California State Maps: Attractions and Sights

  • 01 of 07

    California State Maps

    Map of California Places to Visit
    ©2015 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    A California map can tell you so much more than a list can. You may discover that Palm Springs is closer to San Diego than you thought - or that Lake Tahoe isn't close at all.

    Why These California State Maps Are Different

    Why should you stay here looking at these maps, you may wonder. And that's understandable considering that some of them were adapted from Google maps. The difference is that each of these maps was created to help you plan your California trip. They're the same kind of maps I create for my own trips, to help me get organized.

    The California state map selections presented below cover the entire state. If you're looking for a specific location, try our California state map index- which lists city and area maps. Many of these maps are custom made with visitors in mind, with information presented in ways that a regular GPS or mapping app won't.

    If you prefer paper maps to digital ones, the Thomas Guide series are very detailed, but some people find their page and grid system confusing and hard to work with. CSAA (AAA) members can order a California state map online using their membership number.

    Thing You Need to Know

    California is a big state: It's about 800 miles from north to south and 200 miles wide, east to west.

    It can take longer to get places than you might think: Two mountain ranges run north/south, with the central valley between them. That means that what you think is a straight drive of about 100 miles from Fresno to Mammoth Lakes is actually almost 400 miles because you can't get across the mountains.

    Continue to 2 of 7 below.
  • 02 of 07

    Map of California's Major Highways

    Major California Highways
    Adapted from Google Maps

    It's not all the highways in California; that's what Google maps are for. This map was created to help you in planning your travels across the state.

    It shows all the big, major highways but without all the confusing details. You might find it helpful if you're planning a big road trip and need to sketch out a route.

    You can get more information about getting around California on the California Highway Map Page.

    Continue to 3 of 7 below.
  • 03 of 07

    California Regions Map

    California Regions Map
    Adapted from Google Maps

    This map is a rough outline of California by area, with easy to read lists of places to visit in each area. You can click on over to this guide to get more detailed information about each area on the map.

    Continue to 4 of 7 below.
  • 04 of 07

    Map of the California Coast

    Map of the California Coast
    Adapted from Google Maps

    This map of the California coast was created just with travelers in mind. It shows all the most popular places along the Pacific Coast, from Mexico to Oregon. More information about the coast is on this page.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    California Lighthouse Map

    Map of California Lighthouses

    Quite a few beautiful coastal lighthouses are still standing along the California coast.

    This map is part of the Guide to Touring California's Lighthouses.

    Continue to 6 of 7 below.
  • 06 of 07

    California Missions Map

    The early Spanish priests built 21 missions in California and all of them survive until today.

    This map shows where all of them are located

    Continue to 7 of 7 below.
  • 07 of 07

    More California Maps

    Hipster Friends Sitting in Retro Van Looking at Map
    wundervisuals / Getty Images

    Maps of California Places

    I have a collection of more California maps at Google that are available to anyone who wants to use them.  

    • California Relief Map: This map is especially helpful for understanding California. Not only its highs and lows but how the mountains divide the state — and why it can sometimes be so far to travel from place to place, even though they look close together.
    • Driving the San Andreas Fault: Every place you can see the famous geological feature from south to north, including big cracks in the earth, fences torn apart by earthquakes and mountains that have moved hundreds of miles.
    • Route 66 in California: How to follow the iconic highway from the California border, across the desert to the end of the road in Santa Monica, with every sight still worth seeing along the Mother Road.
    • Frank Lloyd Wright in California: This map shows every surviving house and building in California that was designed by the famous architect. Some of them are in places that may surprise you.
    • California nude beaches: All the places you can enjoy clothing-optional recreation in California.