Looking for fun or beautiful quotes about California? The state of California, nicknamed the Golden State, has inspired novelists, historians, and travel writers for centuries.
From its stunning coastlines to its pulsing cities, California never ceases to delight. Whether you’re looking for travel inspiration or California Instagram captions, here are my favorite California quotes.
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The Best Quotes about California & California Travel Quotes
Whether you’re headed to beautiful San Diego, renting a car in LA for a Pacific Coast Highway road trip, or spending a long weekend in San Francisco exploring all of the San Fran’s quirky places and nearby hikes, here are my favorite quotes about California, in no particular order…
To capture a California sunset in South Pasadena is to hold an angel’s wings with bated breath. -Ace Antonio Hall
Soon it got dusk, a grapy dusk, a purple dusk over tangerine groves and long melon fields; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgundy red, the fields the color of love and Spanish mysteries. –
You haven’t lived until you’ve died in California. -Mort Sahl
Life in California is beautiful. -Oscar Nunez
If you’ve had good gin on a hot day in Southern California with the people you love, you forget Nebraska. The two things cannot coexist. The stronger, better of the two wins. –
The two girls grew up at the edge of the ocean and knew it was paradise, and better than Eden, which was only a garden. –
I suddenly realized I was in California. Warm, palmy air – air you can kiss – and palms. –
I’ve never been somewhere I belonged, but there are places where I think I could be happy. Like San Francisco. Well, do art museums count? Because I feel like I belong in them. –
Everything is just better in California – the wine, the food, fruits and vegetables, the comforts of living. Even the instrumentalists are generous and curious. Everything is wonderful. -Beth Anderson
Let’s go get tacos and sit on the beach. –
The light was different here in California. –
If they can’t do it in California, it can’t be done anywhere. -Taylor Caldwell
There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California. -Edward Abbey
I believe in that old adage that ‘as goes California, so goes the country.’ -Kamala Harris
It’s the easiest thing in the world to get to California-you just aim yourself west and start walking. –
Santa Barbara is pleasant. It’s heaven, but with a bit more traffic. –
Darling, in LA, you decide who you are. Every neighborhood has its own culture and population. Once you find the right one for you, you’re home. Los Angeles is a way of life. –
California is where you get to start over. -Tracy Chevalier
You’re not done with L.A. until L.A. is done with you. –
It seemed like a matter of minutes when we began rolling in the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out ahead of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and its advancing wall of potato-patch fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness in the late afternoon of time. –
Things are tough all over, cupcake, an’ it rains on the just an’ the unjust alike…except in California. –
Southern California is the land of crazy crimes. –
Like so many named places in California, it was less an identifiable city than a grouping of concepts–census tracts, special purpose bond-issue districts, shopping nuclei, all overlaid with access roads to its own freeway. –
In California gold was what God was in the rest of the country: everything, everywhere. –
If California is a state of mind, Hollywood is where you take its temperature. There is a peculiar sense in which this city existing mainly on film and tape is our national capital, alas, and not just the capital of California. It’s the place where our children learn how and what to dream and where everything happens just before, or just after, it happens to us. –
Nothing was in walking distance, so the sidewalks stayed empty and clean, free from the discoloration dirty-shoed pedestrians cause. –
California was almost entirely a dream, a dream vague but deep in the minds of a westering people. –
I know they have palm trees in Southern California. I mean I’m not a complete moron, I’ve watched 90210, and everything. –
Sailors approaching the coast in a fog can recognize the Santa Barbara Channel by the smell of bitumen which floats on the water. –
In the US imagination, Southern California is a still-wet canvas where seekers who make their way here can paint whatever picture they like against a backdrop of natural beauty. My California is different. I grew up feeling watched by ghosts. –
The ocean-bordered southern part of California has always been a place of Hollywood make-believe, casual opulence, suntans and jewelry. -Dan Jenkins
Maybe in San Francisco it wouldn’t feel like the universe was conspiring to keep me in a bubble. –
The state of California itself was now just like me – a free-spirited liberal with a mostly sunny disposition teetering on the edge of financial ruin. –
Joshua Tree was named by Mormon pioneers- The arms looked like Joshua beckoning them to the promised land. –
When California was wild, it was the floweriest part of the continent. -John Muir
When I came to California, it was the mecca of the world. Every young person on the planet wanted to be here. -Joni Mitchell
Quotes About Californians and Living in California
There are no real Californians. There are only people who live there and people who don’t. –
When the Oakies left Oklahoma and moved to California, it raised the I.Q. of both states. -Will Rogers (As a native Oklahoman, I have to say this one might be my favorite! I mean, you know it’s true).
