California, the most populous state in the U.S., became a state in 1850. California is the westernmost state of the contiguous 48 with a coastline along the Pacific Ocean.
California is the third largest state geographically in the U.S. Large cities include Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, Fresno, Oakland, Long Beach and Sacramento, the capital.
California has a diverse topography from the west coast on the Pacific to the mountains in the east, the great forests of the north to the desert in the south. The climate is just as extreme as the geography but a large swath of California is known for its mild temperatures.
California is an economic leader in agriculture, aerospace and information technology. California is a high tax state, with high state marginal tax rates.
California is a favorite of retirees and eight places are included in our survey of best places to retire. Get video tours of these great cities at California videos.