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San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge over the Golden Gate strait
The world famous Golden Gate Bridge is spanning the Golden Gate strait. The strait connectis San Francisco Bay with the Pacific Ocean. The suspension bridge connects San Francisco with Marin County, one of the original 27 counties of California.
Image: Ben Harritt

___ Reference Maps of California (CA)

About California

California Flag
Time Zone Pacific:
UTC −8/DST−7
Clock shows DST
Location map of California state USA
Where in the United States is California? Location map of California in the US.

California is a state in the western USA at the coast of the Pacific Ocean, bordered by the US states of Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona and by Mexico in south.

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

The area of California was never organized as a territory, but was administered from 1848 to statehood by a federal military authority. California was admitted to the Union on 9th September 1850, as the 31st state.

California Topographic Regions Map Topographic Regions Map of California. (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.


Geographical Regions of California
California has four main geographical 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 coast line, 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 coasts 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. This tectonic plate movement will be responsible for "the next big one" in the area, an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 or greater with a potentially devastating impact to urban centers in California.

2. The Central Valley
Surfer at Surf City Santa Cruz in California
Surfer riding the waves near Surf City Santa Cruz, California.
Image: Brocken Inaglory
The flat, fertile central valley runs along the center of the state, it is subdivided into the Sacramento Valley in the north and the San Joaquin Valley in south. 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. 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.

3. The Mountains
Half Dome 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
Then we have 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 of 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, a 85-mile-long mountain range running north-south through northeastern California.

4. The Desert
We furthermore have the Mojave Desert, the driest desert in North America occupies a large part of southeastern California.
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] The Mojave is bounded in southwest by the San Bernardino Mountains.

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

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

The Yosemite National Park in the western Sierra Nevada of central east California, near its state border with Nevada. The park with 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.

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

California has a population of 39.5 million people (est. 2018) [5] making it the most populous U.S. state, its capital is Sacramento; largest city is Los Angeles. Other major cities are San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, and Long Beach.

Largest airports in the state are Los Angeles International Airport (IATA code: LAX), San Francisco International Airport (IATA code: SFO), San Diego International Airport (Lindbergh Field; IATA code: SAN).

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

Cities and Towns in California

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

San Francisco at Sunset California
San Francisco at Sunset. The cultural, commercial, and financial center of Northern California is the fourth largest city in the state by population.
Image: Digon3

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, 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.

The detailed map below is showing the US state of California with boundaries, the location of the state capital Sacramento, major cities and populated places, rivers and lakes, interstate highways, principal highways, and railroads.

You are free to use this map for educational purposes (fair use), please refer to the Nations Online Project.

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Reference Map of California
Reference Map of California

Map is based on a state map of The National Atlas of the USA.
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More about California and the United States:

Cities -- Information about, and searchable maps of:
Map and Satellite view of the states' capital Sacramento

Other Cities in California:
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Los Angeles
San Diego,
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San Jose

U.S. States:
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Maps of the 50 U.S. States
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Population of the 50 U.S. States

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Reference Map of Mainland USA.
Searchable map/satellite view of the United States.
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United States Country Profile

Political Map of North America
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Sacramento Weather Conditions

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