaches around Los Angeles on the website www.fodors.com/news/an-insiders-guide-to-las-beaches_1-5442:

  • Venice Beach (best people watching)
  • Zuma Beach (pleasing ten different personalities)
  • Santa Monica Beach (chatting anybody and everybody up)

Los Angeles prejudices:

  • It's always sunny
    Winter is the rainy season, but there are also sunny sections.
  • It's hot on the beaches
    The average temperature on the beaches is around 21 degrees Celsius, which can also be the case in July and August. However, there are usually a few weeks with heat waves up to 30 degrees in the summer months. In winter the temperatures are below 21 degrees.
  • Nobody goes on foot
    Los Angeles is a motoring city. But Americans also walk on the beach and in the shopping centers, especially in Hollywood, Downtown, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Long Beach, etc. Of course, there are also hiking trails around the city.
  • L.A. residents work in the entertainment industry
    Los Angeles is the largest manufacturing center in the United States.
  • The beaches are populated by blondes
    70 percent of the population in Los Angeles County is unknown, with Hispanics making up the largest part of the population at 44%. Accordingly, Spanish-speaking families dominate beach life.

Griffith Observatory
On November 3, 2006, the Griffith Observatory in the mountains of Los Angeles will reopen after renovation. Five new exhibition rooms and a learning center impart space knowledge. The view from Griffith Park over Los Angeles remains sensational, especially at sunset and when the lights go out in the city. www.griffithobs.org

Napa / Sonoma Wine Country
The most famous wine-growing region in the USA with top-quality wines and the opportunity to visit wineries. Fodor’s has a travel guide in English to the Napa Valley online: www.fodors.com/world/north-america/usa/california/napa-and-sonoma/.
For information about the city of Calistoga, Napa Valley, visit about.com: gocalifornia.about.com/cs/napasonoma/a/calistoga.htm.

Santa Ynez Valley for wine lovers is a two hour drive north of Los Angeles. In December 2005, Stern reported on this area under the title “In the Wild West with the winemakers”: www.stern.de/reise/fernreisen/kalifornia-im-wilden-westen-bei-den-winzern-551007.html?nv = nl_hp_rt.

Monterey Bay Aquarium
More than 6,500 marine animals can be viewed up close. www.montereybayaquarium.org.

Getty Museums in Malibu and Los Angeles
After a $ 275 million renovation, the Oil tycoon J. Paul Getty open to the public again in Malibu. The building is modeled on the Villa de Papiri from the 1st century and towers high above the Pacific. The highlight is the collections on the cultures of the Greeks, Romans and Etruscans. In addition to a collection of vessels from all cultures, the niche-like temple of Heracles with the statue of Hercules should be emphasized. On the second floor there are sculptures, jewelry and coin exhibits.
The property has been closed since 1997 when the Getty Center opened near Los Angeles, which features collections of Western art (paintings and photos) from the Middle Ages to the modern era. The collections of the Getty Center are so extensive that they are overwhelming for the normal day visitor.
The Getty museums are considered richest museums on earthafter all, they were endowed with a foundation of more than $ 700 million by their founder. Admission to the exhibitions is free, but advance reservations are required for the Getty Villa in Malibu. Details of the exhibitions can be found at
getty.edu/visit. There was turbulence in the management of the Getty Trust. Die Welt reported on this in the article “Checkmate” on February 13, 2006.

Tickets for attractions and activities

Tickets for attractions and activities in California can be found at www.getyourguide.de.

Alcohol and smoking

Alcohol is available for purchase throughout the state. Alcohol is prohibited under the age of 21. Smoking is prohibited in public buildings and means of transport; otherwise, this is often structured differently from region to region. Tobacco products can only be bought from the age of 18.


The state sales tax is 7.25%, local surcharges can be up to 2.50%. Status: 06/06/2012

Traffic rules

The minimum age for driving is 18 years, for locals with special training 16 years. There is a blood alcohol limit of 0.8 when driving a car. If driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is suspected, a blood test is mandatory.

Seat belts are to be worn by all occupants. For children under 4 years of age or weighing less than 40 lbs. a certified child seat is required. Children under 6 years of age or weighing less than 60 lbs. Must be secured in a special safety seat (safety seat or booster seat). Motorcyclists must wear a helmet. Helmets are also compulsory for cyclists under the age of 18.

Turning right in spite of a red traffic light is generally permitted (right on red). Accidents are to be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles if people have been injured or the property damage is more than $ 500.

Hotels, apartments and holiday homes

For hotels, apartments and vacation rentals in California, visit www.booking.com.