California is one of the best places to plan a family vacation. The state is so large it is easy to plan vacations there each year and have a unique experience each time. With flexibility and a willingness to plan, it can also be a very budget friendly destination. Here are four California locations to move to the top of your list of places to visit in 2017

San Diego

San Diego is one of the southernmost cities in California and only about twenty minutes away from the border with Mexico. A quick trip into Mexico can be a great way to encourage children to explore the world. For families who want to focus on attractions in the state, there are numerous educational options to explore, including Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, the USS Midway Museum, and the Cabrillo National Monument. Outdoor enthusiasts should take time to visit one of the beautiful beaches, the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, and La Jolla Cove.

Families that do not want to stay in the hustle and bustle of the main city can stay at one of the nearby resorts. Welkresorts.com has a 450-acre retreat that provides privacy and access to all of the fantastic destinations in San Diego.

Palm Springs

Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs, California, is located northeast of San Diego and is well known for the many outdoor activities available in the area. Some of the most popular include horseback riding, golf, tennis, hiking, swimming, and biking.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway takes visitors up two and half miles in the largest rotating tramway in the world. Once in the San Jacinto State Park, visitors can enjoy camping, hiking, and various snow sports in the winter. There are numerous other canyons to explore in the area and several local museums.

Yosemite

Several hours northwest of Palm Springs is Yosemite National Park. This stunning park has more than enough gorgeous vistas to keep families fully occupied for several weeks. Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in the United States and one of the largest in the world. The best time to experience the full beauty of the falls is in the late spring after the snow begins to melt. El Capitan is one of the most challenging rock formations in the park and a favorite of adventurous rock climbers. The Mariposa Grove is also located within the California portion of Yosemite. This is a grove of more than 500 ancient sequoia trees, many of which are more than 3,000 years old.

San Francisco

The eclectic city of San Francisco is located about 3.5 hours west of Yosemite National Park. It is surrounded on three sides by water. To the east is the San Francisco Bay and to the west the Pacific Ocean. Just north of the city the two meet under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. While traveling over the bridge, to the west is the infamous island of Alcatraz. The former prison is now a national park and families can take a ferry to explore the area.

Some of the most famous attractions within the city include the Ferry Building Marketplace, the California Academy of Sciences, the Golden Gate Park, the Exploratorium, and the Palace of Fine Arts.

Exploring the diverse landscapes and communities in California could take years. The state has a unique blend of wilderness and urban centers that make it ideal for families with diverse interests.