Skip to main content

The 7 Most Colorful Places in California You Should Visit

The 7 Most Colorful Places in California You Should Visit

Treat your eyes with the most colorful locations the Golden State has to offer.

Mateos Glen Hayes


6 min read

February 15, 2023

California is, by far, one of the most popular places to visit in the United States with its scenic vistas, golden coastlines, breathtaking mountain valleys, and world-leading art scene. With the sheer variety of unique things to see, California delivers more than enough to last you the entire holiday season and then some. 

The Golden State has so many ‘must-visit’ places that you might find it tough to choose where to spend your time. If your priority is to visit colorful places in California, here are seven worth spending time and money to see.

The Glass Beach is covered with the smoothened remains of glass bottles giving it a distinct, colorful appearance.

Glass Beach 

Glass Beach stands out as one of the distinctive colorful places in California. The beach is located in Mackerricher State Park at the southern end of Fort Bragg, a small coastal town in Northern California. The beach is known for being covered with colorful glass, giving it a stunning and otherworldly appearance. Glass Beach used to be a dumping site for glass bottles and other refuse in the twentieth century. The glass eventually was smoothened out by the ocean waves, thus transforming the dump into a  beautiful landmark.

Things to Do 

Visiting this beach involves taking a short drive from Fort Bragg and then walking a quarter mile. There you can take in the unique sights of a shore dotted with colorful glass shards. Once you’ve taken in this remarkable sight and snapped some cool pics for the ‘gram, there are plenty of camping and hiking spots throughout the rest of the state park for nature lovers.

Stop by this unusual hotel just outside of San Luis Obispo for a one-of-a-kind colorful California experience.

Madonna Inn 

Opened in 1958, this Central Coast landmark is an eclectically designed inn located on the west side of US Route 101 not far from Cerro San Luis Obispo and is a must-visit in California. Designed by California entrepreneur Alex Madonna, the hotel’s modern reinterpretation of the Swiss Alps Chalet style combined with vibrant pinks, opulent murals, and even waterfall urinals make the Madonna Inn a truly out-of-the-ordinary place to stay. When it comes to unique places, the Madonna Inn stands out like a majestic Southern California mountain range

Things to Do 

The hotel comes equipped with all the amenities you would expect from a luxury California hotel. Its  110 rooms - each with its unique interior design - are perfect places for a Central Coast vacation that shatters the mold. Alternatively, you can stop by this landmark on a Golden coast road trip. 

Enjoy a moist black forest cake or tasty lemon meringue pie at the in-house bakery and pastry shop. Experience a true gourmet dining experience at Alex Madonna’s Gold Rush Steak House. Then you can be on your way to visit other scenic places in California, like the Capitola colored houses or the Santa Cruz colored houses, both of which are in beach towns located further north up the coastal highway. 

Every surface of the Mosaic Tile House is a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of colorful splintered glass.

Mosaic Tile House 

A quirky journey through the Golden State wouldn’t be complete without a stopover to this colorful place in California. The Mosaic Tile House is a 1940s suburban home in Venice, California and every square inch of the place is covered with complex multi-colored mosaics of colored tile and splintered glass. The home is owned and maintained by artists Cheri Pann and Gonzalo Duran, an industrious duo who devoted their lives to using art as a medium of political commentary and unbridled expression.   

Things to Do 

The Mosaic Tile House accepts visitors by reservation only. If you are lucky enough to go inside this unique home not far from Venice Beach you’ll be in for a one-of-a-kind experience. Since the home is the workspace of the two artists, this means you’ll get to see a place bursting with inspiration for some very creative folks. Don’t forget to grab a cute little souvenir from the Mosaic Tile House gift shop. 

Mother Nature has provided a wonderful scene of natural beauty in the Flower Fields of Carlsbad Ranch.

