Skip to main content

The 31 California Fun Facts You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

The 31 California Fun Facts You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

The Golden State is known for its unique history and unconventional spirit, but these interesting facts about California will surprise you. Team


6 min read

March 18, 2024

Disclaimer: is not receiving any type of compensation for reviewing any of the products or services mentioned in this article.

California is a treasure trove of wonders, seamlessly blending its stunning landscapes of beaches, valleys, and mountains with a spirit of creativity and innovation. Known around the world for its distinctive heritage and free-spirited vibe, this state is a font of captivating tales and intriguing tidbits. Whether it's the eerie or the extraordinary, there's always something new to discover in the Golden State's rich tapestry of stories. Get ready to delve into some of the most fascinating fun facts about California.

1. 31st State

In 1850, California joined the Union as the 31st state. Interestingly, before becoming a state, it briefly declared itself an independent nation in 1846 for a period of one month, adding to the intriguing and lesser-known aspects of California's rich history.

2. Bigger than Canada

California is home to approximately 40 million residents, which is about one-eighth of the U.S. population and more than the entire population of Canada.

3. Diversity Central

The majority of California's residents belong to ethnic minority groups; in fact, one out of every four Californians was not born in the U.S.

You can marvel at majestic orchards and more in the Central Valley, the world’s almond capital.

4. Almonds California's Top Export

Almonds are California’s top exports. Most of the state’s almonds are grown in the Central Valley, which is considered the world’s almond capital.

5. Rich Heritage

Many of the Native American tribes — including the Quechan (Yuma), Maidu, Pomo, and Hupa — lived in California.

6. Third Biggest US STate 

California holds the distinction of being the third largest state in the U.S., trailing only behind the vast expanses of Alaska and Texas.

7. Home to Some of the U.S.'s Biggest Cities

Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose are among the top 10 biggest cities in the U.S.

Los Angeles is a sprawling metropolis that's on the level of major cities like Chicago and New York.

8. Size Matters in San Bernardino

With nearly 20,000 square miles of land, San Bernardino County is the largest county in the U.S.

9. Alpine, the Smallest County

Contrasting San Bernardino, Alpine County is one of California's smallest counties, with 465,030 acres of land — also the smallest in terms of population.

10. CA Is the first state to hit a $1T GDP

There are many interesting facts about California, but one of the most impressive is that it is the first state to reach $1 trillion in GDP.

When traveling in California, make sure to stop by San Diego, the second-largest city in the state.

11. State Tree is the Redwood

 The California redwood tree became the designated California state tree in 1937.

12. "Eureka" Is the state motto

Eureka — the Greek word for “I have found it!” — is a cry of happiness when you've achieved something. Archimedes uttered this very word when he discovered the method of determining the purity of gold. In honor of the California Gold Rush, the state later adopted “Eureka” as its official motto.

13. San Francisco survived the recession

During the Great Depression, San Francisco successfully survived the worldwide recession. None of its banks went bankrupt during this time.

14. California experiences over 100,000 earthquakes/year

On average, California experiences over 100,000 earthquakes a year. Luckily, many of these earthquakes are quite feeble.

Despite its appearance on the state flag, the California grizzly bear hasn't been seen in the state for more than a century.

15. Once Known as the "Grizzly Bear State"

Originally known as "the Grizzly Bear State" due to its emblematic flag, California underwent a significant transformation. As the state's population expanded, interactions between humans and bears grew fraught, often leading to hunting activities that unfortunately contributed to the bears' disappearance. With the majestic grizzlies gone, the state embraced a new moniker, the Golden State, reflecting its sunny skies and the promise of opportunity.

16. The Land of Invention

California stands as a beacon of creativity, sparking the imagination of some of the world's most innovative minds. It's the birthplace of numerous iconic inventions, from the practicality of wetsuits and the cultural phenomenon of skateboards to the beloved Barbie dolls. The state is also where tech giants like Apple began, and where ideas that led to the creation of the Frisbee and the foundational technologies of the internet first took flight.