Los Angeles was the kind of place where everybody was from somewhere else and nobody really dropped anchor. It was a transient place. People drawn by the dream, people running from the nightmare. Twelve million people and all of them ready to make a break for it if necessary. Figuratively, literally, metaphorically — any way you want to look at it — everybody in L.A. keeps a bag packed. Just in case. –
Everyone who comes to California brings a little of his own state with him. His own old state, regardless of where or when, is always lurking in the back of his memory for comparison with what he finds here. –
I’m a Texas girl, with a California soul. –
In California the only way to look like you are getting older is to look like you are getting younger…if you can move your forehead over the age of forty, then people become very suspicious. –
Living in California, everyone learns to adapt their actor or actress within. –
It k**ls me when people talk about California hedonism. Anybody who talks about California hedonism has never spent a Christmas in Sacramento. -Joan Didion
California people are quitters. No offense. It’s just you’ve got restlessness in your blood. –
Nature. That’s the one thing that tips the balance in terms of living here in California. Within minutes, I can be in a desert, at the ocean, in a park, and that’s the most nourishing food for my soul. -Lara Pulver
For the women in California, they’re just downtrodden because they’re so gorgeous here. Every hot cheerleader comes to California to make it. The men don’t want to get married, they’re lazy lions. Matthew McConaughey is their poster boy so they can procreate and live on the beach in the trailer and have kids and have money and be hedonistic. -Patti Stanger
I’m not really a Hollywood person. Not that I don’t like L.A., but I’m just a Northern California guy. -Clint Eastwood
I am a California girl, born and raised, so flip-flops and cutoff shorts are my go-to look. An easy Angeleno uniform, so to speak…For work, I wear art; in real life, I wear clothes. -Meghan Markle
Well, my thoughts about California are kind of mythological. To me, as well as being a real place, it’s a place where people go to find something – to find happiness or to realize their dreams. So it has that kind of quality of heroism and heartache. -Colin Hay
As a girl, I had zero interest in the stove. I’ve always had a healthy appetite, especially for the wonderful meat and the fresh produce of California, but I was never encouraged to cook and just didn’t see the point in it. -Julia Child
The apparent ease of California life is an illusion, and those who believe the illusion real live here in only the most temporary way. -Joan Didion
California Quotes from Songs
California knows how to party -Tupac Shakur “California Love”
If I was in L.A. (if I was in L.A.)
On such a winter’s day -The Mamas and the Papas “California Dreaming”
You could travel the world
But nothing comes close
To the golden coast
Once you party with us
You’ll be falling in love -Katy Perry “California Gurls”
All I wanna do is have some fun
Until the sun comes up over
Santa Monica Boulevard -Sheryl Crow “All I Wanna Do”
This land is your land, this land is my land, From California to the New York Island. From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters This land was made for you and me. -Woody Guthrie
A gentle company
I don’t suppose you want to?
In harrowing detail
Its hollowness will haunt you
Orphans and oligarchs
And here’s a plaintive melody
A truncated symphony.
An ocean’s garbled vomit on the shore:
Los Angeles, I’m yours -The Decemberists “Los Angeles, I’m Yours”
Seems it never rains in southern California
Seems I’ve often heard that kind of talk before
It never rains in California, but girl, don’t they warn ya?
It pours, man, it pours -Albert Hammond “It Never Rains in Southern California”
Where they’re out there having fun
In the warm California sun -The Ramones “California Sun”
We’ve been on the run
Driving in the sun
Looking out for number 1
California, here we come
Right back where we started from -Phantom Planet “California”
If you’re going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair – Scott McKenzie “If You’re Going to San Francisco”
I’d like to rest my heavy head tonight
On a bed of California stars
I’d like to lay my weary bones tonight
On a bed of California stars -Wilco “California Stars”
Now let me welcome everybody to the Wild Wild West
A state that’s untouchable like Eliot Ness
The track hits your eardrum like a slug to your chest
Pack a vest for your Jimmy in the city of s**
We in that Sunshine State where the bomb-ass hemp be
The state where you never find a dance floor empty
And pimps be on a mission for them greens
Lean mean money-making-machines servin’ fiends -Tupac Shakur “California Love”
Bikinis on top
We’ll melt your popsicle -Katy Perry “California Gurls”
Going To California with an aching in my heart
Someone told me there’s a girl out there
With love in her eyes and flowers in her hair – Led Zepplin “Going to California”
On california one, california one
From golden gate to roaring cliff-side
And the light is softly low as our hearts become sweetly untied
Neath the sun of california one
Of california wine -The Decemberists “California One / Youth and Beauty Brigade”
I wish they all could be California girls -The Beach Boys “California Girls”
It’s the edge of the world and all of western civilization
The sun may rise in the East at least it’s settled in a final location
It’s understood that Hollywood sells Californication -Red Hot Chili Peppers “Californication”
I just found out her ghost left town
The Queen of California is stepping down, down -John Mayer “Queen of California”
Oh, I’ll pick you up
If you come back to America, just hit me up
‘Cause this is crazy love, I’ll catch you on the flip side