Carlsbad Flower Field 

This scene of astounding natural beauty is just north of sunny San Diego and is one of the most colorful places in California. The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch are fifty acres of idyllic rolling hills covered with dazzling ranunculus flowers overlooking the Pacific coastline. There really isn’t any other place quite like this. 

Things to Do 

As you might expect, the Carlsbad Flower Field is a major tourist attraction. That means there are plenty of activities here for the whole family to enjoy. This landmark is absolutely a must-visit in California for those visual travelers out there. Marvel at the 300-foot-long American Flag of Flowers then book a tractor-wagon ride. Send your kids to Santa’s playground where they can have fun in a whimsical playhouse accented by giant mushrooms. Lose yourself in a floral maze that is as beautiful as it is fragrant, then grab yourself some strawberry snacks from the Strawberry Shack. While in the area make sure to check out some other colorful slices of paradise in San Diego.

Recomended businesses

Show me
Recommended Businesses near

Discover the best of California. Our recommended businesses are top-quality and are committed to their communities.
Salvation Mountain is a one-of-a-kind visionary space and a national monument to American folk art.

Salvation Mountain 

Another noteworthy colorful place in California is Salvation Mountain, a massive open-air visionary art environment that is made mostly of adobe bricks and covered with thousands of gallons of paint. Created by Leonard Knight in 1984, the original Salvation Mountain was destroyed due to a rainstorm. Not to be deterred, in 1989 Knight began construction on a new Salvation Mountain which stands to this day. Salvation Mountain is considered a central piece of American folk art with a prominent religious message of unconditional love for all humankind. 

Things to Do 

Although it is not far from Indio, California, visiting Salvation Mountain requires taking a day trip as the site is quite remote. When you get there you are free to explore the site and take pictures, although you should be careful because some sections of the ‘mountain’ are less stable than others. Visiting is free of charge with no parking fee. The area around Salvation Mountain is home to multiple off-the-grid art communes, including Slab City, where people go to live away from mainstream society. There are plenty of interesting places to explore if you’re up for an adventure. 

Experience the rich history of one of San Francisco’s most iconic counterculture neighborhoods with Haight Street at its core.


The City by the Bay is one of the best cities to visit in California. San Francisco is chock full of exquisite historic neighborhoods, each with its distinct character. Haight-Ashbury is among the best. What was once just a few farms and sand dunes in the 1800s gradually transformed into an iconic and colorful place in California with Haight Street at the heart of it.  This neighborhood is filled with quaint Victorian houses and has a vibrant history as a center for the 1960s counterculture movement. 

Things to Do 

Visiting Haight-Ashbury means soaking in a storied past of hippie culture. The district’s colorful Victorian buildings are replete with quirky second-hand bookstores, diverse restaurants, and vintage clothes stores for those who want to dress like the locals. There are also some must-see landmarks here including Jimi Hendrix’s red house, the Grateful Dead House, and the iconic hotel at the center of the neighborhood called the Red Victorian.

You can visit this vibrant art commune in San Diego for free and witness the creative process at work.

Spanish Village Art Center 

San Diego makes our list again with the Spanish Village Art Center, the city’s premier artist collective. Located in Balboa Park, the Spanish Village Art Center was founded in 1936 and continues to function as an amazing art collective that produces all manner of art, from sculptures to jewelry. The Spanish Village itself was built a year earlier as a site for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition fair. It was later saved and converted into art studios when artists convinced the city not to partially demolish the site. The art commune’s stated mission is to share a passion for art and provide the public with a window into the creative journey of the center’s artists. 

Things to Do 

Visitors to this artistic colorful place in California can witness the creation of new art pieces and follow that journey free of charge. Any artist living in San Diego is free to join this collective and any visitor can grab a souvenir from the gift shop. The center is constantly being preserved and redecorated by artists, meaning you can revisit it each year and get a different aesthetic experience. Plus, it’s not far from the San Diego Zoo and the city’s natural history museum, meaning you can make the Spanish Village a colorful item on your San Diego vacation itinerary

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