- California is full of natural wonders, scenic views, and tourist attractions that draw in visitors from around the globe.
- While photos of these places usually appear glamorous online, not all of them look as impressive in real life.
- The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, for example, is often covered by fog, making it hard to actually see the landmark.
- The Hollywood Sign is an iconic symbol in Los Angeles, but you’ll need to be prepared to hike quite a distance if you want to see it up close.
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Some of California’s most popular tourist destinations don’t always live up to expectations. Large crowds, underwhelming historical sites, and tourist traps make for disappointing photos that don’t quite match the picturesque views seen on the internet.
Keep scrolling to see what these 17 tourist hotspots look like in real life.
San Diego is known for its stunning coastline and white sand.
But the city’s beaches are not as picturesque when you consider the amount of seaweed that washes up on the shore.
The Golden Gate Bridge is a must-see when visiting San Francisco.
But most of the time it’s covered in fog, so you won’t actually be able to see much.
The famous Hollywood Sign looks just like it does on the silver screen.
But getting up close to the sign is not for the faint of heart, as it requires a nearly three-hour round-trip hike.
People from all over the world travel to Salvation Mountain in Calipatria, California, to see the religious shrine’s decorative art and bright colors.
But visitors may be surprised to discover that it’s just a painted hill in the middle of the desert.
Lombard Street in San Francisco, California, is famous for its curvy road that has eight sharp turns.
But since its still an active public road, cars are constantly traveling down the one-way street, causing congestion.
Griffith Observatory offers spectacular views of Los Angeles.
But Los Angeles’ heavy layer of smog can make it difficult to enjoy the sights.
Disneyland in Anaheim, California, can be the perfect place to spend time with family and friends.
Thousands of other people likely had the same idea, though.
Universal CityWalk Hollywood comes to life in the evening with neon signs and bright colors.
During the day, though, it’s an ordinary shopping plaza that’s not as entertaining.
Santa Monica Beach can be a serene place to watch the waves crash on the shore.
But most of the time, you’ll likely see more crowds than waves.
Dolores Park is one of San Francisco’s most popular places to relax and enjoy views of the city.
But on a sunny day, it might be hard to find a spot to kick back.
Joshua Tree National Park is like a whimsical desert oasis.
But with nearly 800,000 acres of desert land to journey through, the view can get a little repetitive.
Venice Beach has become a tourist hotspot.
But the area has also become overpopulated in recent years because of this reason.
Hoping to go on a tranquil water excursion through the Venice Canals?
You’ll have to bring your own non-motorized watercraft because there are no official boat rentals available.
Downtown Los Angeles has a great mix of high-rise buildings and famous historical landmarks.
But it’s mostly underwhelming, as it’s predominantly filled with office buildings.
The stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame are one of the main reasons tourists travel to the iconic, celebrity-filled city.
But it’s basically a regular sidewalk, and your chances of seeing an actual celebrity are slim.
L.A. Live has plenty of nighttime entertainment options.
But it’s also home to Staples Center, Microsoft Theatre, and the Novo — which means it can get crowded when events are happening.
If you’re a “Full House” fan, the Painted Ladies in San Francisco make for the perfect photo op.
But it might be difficult to capture that dream photo since people are constantly taking their own pictures in front of the homes.