California facts

Climate/Topography

  • California, the third largest state in land area, covers 155,779.22 square miles. 

  • The average width of the state is 150 to 200 miles. 

  • California has a coastline 1,264 miles long 

  • At 14,495 feet, Mt. Whitney in Sequoia National Park is the highest point in the contiguous United States.  

  • Badwater in Death Valley National Park, at 282 feet below sea level, is the lowest elevation point in the United States.  

  • California has three active volcanoes:  Mt. Lassen (elevation 10,457 feet) and Mt. Shasta (elevation 14,162) in the Cascade Mountain range, and Mt. Mammoth (elevation 11,000 feet) in the Sierra Nevada. 

  • The San Francisco Bay is the largest natural harbor and estuary on the west coast. 

  • California is home to more than 420 recreational lakes. The largest natural freshwater lake is Clearlake. 

  • California has 4.1 million acres in National Park acreage and 1.3 million acres in State Park acreage. 

  • California boasts the largest trees in the world. The General Sherman Tree, located in Kings Canyon National Park, is the largest in the world at 52,508 cubic feet.

  • California also lays claim to oldest living thing in the world. The Great Basin Bristlecone Pines, in the White Mountains near Bishop, are the oldest living non-clonal organisms and though to be 5,070 years old. 

Fun Facts

  • California is home to the "Avocado Capital of the World". Check out the avocado festival in Fallbrook near San Diego to celebrate! 

  • The San Francisco cable cars were the first moving National Historic Landmark. 

  • Death Valley is the hottest National Park in the county having reached 134 degrees Fahrenheit (57 degrees Celsius). 

  • California is where the internet was born! in 1969, the first ARPANET message was sent from UCLA. 

  • The name California comes from a 16th-century Spanish novel that describes a mythical paradise called California. 

  • California boasts 1,100 miles of coastline with sandy beaches, cliffs and mountains. 

  • More movies have been filmed in California than any other state. 

  • In Pacific Grove 

  • The California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, is the largest museum of its kind in North America. 

  • San Bernardino County is the largest county in the country with nearly three million acres. 

  • There are more than 300,000 tons of grapes grown in California each year and produces more that 17 million gallons of wine each year. 

  • In 1850, California became the 31st state. Before its statehood, California was an independent country for one month in 1846.

  • San Francisco is the birthplace of blue jeans. Levi Strauss introduced the jeans to the world in 1873.

  • Victoria Beach, near the oceanside town of Laguna Beach, boasts a 60 foot pirate tower right on the beach! Built in 1926 as an enclosed staircase to the beach for William E. Brown, a senator from Los Angeles. 

California state designations

  • Animal: The Grizzly Bear - The Grizzly Bear appears on the State Flag and the Great seal, but is now extinct in California. 

  • Colors: Blue and Gold, the blue represents the sky and the gold the color of metal found by the gold rush forty-niners. 

  • Dance: The West Coast Swing.

  • Flag: The Bear Flag - The grizzly bear portrays strength, the star sovereignty, the red color represents courage and the white background for purity. 

  • State Flower: Golden Poppy - The Golden Poppy can be found thriving in some parts of the state throughout the year. 

  • Marine Mammal: California Gray Whale - The California Gray Whale measures 30 to 50 feet in length and weighs up to 40 tons. Whales can be sighted during their annual 14,000 mile migration from the Arctic to the lagoons of Baja California and back, December through April.

  • State Mineral: Native Gold , California has produced more gold than any other state in the union and it can still be found in stream beds. 

  • Nickname: The Golden State  - This name is highly appropriate because California's development and remarkable prosperity began with the discovery of gold.  

  • Tree: The California Redwood - The California Redwood, which can be found in both Coastal and Sierra provinces of the Golden State.

  • Song: I Love You, California - I Love You, California, written by F.B. Silverwood in 1913 and was designated the state song in 1951.