If you come back to California, you should just hit me up -Lana Del Ray “California”
You and me are gonna live for today girl
I’m the luckiest man in the whole world
Stole my heart but can’t afford ya
All I know is I’m with you today girl
I’m the luckiest man in the whole world -James Blunt “Calfornia”
California Weather Quotes
We only have two kinds of weather in California, magnificent and unusual. -James M. Cain
It was beautiful deception, Bosch thought, as he drove north on the Hollywood Freeway to home. Sunsets did that here. Made you forget it was the smog that made their colors so brilliant, that behind every pretty picture there could be an ugly story. –
The only way we know summer is coming is by the more chilling winds, the increased dust, the tawny color of the hills, and the general dying look of things. –
Another blinding California day. They were all blinding here. –
The mornings along the coast where the fog and mist meet with the salty spray of the seas is one of my favourite smells. I love the smell in the evergreen forest just after it rains. -Paul Walker
I just realized some things make me happier, and the good weather in California makes me happier. -Bianca Balti
The water came in a 30-year cycle. There would be five to six wet and wonderful years when there might be 19 to 25 inches of rain, and the land would shout with grass. Then would come six or seven pretty good years of 12 to 16 inches of rain. And then the dry years would come … –
People actually enjoy it when it rains in San Diego because we never get it. It’s a nice change of pace. When you live in Southern California, everybody says, ‘It’s so expensive there.’ I tell them, ‘It’s just a very expensive weather tax.’ -Steve Finley
If you’re in California, and it’s raining, stay home because nobody can drive in the rain. It’s like it’s raining frogs. They’re terrified. -Adam Ferrara
My California sunrise, there’s a real mist in the air. I think of the mountains. You can smell the farm fields. You can smell the dirt and the lights and the whole sun. -Jon Pardi
Trust the horticulturalist: California’s genius may be green, but it’s underlying beauty is brown. -J
Quotes About Not Liking California
California is like a beautiful wild kid on heroin, high as a kite and thinking she’s on top of the world, not knowing she’s dying, not believing it even if you show her the marks. –
It’s mostly full of nonsense and delusion and egomania. They think they’ll be young and beautiful forever, even though most of them aren’t even young and beautiful now. –
It’s a scientific fact that if you stay in California you lose one point of your IQ every year. -Truman Capote
Whatever starts in California, unfortunately, has an inclination to spread. -President Jimmy Carter
California deserves whatever it gets. Californians invented the concept of lifestyle. This alone warrants their doom. -Don DeLillo
California, still a magical vanity fair. –
California is like an artificial limb the rest of the country doesn’t really need. You can quote me on that. -Saul Bellow
About the only part of a California house you can’t put your foot through is the front door. All it did was hurt my shoulder and make me mad. –
There is nothing remarkable about this guac, about any guac, and California needs to calm the f*** down. They’re just avocados. Guac is guac and while sometimes it’s slimy and disgusting, it’s never delicious. –
California is full of homesick people. -Judy Van Der Veer
Out here in California, in the Pacific Ocean, the sharks have a bad attitude. -Katy Mixon
In California, they don’t throw their garbage away – they make it into TV shows. -Woody Allen
Southern California, where the American Dream came too true. -Lawrence Ferlinghetti
California is a fine place to live if you happen to be an orange. -Fred Allen
The best way to live in California is to be from somewhere else. -Cormac Mccarthy
There’s nothing wrong with Southern California that a rise in the ocean level wouldn’t cure. -Ross MacDonald
5 Things to Pack for Your Trip to California
A California Guide Book so you can get information quickly even when you don’t have internet access. While I love using blogs to plan my trips, I like to supplement with a guidebook that I can use on the go.
Backup Charging Bank for your cell phone since you’ll be using it as a camera, GPS system, and general travel genie.
A GoPro for underwater and action photography. If you’re headed to California for a beach vacation, you’ll love the shots you can get from the water!
A Great Day Bag so you can carry what you need with you (like your camera, snacks, water, sunscreen, cash, etc). My current favorite is the Pacsafe Citysafe, which is especially great for California because it has many anti-theft features.
More California Travel Resources
Headed to California? Check out my post on things to know before you rent a car in Los Angeles and my overview of the best living history museums in the US (including one in San Diego)!
Love Travel Quotes?
I’m a little obsessed with travel quotes. If you are too, check out this massive guide to 250 Inspirational Travel Quotes & Travel Instagram Captions, plus:
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Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!
Before you leave for Italy make sure you have a valid Travel Insurance Policy because accidents happen on the road. I pay for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’ll be hanging out in cities (like Rome…ahem) where tourists can be the victims of pickpockets. Italy is the only country I’ve been to (out of almost seventy) where I’ve had someone try to pick my pocket!
I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance for two years, and I happily recommend them. If you get sick, injured, or have your stuff stolen, you’ll be happy to have the ability to pay for your medical bills or replace what’s stolen or broken.