Often recognized for its glamorous Hollywood scene and breathtaking coastline, the iconic state of California is a treasure trove of intriguing historical tidbits and geographical wonders. These 12 unique facts about California will leave you in disbelief, and might just capture your attention so much that you start planning a trip to the Golden State!
One of the best ways to explore beautiful California is with AmeriCamp. Our unique programs give you an immersive experience of being a camp counselor at one of the best summer camps in the United States. You’ll make incredible new friends, forge memories that will stick with you forever, and see some of the most spectacular scenery that the US has to offer.
With AmeriCamp, you also have the option of traveling in America after your USA summer camp wraps up. We take care of your J-1 visa sponsorship, allowing you to explore the best parts of the United States for up to 30 days after your camp wraps up. Whether you want to see the majestic sequoia forests, surf your way along the Pacific Coast Highway, or find fame in Hollywood, AmeriCamp can help you discover all the surprises this incredible state has to offer!
If you’d like to learn more about the ultimate summer camp experience, join AmeriCamp today! In the meantime, stick around as we take you through these cool facts about California.
12 Incredible Facts About California
With almost 40 million people, an incredibly rich history, and a land mass the size of the Netherlands, Belgium, Slovenia, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, Kosovo, and the Czech Republic combined, it’s no wonder that there are so many interesting facts about California! Here are 12 of our favorites:
- California is the home of wetsuits, barbie dolls, and fortune cookies
- The state has more people than Canada
- The weather is perfect for avocados and wine
- Californians are nuts for almonds
- There are over 100,000 earthquakes in California each year
- The state’s motto is “Eureka!”
- California is home to the world’s largest tree
- The state animal of California is extinct
- Everything in California looks familiar (and there’s a reason why)
- The state has famous “watermelon snow”
- One in four Californians were born overseas
- California has over 300 ghost towns
Keep reading to become an expert on the Golden State and learn some impressive facts about California to share around the campfire when you’re working as a top camp counselor!
The Home of Wetsuits, Barbie Dolls, and Fortune Cookies
Imagine catching those waves along California's stunning coastline without the comfort of a wetsuit. Thank the pioneering work of Jack O'Neill, a California local, for revolutionizing the way we surf. In the early 1950s, O'Neill introduced the world's first wetsuit in Santa Cruz, allowing surfers to brave colder waters comfortably.
Barbie, the iconic Californian fashion doll that has held a special place in the hearts of children (and collectors) for decades, was brought to life by Ruth Handler in 1959. Ruth, a co-founder of Mattel Inc., was inspired to create a three-dimensional adult doll while watching her daughter play with paper dolls.
And finally, fortune cookies, often enjoyed after a delicious meal at Chinese restaurants, also have their origins in California. These crisp, sweet treats were first created in San Francisco's Chinatown during the late 19th or early 20th century, introducing a touch of mystery to the end of a meal.
More People Than Canada
If you work as a camp counselor in California, you might start to get an idea of just how big the state is. With a population surpassing the entire nation of Canada, California stands as the most populous state in the United States, with almost 40 million people calling California home. The state boasts a diverse array of cultures, communities, and lifestyles.
The Weather is Perfect for Avocados and Wine
During your summer camp job, you’ll hopefully discover just how warm and sunny the Golden State can be. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and mountain ranges, California's diverse microclimates create the ideal conditions for cultivating an array of culinary delights, notably avocados and wine.
In fact, 90% of the US’s avocados are grown in Southern California. There’s even an annual avocado festival where more than 70,000 experts and fans share their love of this versatile green fruit! As for wine, California is responsible for 90% of that as well. From the sun-kissed valleys of Napa and Sonoma to the scenic vineyards of Paso Robles, California's wine country has a diverse range of microclimates that cater to many different grape varietals.
Californians Are Nuts for Almonds
The Golden State produces an astonishing 80% of the world's almonds, making it a true almond paradise. California's love affair with almonds dates back to the late 18th century when Spanish missionaries introduced almond trees to the region. Since then, this versatile nut has flourished, benefiting immensely from California's diverse climates and expansive agricultural landscapes. Today, almonds are the state’s number one export.
