Famous for its diverse geography and prime location, California has it all.
Comprised of 58 counties and 482 cities and towns, California is one of the few places in the world that is home to beaches, deserts, snow and forests, as well as uncompromised agricultural land. Unofficially divided into three regions – Northern, Central and Southern California – California is the epitome of diverse landscapes.
California contains both the highest and lowest points in the United States; has its own inland salt lake, Salton Sea, includes some of the most endangered ecological communities in the world, and is home to some of the largest, tallest and oldest trees in the world. Whatever type of locale you want to call home, you’ll find it here in California.
San Francisco Bay
Located in northern California, the San Francisco Bay is home to the cities of Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose, as well as Silicon Valley, the world-famous region that houses some of the world’s largest technology corporations.
The area features a variety of climate conditions – near the ocean there is little temperature variation (with cool foggy summers and mild rainy winters), while inland areas have hotter summers and colder winters. The San Francisco Bay Area is also known for its beautiful beaches, five-star restaurants, Napa Valley vineyards and lively theater scene.
Home to Monterey Bay, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, the Central Coast is the perfect mixture of rural and urban atmospheres. Whether you prefer the city bustle or a slower pace of life, you will find something you enjoy in the Central Coast – from spotting celebrities, to visiting a castle, to exploring a winery, the coast has it all! The area also features an array of beaches, lakes and rivers, state parks, wildlife refuges, and the famous Big Sur.
As its name suggests, Central Valley is a large, flat valley located in central California. The area is known for its agriculture, and here you will find an abundance of farmers markets, roadside produce stands and festivals that celebrate the local cheese, crops and wine. Central Valley is home to the cities of Bakersfield, Fresno and Stockton, as well as concert venues, gardens, museums and racetracks.
In addition to its natural beauty and warm weather, southern California’s deserts feature endless entertainment opportunities. Art galleries, horseback riding, hot air ballooning, spas – the deserts have it all! This region is home to the Mojave National Preserve, Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley, which contains the lowest, driest and hottest points in the United States.
Gold Country is a region in the central and northeastern part of California famous for its mineral deposits and gold mines that attracted floods of immigrants during the 1849 California Gold Rush. Gold Country is home to the state capital, Sacramento, as well as countless festivals, landmarks and museums that highlight the area’s rich history. Nowadays you can still pan for gold in local rivers, which are also notorious for their fishing, kayaking and rafting opportunities. The region’s climate is perfect for growing grapes, and with over 100 wineries, wine is one of its primary industries.
The High Sierra region is a beautiful one. Home to Kings Canyon, Lake Tahoe, Mammoth Mountain, Sequoia National Park and Yosemite, the area is bursting with breathtaking scenery. Here you will find fascinating festivals, world-renowned ski resorts and a culture rich in arts and music. The High Sierra is also home to Sequoia trees, the largest and oldest trees on Earth.
Located in southern California, the Inland Empire is home to Ontario, Palm Springs and Riverside County, and is one of the fastest-growing regions in the state. Despite its bustling atmosphere, Inland Empire stays true to its agriculture roots and contains many farms and wineries. The beautiful Big Bear Lake, San Jacinto Mountains and Bernardino National Forest can also be found in this area.
The most populous city in California, Los Angeles is famous for its art, culture and many famous attractions. With an array of amusement parks, architectural landmarks, art museums, beaches, cinemas, golf courses, live music and comedy, museums, nightlife, parks, restaurants and shopping districts, you will never have a dull moment in Los Angeles. If you love pop culture, this city is for you!
With its nature preserves, forests and trails, much of the North Coast region is rural. An abundance of fine dining opportunities, music festivals and wineries can be found in this area, as well as the famously beautiful Redwoods State Park. The North Coast’s climate ranges from mild winders and summers found in the side lands, to hot summers and snowy winters found in the inlands.
Located in southern California, Orange County is home to the cities of Anaheim and Fullerton and is the sixth most populous county in the United States. Orange County is mostly urban and is known for its classic beach towns, film festivals, fine restaurants, museums, ballet and opera, performance venues, shopping centers and theme parks (Disneyland is here!).
Located along the Pacific Coast, San Diego is the second largest city in California and the eighth largest city in the United States. San Diego ranks as the ninth most educated city in the U.S., one of the top 10 best climates in the Farmer’s Almanac, and one of the two best summer climates in the country by The Weather Channel. The city boasts 70 miles of coastline, a world-renowned zoo, famous golf courses, great food, museums, nightlife, shopping, theme parks and an active theater scene.
The Shasta region, found in northern California, is home to the city of Redding, as well as Shasta Lake, Lassen Peak, Turtle Bay Exploration Park and Sundial Bridge. Established in 1850, Shasta County was one of the original counties of California and its rich culture features arts, museums, music and year-round outdoor recreation.
Schools listed by Region
- California Lutheran University
- California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona)
- California State University, Long Beach
- California State University, Northridge
- Claremont Graduate University
- College of the Canyons
- El Camino College & Language Academy
- Los Angeles Pierce College
- Loyola Marymount University
- Santa Monica College
- University of La Verne
- University of Southern California
San Francisco Bay
- California State University, East Bay
- College of Marin
- DeVry University
- Dominican University of California
- Foothill and De Anza Colleges
- Saint Mary’s College of California
- San Francisco State University
- San Jose City College
- San Jose State University
- San Mateo Colleges
- Santa Rosa Junior College
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of California, Berkeley Extension
- University of California, Berkeley Summer Sessions