Northern CA (4)
The area was the hub of activity during the California Gold Rush in the mid-1800s, but it was already well known as a majestic display of nature. John Muir wrote about the Giant Sequoias in 1870, and many of the same trees –the world’s tallest –are still are standing.
The area has also consistently produced some of the world’s most accomplished female athletes. Among the most well known are volleyball great Kerri Walsh (Santa Clara), swimmer Natalie Coughlin (Vallejo), golfer Paula Cremer (Mountain View) and soccer star Brandi Chastain (San Jose). Area university Stanford is also among schools with the most NCAA championships.