Over 100,000 Earthquakes Occur in California Each Year
For most California residents, earthquakes are a regular part of life. The Golden State experiences an impressive number of seismic activities annually, tallying over 100,000 earthquakes. This is due to California's unique position along the Pacific Ring of Fire, where several tectonic plates interact, causing frequent shifts and movements beneath the Earth's surface.
While the majority of these tremors are too mild to be felt, Californians are no strangers to the occasional larger earthquakes that make their mark on history, including the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake, one of the most infamous in U.S. history, and the more recent 1994 Northridge earthquake.
The State’s Motto is “Eureka!”
"Eureka!" is the official motto of California. Originating from Greek, this exclamation meaning “I have found it” stems from a pivotal moment in California's history: the Gold Rush era of the mid-19th century.
Legend has it that in 1848, when gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, James W. Marshall, a carpenter working at the mill, shouted "Eureka!" upon finding gold flecks in the American River, sparking a frenzy that drew fortune seekers from far and wide. Who knows, maybe you’ll strike gold while working at a summer camp in California!
California Is Home to the World’s Largest Tree
As a camp counselor in America, you’ll spend a lot of time amongst the trees, but they might not be as big as this one! The General Sherman Tree holds the distinguished title of being the world's largest tree by volume, towering at a staggering height of 275 feet and boasting a diameter of over 36 feet at its base.
Estimated to be around 2,200 years old, this giant sequoia is one among many of the magnificent sequoias that call California home. These ancient trees, some of the oldest living organisms on Earth, have thrived in the Sierra Nevada's gentle slopes for millennia.
The State Animal of California Is Extinct
In a poignant twist of fate, the grizzly bear, a symbol deeply entwined with California's identity, holds the title of the state's official animal despite its extinction within the region. Once a formidable presence in California's wilderness, the grizzly bear roamed the state's varied landscapes until people began to take over its habitat.
Its significance was such that it was adopted as the state's official animal in 1953, and had been on California’s official flag for decades before that. The last known California grizzly was hunted down in the 1920s, marking a tragic end to this iconic species within the state.
Everything in California Looks Familiar (And There’s a Reason Why)
California's diverse landscapes, from sun-kissed beaches to rugged mountains, have served as the backdrop for countless iconic movies, television shows, and commercials. The state's stunning locales have been immortalized on screens big and small, which may lead to a certain feeling of déjà vu if you’re exploring the state after working at a top US summer camp.
Hollywood has played a big role in this. The iconic neighborhoods, streets, and landmarks of Los Angeles have been featured in countless films, making them instantly recognizable. It's not just Los Angeles that has left its mark on the entertainment industry. From the scenic vistas of Big Sur to the picturesque vineyards of Napa Valley, California's diverse terrain has provided the perfect canvas for filmmakers and storytellers to weave their narratives.
The State Has Famous “Watermelon Snow”
In a stunning and peculiar natural phenomenon, some parts of California witness a fascinating spectacle known as “watermelon snow.” This unusual occurrence transforms the pristine white snow into vibrant hues of pink or red.
It’s caused by a type of microscopic algae known as Chlamydomonas nivalis, which thrives in snowfields during warmer months, creating the illusion of pink-tinted snow. The algae's red pigmentation helps protect it from the intense ultraviolet rays in the high-altitude snow, enabling it to thrive in these extreme conditions.
One in Four Californians Were Born Overseas
Astonishingly, approximately one in four Californians were born outside the United States, representing a tapestry of cultures, languages, and traditions that have shaped the state's vibrant identity. Working at the best summer camps, you’re likely to meet people from a diverse range of backgrounds.
The influx of immigrants has transformed California into a multicultural mosaic. From the thriving Chinatowns in San Francisco and Los Angeles to the vibrant Latino communities across the state, each group brings its own unique heritage, customs, and values, contributing to the cultural vibrancy that defines modern-day California.
California Has Over 300 Ghost Towns
Beneath California's glitzy urban centers and picturesque landscapes lies a treasure trove of history frozen in time. There are over 300 ghost towns scattered across the state! These towns emerged during various periods of California's history, sparked by the Gold Rush, the boom and bust of mining industries, railroad development, or the rise and fall of agricultural communities.
