61 California Facts and Weird Laws

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The golden state is the hub of innovation and its rich culture and history make it a favorite with visitors. California is more than just the myths that surround it. It is more than just tanned supermodels, beaches, surfing, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood. California has a lot to offer the curious mind. 

Read on as we highlight some interesting facts about California that you will wish you had known sooner.

California Facts – Politics

  1. The California Constitution was framed in 1878-1879.
  2. The California judicial system has traditionally consisted of five levels: the seven-member Supreme Court, district courts of appeal,
  3. California’s chief executive is the governor who is elected through a vote and serves a four-year term. The governor can only serve two terms.
  4. The legislature is made up of the Senate which has 50 members, and the Assembly, which has 80 members. Most of the legislature is dominated by populous Southern California and the rural areas form the minority.
  5. California is a democratic stronghold with nearly half of registered voters being Democrats.
  6. California has the highest number of representatives because of its high population. It has 53 representatives in the House of Representatives with each representative representing a single congressional district.
  7. California has the highest jobless rate in the country (7.3% in CA v.s. 4.6% national average as of Oct 2021) .  As many as 1.4 million Californians who are out of work and looking for jobs. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

California Facts – Geography

  1. California experiences an average of 100,000 earthquakes per year! Luckily, most of these earthquakes are quite weak.
  2. The Sierra Nevada is a popular tourist attraction. During summer, visitors experience “watermelon snow” which is a result of microscopic algae which tint the snow pink.
  3. Sonoma County has the world’s most extensive geothermal field.
  4. More than one-sixth of the land area in California is desert. The Mojave Desert occupies more than 25,000 square miles! The Mojave desert is also North America’s hottest desert.
  5. California boasts nine national parks with breathtaking scenery.
  6. The world’s largest tree by volume is a giant sequoia named General Sherman and it is found in California. General Sherman is a massive tree that lives in Sequoia national park and is around 52,200 cubic feet by volume. Circumference at ground level is 102,6 feet.
  7. Thousands of visitors and tourists make the trip to go and see the Golden Gate Bridge every year.
Joonyeop Baek- Unsplash
  1. According to surveys conducted by Wallethub, California is the most interesting state for visitors in America. 
  2. California experiences both extremes of temperature. Some areas are blazing hot and some are freezing cold. This difference is directly influenced by latitude and elevation. 
  3. California is the most populous state in the U.S with close to 40 million residents. One in eight residents in the US is from California. 
  4. San Bernardino County has nearly three million acres of land and it is the largest county in the U.S.
  5. California is mountainous and 41 of those mountains stand at a height of above 10,000 feet.
  6. Death Valley national park has the most extreme temperatures in the country. It is the hottest, driest, and lowest national park in the U.S. and it is home to diverse species. 
  7. The lowest point in the western hemisphere is Badwater, which is an unincorporated community in Inyo county. 
  8. The deadliest earthquake in California hit on the 18th of April, 1906. It caused the death of almost 3,000 people and the state lost over $500 million in property damages.
  9. The highest point in the U.S. is Mount Whitney in California. 
  10. Sequoia national park and Kings Canyon national park is home to thousands of black bears.
  11. California shares its borders with Arizona, Oregon, and Nevada. 
  12. The official state animal, the California grizzly bear, is now extinct. 
  13. Clear Lake in California is the largest natural lake wholly within the state. Clear Lake has a surface area of 68 square miles.
  14. The hottest temperature on earth was recorded in Furnace Creek in Death Valley on the 10th of July in 1913. It was burning hot at 134.1 °F.

