facts about California

35 Fun Facts about California

California is full of surprises! In this sunny land of beaches, valleys, and mountains, inspiration, and innovation take on many forms! Due to its storied history and unconventional spirit the country has inspired countless songs, and movies.

Press play, and listen to Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ Californication:

…“It’s the edge of the world and all of Western civilization
The sun may rise in the East at least it’s settled in a final location
It’s understood that Hollywood sells Californication”…

while we share with you 35 fun facts about California…

1. The origin of California’s name

There is wide support that the name originates from an early 16th-century Spanish novel, Las sergas de Esplandián (“The Adventures of Esplandián”), that portrayed a paradisiacal island full of gold and precious stones called California.

2. The influence of the Spanish settlers

The influence of the 18th and 19th centuries’ settlers is evident in California’s architecture and place-names.

3. California’s capital

Sacramento is the capital of California. The city lies at the convergence of the Sacramento and American River.

facts about California

Golden Gate Bridge, San Fransisco, California

4. California was initially named “the Grizzly Bear State”

Unfortunately, as the human population rose, trouble escalated between bear and man, bears were hunted for sport, thus leading to their extinction.

5. The Golden State

California is well-known as the Golden State, not because of the sunshine, but because it was where the Gold Rush began!

6. Becoming a state

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

7. The most densely populated state in the US

It’s even more populous than the nation of Canada. Around 40 million people call California home.

8. The turkey capital of the US

When Thanksgiving rolls around, more turkeys are farmed in California than anywhere else in the U.S.

9. The highest peak in the US

The peak in question is Mount Whitney in California, which is almost 14,500 feet tall.

facts about california

10. The biggest outdoor amphitheatre in the US

California is home to Hollywood Bowl, the biggest outdoor amphitheatre which is close to celebrating its centennial!

11. The world’s largest tree

Yes, it can be found in California, too. And the honour goes to General Sherman, standing at 275 feet in Sequoia National Park.

12. The country of invention

Numerous things were invented in California, like the famous Apple, based in Cupertino, the first Barbie dolls, wetsuits, skateboards, Frisbee, and even the Internet.

facts about California

Yes, Barbie was invented in California

13. It’s also home to the first electronic message

In fact, the internet is much older than you think!  Dating back to 1969, ARPANET supervised the first (technical) internet communication, starting from California.

14. Speaking of computers

The world-famous ‘green hill’ Windows background is based in California. Essentially, it’s a photo of the Napa Valley.

15. The first movie theatre in the world

Fittingly it opened in California in 1902. Where?  Los Angeles, of course!

Fun facts about California

16. The first moving National Historic Landmark

In 1964, San Francisco’s cable cars were named the first moving National Historic Landmark, and they’re the only ones still operating in a U.S city.

17. The 3rd largest state in the country

In terms of land, California is the 3rd largest after Texas and Alaska.

18. Believe it or not

Statistically, one in eight people you meet from the US lives in California!

interesting facts about California

19. California has many names

Even though it’s mainly known as the Golden State, California is also called the Grape State as well as the Land of Milk and Honey.

20. Huge wine exports

Hence the name the Grape State! It’s thought that around 17 million gallons of wine leave California each year, thanks to over 300,000 tons of grapes grown here.

21. People have called California home for millennia

It’s said that people have called California home for millennia. It was first colonised through an expedition around the mid-1500s.

Grapes growing on the vine, Napa Valley, California

Grapes growing on the vine, Napa Valley, California

22. Check out one of the oldest living things in the world

Mojave Desert creosote bush is assessed to be 11,700 years of age, along with the eastern Sierras’ Bristlecone pines which are 4,600 years old.

23. Almonds are California’s top exports

Most of the state’s almonds are cultivated in the Central Valley, which is considered the world’s almond capital.

24. Native tribes

Many Native American tribes live in California, like the Quechan, Maidu, Pomo, and Hupa.

fun facts about California

Death Valley, California

25. Top 10 biggest cities in the U.S

Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose are amongst the top ten largest cities in the U.S.

26. The largest and smallest county in the USA

San Bernardino County with nearly three million acres of land is the largest county while Alpine County is California’s smallest county, with 465,030 acres of land.

27. Impressive and true

California is the first state to reach $1 trillion in GDP.

Amazing facts about California

View over Los Angeles

28. State tree

In 1937, the California redwood became the state tree.

29. Eureka

In honour of the California Gold Rush, the Greek word Eureka- “I have found it!” was adopted as the country’s official motto.

30. The Great Depression

San Francisco successfully survived the worldwide recession. During this time, none of its banks went bankrupt.

Awesome facts about California

31. Earthquakes

California experiences over 100,000 earthquakes a year, on average!

32. Watermelon snow

Here’s a fun fact! In the summer months, the Sierra Nevada amuse visitors with its fascinating “watermelon snow.” Pink-tinted snow covers the mountains, as a result of microscopic algae, some even say it smells and tastes just like watermelon.

33. California is home to the most national parks in the country

With nine national parks to explore, California offers an abundance of incredibly beautiful scenery.

Hollywood's 'Walk of Fame'

Hollywood’s ‘Walk of Fame’ – Marilyn Monroe’s star

34. Care for a walk on guns

Visit San Francisco where you can walk on guns! During the late 1800s and early 1900s, in an attempt to make the city streets free of mud and dirt, settlers paved the streets with guns.

35. And the Oscar goes to…

Dolby Theatre, Hollywood, California! Hollywood is also home to the Walk of Fame and Paramount Pictures!

FAQs about California

What is the biggest airport in California?

The biggest airport in California is Los Angeles International. The code letters for this airport are LAX.

Are tourism and business travel economically important to California?

Yes, tourists and business travelers moving in and out of California spent $140.6 billion in 2018!

How many counties does California have?

California has 58 different counties with 482 different municipalities!

Do you know any fun facts about California? Share them in the comments below!

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This page was last modified on October 18, 2021. Suggest an edit

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