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San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge over the Golden Gate strait
Iconic and world-famous, the Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge is spanning the Golden Gate Strait which connects San Francisco Bay with the Pacific Ocean. The suspension bridge links San Francisco with Marin County, part of the San Francisco Bay Area and one of the original 27 counties of California.
Image: Ben Harritt

California Flag
California State Flag

About California

Location map of California state USA
Where in the United States is California? Location map of California in the US.

California is the third largest state in the United States, bounded by the Pacific Ocean in the west and bordered by Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona; it shares a border with Mexico in the south.

The United States acquired the area from Mexico in 1848, with generally the same boundary as California today.

California was never organized as a territory but was administered from 1848 until statehood by a federal military authority.

California was admitted to the Union as the 31st state on 9th September 1850.

California State Map
Reference Map of California
General Map of California, United States.

The detailed map shows the State of California with boundaries, the location of the state capital Sacramento, major cities and populated places, rivers, and lakes, interstate highways, major highways, railroads and major airports.

You are free to use the above map for educational and similar purposes; if you publish it online or in print, you need to credit Nations Online Project as the source.

More about California

Some Geography
California Topographic Regions Map The Topographic Regions Map of California shows also the San Andreas Fault Zone. (Click the map to enlarge)

California is the third largest state in the US. With an area of 423,970 km² [1], compared, the Golden State (its Nickname) is somewhat larger than Germany or slightly smaller than Iraq. Compared with other US states, California is 135 times as big as Rhode Island.


California has a population of 39.5 million people (est. 2019) [5] making it the most populous U.S. state.

The state capital is Sacramento; the largest city is Los Angeles. Other major cities are San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, and Long Beach.

Spoken languages are English (60%) and Spanish or Spanish Creole (26%).

Largest airports in California are:

Los Angeles International Airport (IATA code: LAX)

San Francisco International Airport (IATA code: SFO)

San Diego International Airport (Lindbergh Field; IATA code: SAN)

Geographical Regions of California

California has four main geographic regions –– the Coast, the Central Valley, the Mountains, and the Desert.

1. The Coast

California has some really interesting geographical features like the Pacific Ocean coastline, with a length of 1,350 km (840 mi), large parts of the coast are accessible by the California State Route 1. The Pacific Coast Highway is famous for running along some of the most beautiful seashores in California, connecting the Greater Los Angeles Area with the San Francisco Bay Area.

The (in)famous and very active San Andreas Fault zone which is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire is a continental transform fault, where the North American Plate and the Pacific Plate slide past each other. The San Andreas Fault stretches for more than 1300 km lengthwise through California.

This tectonic plate movement will be responsible for "the next big one" in the area, an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 or higher with a potentially devastating impact to urban centers in California.

Surfer at Surf City Santa Cruz in California
Surfer riding the waves near Surf City Santa Cruz, California.
Image: Brocken Inaglory

2. The Central Valley

The flat, fertile central valley runs along the center of the state; the northern part is named Sacramento Valley, the southern part is known as the San Joaquin Valley. It is California's most important agricultural region.

But industrial agriculture and factory farming takes its toll, they radically altered the habitats of the Valley, grassland has been overtaken by new species, ponds and marshland have been drained or destroyed.

California's state park, the Great Valley Grasslands State Park official website, preserves some example of the native grass habitat in the valley.

Major cities in the valley are the state capital Sacramento, Redding, Stockton, Modesto, Bakersfield, and Fresno.

NASA image of San Joaquin Valley.
SRTM perspective view of San Joaquin Valley. The southern portion of California's vast Central Valley is among the world's richest agricultural regions. The Transverse Ranges and Mt. Pinos at 2,692 m (8,831 feet) to the left.

3. The Mountains

In terms of mountains, California offers the Sierra Nevada, a 640 km (400 mi) long mountain range running north to south, within there is Lake Tahoe, the large freshwater lake is the second deepest lake in the United States and the largest alpine lake in North America at an elevation of 1,900 m (above sea level) [2].

The next attraction within the Sierra Nevada is the highest mountain in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney with an altitude of 4,421 m or 14,505 ft.

Then there are the Inyo Mountains near dry Owens Lake, and the Warner Mountains, an 85-mile-long mountain range running north-south through northeastern California.

Half Dome rock formation seen from Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, California
Half Dome rock formation seen from Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park of California. The famous rock has a prominence of 410 m (1,360 ft).
Image: Keenan Loo

4. The Desert

The Mojave Desert, a vast arid region in southeastern California, is the driest desert in all of North America. The 35,000 km² desert basin is bounded by the Tehachapi Mountains, the San Gabriel Mountains, and the San Bernardino Mountains which prevent rainfall in the area beyond. The desert is named after the tribal nation of the Mohave.