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California Facts – Sports

  1. California is the only state that has hosted both the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics. Los Angeles hosted the Summer Olympics of 1932 and 1984, and Squaw Valley hosted the Winter Olympics of 1960.
  2. The world’s oldest bodybuilder is from Venice, California. Jim Arrington was born in 1932 and has been bodybuilding for more than 7 decades.
  3. The biggest surfboard in the world was ridden by 66 people on Huntington Beach in California on the 20th of June 2015. It measures 12.82 meters in length, 3.37 meters in width, and 0.41 meters in thickness.
  4. Alex Honnold is a rock climber who was born in Sacramento, CA. On the 3rd of June in 2017, he became the first free climber to solo Yosemite’s 3,000-foot wall, El Capitan.
  5. Surfing became California’s official state sport on the 20th of August 2018 when the then California governor signed the Assembly bill 1782 into law.
  6.  Rose Bowl in Pasadena is the oldest stadium in the United States.
  7. California has more professional sports teams than any other state in the United States. 
  8.  The Lakers are based in Los Angeles and they have won 10 out of 35 NBA finals. Popular legends and stars are Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Jerry West, and more.
Credits: Dean Bennett
  1. Jerry West holds the Los Angeles Lakers record for averaging the highest PPG average for a career by a Lakers draft pick.
  2. Matt Kemp hit 170K in 2010 and holds the Dodgers record for the highest number of strikeouts in a season. 
  3. The 8-time All-Star Luc Robitaille has scored 557 goals and he is the Los Angeles Kings all-time goal scorer. He also made a cameo in D2: The Mighty Ducks.
  4.  The Anaheim Ducks was the first team from California to win the Stanley Cup. The Ducks defeated the Ottawa Senators by four games to one in the finals.
  5. Every year, California University and Stanford University take part in a gridiron match that is termed “The Big Game. These two universities first clashed on the gridiron in the year 1892 and the tradition has been kept alive ever since, except for a short break during World War 2.
  6. Tony Hawk from Carlsbad in California won 9 gold medals in the Summer X Games. He was the first skater to land a truck called the “900”, which involves two and a half revolutions in mid-air.
  7. In the 1960-70s, John Wooden won 10 NCAA championships as head men’s basketball coach at UCLA.

California Facts – Business In General

  1. The most expensive house in the United States is located in California. It is known as the “Pinnacle” and is situated in the heart of Beverly Hills. The home was originally built in 1988 by billionaire Jerry Perenchio. The home was then sold to a Russian businessman, Dmitry Rybolovlev, for $88 million in 2011. The home spans 46,000 square feet and contains 12 bedrooms and 23 bathrooms.
  2. More movies have been filmed in California than anywhere else in the world. California had the most theatrically released projects in 2020.
  3. In the 1800s, guns and ammo were used to pave the roads to make them more accessible. This is because guns and ammo were easily available. Next time you take a walk in California, remember that there might be guns under your feet!
  4. The first supersonic flight in history was achieved on the 14th of October, 1947 over lake Muroc, California in a Bell-XS 1 rocket. The captain was Charles Elwood Yeager and he reached Mach 1.06 at 42,000 feet.
  5. California is the number one travel destination in the U.S. By the late 1990s, about 5 million tourists made their way to California annually. The tourist industry generated about $75 billion per year.
  6. California is the Avocado capital of the world. There is an annual avocado festival in Fallbrook to celebrate. 
  7. The largest outdoor amphitheater in the United States is the Hollywood Bowl. It was opened in 1922, and at the time it was just a wooden platform with a canvas top!
  8. The first motion picture theater was opened in Los Angeles on the 2nd of April, 1902.
  9. Most of the state’s land is federally owned.
  10. San Bernardino, California,  was the home of the first McDonald’s restaurant which was opened in 1940.
  11. Silicon Valley, the famous tech capital, is situated in California. San Jose is located in the middle of Silicon Valley and it is home to companies like eBay, PayPal, Adobe, Cisco, Western Digital, and more.
Credits: Carles Rabada 
  1.  In the late 1960s, the first workable prototype came into being at the University of California, LA (UCLA). The ARPANET was involved in delivering the first message.
  2. Most of the residents in California are part of a minority ethnic group. One out of four Californians was not born in the United States. 
  3.  Eureka-the state motto- is a word that is rooted in Greek. It is an exclamation of happiness when one has made a notable achievement. The state adopted this word as its official motto in honor of the gold rush.
  4. California was originally called “The Grizzly Bear State” which explains the bear on the state flag but humans began to hunt bears for sport and the grizzly bear became extinct. The state was dubbed the Golden State in honor of the gold rush.
  5.  Cracking open a fortune cookie after a meal was invented in California, specifically in Los Angeles and in San Francisco. 
  6.  Another name for San Francisco is “The City of Dogs”. This is because of its large dog population. In 2016, there were 115,000 children and between 120,000 to 150,000 dogs! It seems that the residents of San Francisco have a soft spot for their furry friends.
  7. Love everything to do with blue jeans? Well, you’re in luck! Blue jeans were invented in San Francisco. They were introduced by Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis and they debuted in 1873. They were originally a favorite among factory workers, miners, and farmers. 

