California - The Golden State

  • The Big Sur Coastline
  • Death Valley National Park
  • The view from Point Lobos, Golden Gate National Recreation Area
  • Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge
  • Mount Preston, Siskiyou Wilderness
  • Yosemite National Park
Bridal Veil Falls in Yosemite National Park

Texas is bigger, Alaska is huge, California is more... How else to put it? When I was growing up, a lot of folks were telling me "California is better." When I was finally old enough to know the difference, I didn't find it any better, but it was brighter and shinier. I started my public school education in California, in a little tiny town that had at least three classrooms per grade. And halfway through first grade I was moved to central Maine (what a shock in January!), to another little tiny town where there were three grades per classroom... (the shock wasn't just the difference in weather, scenery and schools - it was 1959: America was just coming to the end of the third (and last) economic recession the country suffered under 8 years in the hands of Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Vietnam War was beginning to heat up and Cuba was being taken over by Fidel Castro). But enough of the politics and "fond" memories...

California has both the highest (Mount Whitney) and lowest (Death Valley) points in the 48 contiguous states. There are also the highest waterfall (Upper Yosemite Falls) and 14 peaks over 14,000' (in the 48 states, only Colorado has more). Huge amounts of California are managed by the National Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

When I was first contemplating the building of this website, I took a look at what was on the list for scenic byways, National Park Service sites and National Wildlife Refuges in California. I wasn't intimidated but I realized then this project was going to keep me busy for quite a while... a little further research made me glad I wasn't going to include the several hundred California state parks in this site until later... maybe.

California State Capitol, Sacramento
The State Capitol Building in Sacramento
Fast Facts about California
Capital: Sacramento
Largest City: Los Angeles
Admitted to the Union: September 9, 1850 : 31st
Area: 163,696 square miles : 3rd
Highest Point: Mount Whitney : 14,505'
Lowest Point: Death Valley : 282' below sea level
2010 California Population Demographics
Total Population 37,253,956
Males 18,517,830
Females 18,736,126
Population by Age
Under 18 9,295,040
18 & over 27,958,916
20-24 2,765,949
25-34 5,317,877
35-49 7,872,529
50-64 6,599,045
65 & over 4,246,514
Population by Ethnicity
Hispanic or Latino 14,013,719
Non Hispanic or Latino 23,240,237
Population by Race
White 21,453,934
African-American 2,299,072
Asian 4,861,007
Native American 362,801
Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 144,386
Other 6,317,372
Two or more 1,815,384
Map of California