Situated within the desert is the Death Valley, which holds the record for the highest recorded air temperature on Earth (56.7°C (134°F)).[3]

Clouds over the Mojave Desert
Clouds over the Mojave Desert.
Image: Jessie Eastland

World Heritage Sites
California has not one but two World Heritage Sites.

The Redwood National and State Parks UNESCO official website are located along the coast of northern California, a region of coastal mountains covered with forests of impressive giant redwood trees (Sequoia sempervirens), the tallest and most striking tree species on Earth.

The Yosemite National Park official website is in the western Sierra Nevada, near California's state border with Nevada. The park known for its immense biological diversity is famous for spectacular granite cliffs, deep, narrow canyons, waterfalls, crystal clear streams, and groves with giant sequoia trees. The park offers thousands of lakes and ponds, 1600 miles of streams, 800 miles of hiking trails, and 350 miles of roads.

Coastal redwood trees in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Giant coastal redwood trees in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. The endangered trees may reach a hight of 100 m (330 ft) or more and an age up to 1800 years. [4]
Image: Robert Shea

Cities and Towns in California

The map shows the location of following cities and towns in California, USA:

Alturas, Anaheim, Atascadero, Avalon, Bakersfield, Barstow, Bishop, Blythe,
Calexico, Carlsbad, Chico, Chula Vista, Citrus Heights, Coalinga, Crescent City,
Daly City, Davis, Delano, El Cajon, El Centro, Escondido, Eureka, Fairfield, Fort Bragg, Fresno,
Gilroy, Glendale, Grass Valley, Hanford, Hesperia, Hollister, Independence, Indio, King City,
Lakeport, Lancaster, Lodi, Lompoc, Lone Pine, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Los Banos, Los Gatos,
Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Modesto, Mojave, Monterey, Morro Bay,
Napa, Needles, Oceanside, Oxnard,
Palm Springs, Paradise, Pasadena, Paso Robles, Petaluma, Placerville, Porterville,
California State Capitol in Sacramento, California
Rendered image of California State Capitol in Sacramento, California's capital city. The Neoclassical building was completed between 1861 and 1874. The building serves as both a museum and California’s seat of government.
Image: Google

Red Bluff, Redding, Redlands, Ridgecrest, Riverside, Roseville,
Sacramento, Salinas, San Bernardino, San Clemente, San Diego, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, San Rafael, Santa Ana, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Santa Cruz, Santa Maria, Santa Rosa, Simi Valley, Sonora, Stockton, Sunnyvale, Susanville,
Tehachapi, Turlock, Ukiah,
Vallejo, Ventura, Victorville, Visalia, Vista, Wasco, Weaverville, Weed, Willows, Woodland,
Yosemite Village, Yreka, and Yuba City.
San Francisco at Sunset California
San Francisco at Sunset, Transamerica Pyramid in the center. The cultural, commercial, and financial hub of Northern California is the fourth largest city in the state by population.
Image: Digon3

Weather Conditions Sacramento:





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20 Most Populous U.S. Cities (in 2018):
1. New York City 2. Los Angeles 3. Chicago 4. Houston 5. Phoenix 6. Philadelphia 7. San Antonio 8. San Diego 9. Dallas 10. San Jose 11. Austin 12. Jacksonville 13. Fort Worth 14. Columbus 15. San Francisco 16. Charlotte 17. Indianapolis 18. Seattle, 19. Denver, 20. Washington D.C.

Other Major U.S. Cities:
Albany, Anchorage, Annapolis, Atlanta, Atlantic City, Augusta, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Bismarck, Boise, Boston, Carson City, Charleston, WV, Cheyenne, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbia, Concord, Des Moines, Detroit, Dover, DE, El Paso, Frankfort, Harrisburg, Hartford, Helena, Honolulu, Jackson, Jefferson City, Juneau, Kansas City, Lansing, Las Vegas, Lincoln, Little Rock, Long Beach, Madison, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Montgomery, Montpelier, Nashville, New Orleans, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Olympia, Orlando, Pierre, Pittsburgh, Portland, Providence, Richmond, VA, Raleigh, Sacramento, St. Louis, St. Paul, Salem (OR), Salt Lake City, Santa Fe, Springfield, Tallahassee, Tampa, Topeka, Trenton, Tucson