Famous Locations in California 

  1. Yosemite National Park. 
  2. Golden Gate bridge.
  3. Disneyland 
Travis Gergen- Unsplash
  1. Universal studios Hollywood 
  2. Lake Tahoe.
  3. Death Valley National park 
  4. Hearst Castle
  5. SeaWorld San Diego
  6. Venice beach 
  7. Big Sur coastline 
  8. Alcatraz island 

Famous People From California 

  • Walt Disney- founder of Disneyland, creator of Mickey mouse.
  • Clint Eastwood- actor, producer.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio- actor. 
  • Richard M Nixon- 37th president of the U.S. 
  • Marilyn Monroe- singer, actress, model.
  • Gigi Hadid- model.

Common Misconceptions About The State Of California 

The Golden State is filled with surprises and like any other popular place, there are a lot of misconceptions about it. Some of the memes are spot on. So, we included them here. 


“Almost 50% of all homeless people live in California.” This is overstated.

Given CA is the most populous state with nearly 40 million residents, this state is often taken out of context. 

According to Part I of “The 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress” said California had 161,548 of the 580,466 homeless people in the U.S. on a single night in January 2020. 

It’s not as high as 50% but that’s more than 25%. One in eight residents in the US is from California. So, 16% share of the US population. So, the truth is CA seems to have a homeless issue to fix. 


There is a common myth that California is always sunny but this cannot be further from the truth. It does rain in California during winter and spring though it doesn’t rain as often as in other areas.


There is a myth that California is overrun by Mexican immigrants because it is adjacent to the Mexican border. Statistically, 1 out of Californians are not born in the USA. 

Mountain Fire

This one probably has some truth. Some of the nation’s biggest wildfires happened in California.

One of the most notable wildfires in California was the Mountain Fire. It burned over 4,500 acres near Mt. San Jacinto and destroyed over 20 homes.

Another devastating wildfire in California was the Cedar Fire. It burned over 280,000 acres, killed 15 people, and destroyed more than 2,000 homes.

The Esperanza Fire was another major wildfire in California. It burned over 41,000 acres and killed 5 firefighters.

And finally, the Thomas Fire was the largest wildfire in California history. It burned over 281,000 acres and destroyed over 1,000 structures.

But, no, the state bird of California is not the plane that drops sand from the air.

Weird California Laws

Many of the laws below were passed a long time ago, but they still exist in many California cities, but many of them go unenforced. It is easier to pass laws than to revoke them, so some very strange laws remain on the books. Read the Craziest Laws in the United States, if you want more.

Here are some of our favorites.

  1. Cats and dogs are not allowed to have sex without a permit in Ventura County, CA. 
  2. Storage garages in apartment houses and hotels shall only be used for storage of automobiles.
  3. You need a special permit to hold a “going out of business sale”.
  4. No more than six people may stay in a hotel room which has been paid by only one person.
  5. It is illegal to set a mousetrap without a hunting license.
  6. Dancers are not allowed to wiggle while dancing under a law passed in 1925.
  7. It is illegal to cry on the witness stand.
  8. Women may not drive in a housecoat or pajama.
Women may not drive in a housecoat or pajama. Image: iStock

Final Thoughts

The Golden State has a lot up its sleeves, from Disneyland to Hollywood. The gorgeous beaches and the innovation that still comes out of Texas make California stand out. One in eight people in the United States is from California and I bet you know at least one person from California! 

There are many interesting facts about California and I could go on for days about the hidden gems that California has to offer. Watch this YouTube video to learn more California fun facts:

California Facts And Stats

Population39.37 million (2021)
GovernorGavin Newsom (Democratic party)
Date Of AdmissionSeptember 9, 1850
U.S. SenatorsAlex Padilla (Democratic party) Dianne Feinstein (Democratic party)
US House of Representatives53 (of 435 Seats) 
State NicknameThe Golden State
State MottoEureka
State SongI love you, California 
State FlowerCalifornia poppy
State FishCalifornia Golden trout
State BirdCalifornia valley quail
State TreeCalifornia Redwood trees
State MammalCalifornia grizzly bear
State SportSurfing
State MineralGold
State GemBenitoite
State FossilSmilodon californicus
State rockSerpentine


1. What is the California state flag?

The bear flag was adopted on the 3rd of February 1911.

2. What is California’s largest food export?

California produces almonds which are its largest food export. Almond exports generated almost $4.5 billion in foreign sales in 2017.

3. Which is the smallest county in California?

Alpine county is the smallest county in California with a population of just over 1,100.

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Sabrina is a former campaign manager who has decided to focus her effort to help people contact senators and get help. She leads our Editorial Team with Ronald and Lawrence to curate content and resources that help us navigate the system.

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