1. Salt Point
    If you're looking for a de-freaking-lightful car camping destination less than two hours from SF, I recommend it.
  2. Lost Coast Trail
    It is mind boggling that, given PCH south of Carmel, there is such a thing as a coast too rugged to build a highway along. This is where Pacific Coast Highway chickens out inland for 60 miles. Go and get Lost. You will wake up with elk grazing outside your tent and you will harvest mussels from rocks for your dinner. And you will be incredibly grateful that the 30+ million Californians haven't managed to fuck this up yet, either.
  3. Trinity Alps
    And environs. Wild places with not much around. In some stretches of the Klamath basin you can drive 100 miles without a gas station. Epic.
  4. Lassen Volcano National Park
    This big magma pimple is far underrated as a National Park. A great day visit, beautiful country all around as well.
  5. Monterey
    Especially the Aquarium. Just a joy.
  6. Burney Falls
    A good day trip or car camping location. Lava tube waterfall. An okay lake. Incredible fishing all around. Pacific Crest Trail crosses right above the falls.
  7. Smith River Canyon
    California's last true wild big river. No dams have fucked this River or it's runs of anadromous fish. You'll be thankful when you see it. The Smith's unbelievable power, crystal tourmaline canyons (in summer), and beauty will make you thankful that we left at least one big river alone. This river is a chapel.
  8. Alcatraz
    Sounds touristy. It is. It's also incredibly well done. The audio tour is a don't-miss. Plus you get to walk around for three hours using your Sean Connery accent. WELCOME TO THE ROCK