17. California has watermelon snow

California has its share of peculiar phenomena, and one such marvel is the "watermelon snow" found in the Sierra Nevada during the summer. This unique occurrence is due to microscopic algae that give the snow a pink hue. Visitors are often amazed by this vibrant snow, which is said to carry the scent and even the flavor of watermelon, adding a touch of whimsy to the majestic mountain landscapes.

18. Home of the Fortune Cookie

What does your future hold? A fortune cookie has got you covered. This post-dinner delight was created in California, with both Los Angeles and San Francisco taking credit for the invention.

19. World's Largest Geothermal Field

Get ready to steam your worries away in California. Sonoma County boasts the world's largest geothermal field. Before power plants were built in the region, native tribes used steam baths for healing purposes for over 12,000 years.

20. Most National Parks in the U.S.

With nine national parks to explore, California is home to the most national parks in the country and offers an abundance of incredibly beautiful scenery.

California boasts a wealth of national and state parks.

21. Almost Everyone In the World Has Had a Window to California

The photo of the green hills, which serves as the iconic wallpaper from Windows XP, is actually taken in Sonoma County. And no editing has been done on the photo at all.

22. C.A. is home to the city of dogs

San Francisco is also known as the “City of Dogs," thanks to its unusually large pup population. As of 2016, there are only 115,000 children in the city but between 120,000 and 150,000 dogs. It seems like San Francisco's residents are in favor of having four-legged babies.

23. California Defies Gravity

California defies gravity, literally. There are several mysterious places in California where gravity just doesn't seem to play the same role as it should. The gravity hills in certain spots of California are known to push your car uphill, without using any power and while the car is in neutral.

24. Home to the Largest Amphitheater

California is home to the United States' most expansive outdoor venue: the iconic Hollywood Bowl. Since its inauguration in 1922, this landmark has functioned not just as a grand amphitheater but also as a communal park and a favorite spot for picnics, blending entertainment with nature's tranquility.

Hollywood Bowl is one of the best outdoor venues in the state.

25. Most Film Locations in the U.S.

Most of the movies filmed in the U.S. were filmed in California. Following the Golden State are New York and Texas.

26. Avocado is the Official State Fruit

Enjoying everything from avocado toast to avocado smoothies, Californians are so in love with the avocado that it's become the official state fruit and one of the most iconic foods in California. San Diego County's Fallbrook, known as the "Avocado Capital of the World," hosts an annual avocado festival.

27. C.A. Is Where Blue Jeans were born

The stylish city of San Francisco is where blue jeans were invented. Levi Strauss and business partner Jacob Davis introduced jeans to the world in 1873. Initially worn by factory workers, miners, and farmers, jeans eventually became a staple and made their way into closets around the nation and beyond.

Salute General Sherman, the world's largest tree by volume, and soak in the ancient wisdom of this massive sequoia.

28. The Worl's Largest Tree is in California

In California’s Sequoia National Park, you'll find the world's largest tree by volume. Named General Sherman, this giant sequoia is about 52,500 cubic feet by volume, and its circumference at the ground is 102.6 feet.

29. Beverly Hills Used to be a Farm

The iconic zip code 90210 is one of the state's most expensive zip codes and among L.A.'s most expensive neighborhoods, but Beverly Hills has actually humble roots. What began as a Spanish lima bean ranch quickly transformed into the most prestigious Golden State neighborhood and is now home to many Hollywood starlets.

30. California's Climate is not all sunny

California has an incredibly diverse climate and environment. The weather varies from blazing desert heat to subarctic climates, depending on the latitude and elevation.

31. California Has Hosted Both Summer and Winter Olympics

California is the only state that has hosted both the summer and winter Olympics. The city of Los Angeles hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics, while Squaw Valley hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics.

Recomended businesses

Show me
Recommended Businesses near

Discover the best of California. Our recommended businesses are top-quality and are committed to their communities.

Need help with a home improvement project? Get a free quote today!

Enter Your Zip Code

Enter Your Zip Code

RELATED Articles

Discover More

fueled by the power of California love
We're committed to helping you discover the places, people and businesses that make our state Golden. Our online publication, updated daily, brings you all the content you need to live your California dreams. And that's just the beginning…
Purpose section
Purpose section