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11 Places in California to See Gorgeous Wildflowers

March 22, 2016

By now, you’ve probably seen an unlikely photo of flowers blooming in the Death Valley desert floating around on Facebook and Instagram. (If not, here’s everything you need to know about Death Valley’s super bloom—and why you need to see it now.) But Death Valley’s not the only place in California that’s seeing unreal wildflower growth right now. Here are 11 places in Northern, Central, and Southern California where spring is definitely in season.

Drive 125 miles north of San Francisco and you’ll hit Lake County. It’s central point is Clear Lake, which is where you’ll find the most stunning wildflower views. Look out for California poppies, like the ones pictured here, as well as violet Arroyo lupine, hill lotus, and tiny, bright yellow wooly sunflowers. The best time to visit is quintessential spring, between March and June.

Lake Tahoe pulls off the winter wonderland look flawlessly, but it does spring just as well. Once the snow melts, it’s time to plan a trip. Waist-high lupine like these are a common sighting around the lake, while Alpine lilies cover the mountains.

Mendocino County’s Point Arena explodes with thousands of wild blooming daffodils between March and June. The coastal town is an easy stop off Highway One on your way between San Francisco and Mendocino proper—meaning there’s no excuse to not stop off and take a few snapshots.

The wine in Sonoma County is divine and plentiful, as are the wildflowers—though the latter is more of a secret. The Van Hoosear Wildflower Preserve springs to life with checkerbloom flowers, lupine, California buttercups and more in March. The preserve is private land, but the public can get a free hiking tour through the blooms in March and April through the Sonoma Ecology Center.

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Discover California’s wildflowers for yourself on our Bhakti in Bloom Yoga Retreat from April 15–17, 2016 or our Big Sur Yoga Retreat from June 3–5, 2016. 

AFAR inspires and enables those who travel the world seeking to have deeper and more fulfilling travel experiences. AFAR's platforms include the award-winning AFAR Magazine;, recently named a Top 10 Site That Makes Travel Easier; the non-profit foundation Learning AFAR; and the immersive travel series AFAR Experiences.