Free Things to do on Vacation: California

Here at Global Discovery Vacations, we are all about sending you and your family on affordable getaways. Maybe your vacation is a time when you allow yourself to splurge on eating out, shopping and attractions. But as the saying goes, sometimes the best things in life are free.

To help you discover free things to do in Global Discovery Vacations destinations, we are launching a series highlighting no-cost entertainment across the country, kicking off with California. Enjoy these eleven budget friendly activities that you can find in or near our most popular condominium destinations.

Get Cruisin’

Los Angeles’ Mulholland Drive and Sunset Strip, together with the Pacific Coast Highway are iconic Californian roads that will present you with plenty to gawk at as you cruise the coast. From ocean views to celebrity mansions, it will feel as if you are on a “Greatest Hits” tour.

The Price is Right

When you are staying near the Mecca of TV shows, it may be worth getting some free tickets to attend a game show. Feel what it’s like to be part of the audience and cheer on contestants for shows such as “Wheel of Fortune,” “The Price Is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal.”

Eyes to the Skies

It’s all about the views at Griffith Observatory. Not only will you have a great vantage point of the famed Hollywood sign, but through the free public telescopes you can see planets and stars, such as Venus, Castor and the Seven Sisters.

Free as a Bird

If you have always wanted to learn more about birds and their habitat, then you may want to join Audubon’s Los Angeles Chapter on one of their bird walks. Experienced guides take you through canyons, marshes and state parks, and will teach you how to identify the various species that you will encounter.

Walk with the Stars

Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street are home to the star-studded Walk of Fame. Go on a quest to find your favorite celebrity’s star embedded in the sidewalk. “Star Ceremonies” are also free to attend and are usually announced ten days before the event.

Outside Art

About half an hour south of downtown LA, you’ll find the impressive Watts Towers. This installation is the ambitious work of an Italian immigrant, Simon Rodia. While you are admiring the steel, broken glass, sea shells, pottery and tile, keep in mind that this was constructed without using any machines.

Get Cultured

Do you only have a day in LA? Try the Getty Center for a variety of activities. This is where you can get your fix for architecture, art, gardens, photography and panoramic views. Highlights at the center include Van Gogh’s Irises, Rembrandt’s An Old Man in Military Costume and Monet’s Portal of Rouen Cathedral in the Morning Light.

Some Like it Hot

Coronado Beach is one of California’s most loved beaches. The iconic Hotel del Coronado, the sparkling sand and the many fire pits are just a few things to enjoy for a day of fun in the San Diego sun.

Surf’s Up

Photo Credit: Visit Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach touts itself as Surf City USA, but even if you are not quite ready to conquer the waves, you will want to soak up the vibe here. Take a stroll down Main Street, and before you know it you are on Huntington Beach Pier. This landmark provides great views of the surrounding areas, such as Long Beach, Newport Beach and Catalina Island, and makes for a stunning spot for watching the sunset.

Fee Free Parks

California has more National Parks than any other state. So if visiting one has been on your bucket list, this is the place to make it happen. Even though the entrance fees are well worth it, we want you to keep your wallet stowed away this time. Visit on these special days, and you will get free entry to Yosemite, Joshua Tree and Pinnacles National Park, to name but a few.

Heavenly Views

Dust off your hiking shoes for this one. Mt. Tallac Trail in South Lake Tahoe certainly makes you work in order to reap the free reward. Once you reach the peak of the trail you have unparalleled views of several small and big lakes. This is not an easy hike, but a breathtaking and unforgettable experience awaits the persistent.

Don’t fret if you are not heading to California yet! Stay tuned for other free attractions in popular Global Discovery Vacations destinations.

How do you “get your free on” during a vacation? Enlighten us with your California (or elsewhere) budget tips in the comments below!

Ray originally hails from The Hague, Netherlands and one day showed up at Global Discovery Vacations’ doorstep. When he is not traveling or writing, you might find him engaged in playing ping pong, swimming or planting tulips.