Once bustling hubs teeming with life and ambition, these towns saw their populations dwindle or disappear entirely. Wandering through these ghost towns, visitors can glimpse into the past, exploring abandoned buildings, deserted streets, and remnants of a bygone era.
Why You Should Visit California
Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Nevada mountains, California beckons with its diverse landscapes, vibrant culture, and a wealth of experiences waiting to be embraced. Here's why a visit to the Golden State promises an unforgettable adventure:
- Stunningly beautiful landscapes
- Incredible national parks
- Mouth-watering cuisine
- A cultural melting pot
- Diverse city life
With AmeriCamp, you have the opportunity to explore California for up to 30 days after your camp placement wraps up. It’s the perfect chance to visit this unique state and celebrate your successful summer as a camp counselor.
Stunningly Beautiful Landscapes
From the sun-soaked beaches of Malibu to the towering redwoods of Muir Woods, California boasts an unparalleled tapestry of natural wonders. Explore an oasis in Palm Springs, witness the breathtaking beauty of Big Sur's coastline, or lose yourself in the astonishing desert landscapes. In fact, many people want to be camp counselors so that they can explore the stunning scenery that many camps are set on.
Incredible National Parks
Discover the awe-inspiring beauty of California's national parks, from the granite cliffs and waterfalls of Yosemite to the stunning vistas of Sequoia and Kings Canyon. Explore the diverse ecosystems of Joshua Tree and the ancient forests of Redwood National and State Parks, each offering a unique and immersive experience with nature.
Camp meals are always delicious, but there’s a lot more to California’s cuisine than that! Indulge in the state's gastronomic paradise, from farm-to-table dining experiences in the Central Valley to the seafood delights along the coast. Sample wines in world-renowned vineyards, relish the fusion of flavors in ethnic enclaves, and discover why the state is a haven for food lovers.
A Cultural Melting Pot
California's cultural mosaic is as diverse as its landscapes. Immerse yourself in the glamour of Hollywood, stroll through San Francisco's colorful neighborhoods, or savor the flavors of culinary delights in Napa Valley. The state's eclectic mix of art, music, and cuisine offers a glimpse into the many different cultures thriving within its borders.
Diverse City Life
After spending a few weeks at one of the best summer camps in the US, perhaps you’ve missed the hustle and bustle of the city? Experience the pulse of iconic cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego. Dive into the art scene at the Getty Center, walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, or embrace the laid-back vibes of San Diego's beaches.
Explore California With AmeriCamp
If you’re interested in becoming a camp counselor, there’s a good chance it’s because you have a strong sense of adventure. If working at a US summer camp and exploring California sounds like it’s tailor-made for you, you’re in the right place! Here’s everything you need to know about AmeriCamp, and how you can start planning a summer adventure you’ll never forget.
How Does AmeriCamp Work?
AmeriCamp is a J-1 visa sponsor, which means we make it easier for young adults overseas to work as camp counselors in the US. With our vast network of US-based summer camps and a 99% placement success rate, we can place prospective camp counselors with a camp that’s perfect for their interests and values.
Most of the time, you don’t need special camp counselor training to become a US summer camp counselor, as each camp runs its own orientations and teaches you everything you need to know before camp starts. Working as a camp counselor involves supervising campers and leading activities. Your specific camp counselor roles may include:
- Planning activities like craft sessions, talent shows, or hiking trips
- Supervising organized activities as well as meals, campfire sessions, and more
- Offering emotional support to home-sick campers
- Helping to resolve any issues or conflicts that come up throughout camp
- Sharing your knowledge with campers and creating a fun camp environment
Camp counselor job descriptions usually don’t require any specialized camp counselor skills, but it’s often an advantage if you’ve worked with kids before. Even something as simple as babysitting experience can be helpful, as it shows you have good leadership and communication skills.
Once you apply to AmeriCamp, we’ll review your application, set up a call, and, if you’re approved, circulate your application to our many camp partners in the US. Based on your interests and camp counselor resume skills, we’ll help you find a top US summer camp where you can gain valuable life experience, make some great friends, and most importantly, have a blast!
How to Get Started With AmeriCamp
The opportunity to work and travel in the US doesn’t come along every day, and the best part of AmeriCamp is that most of the details are already taken care of. We’ll help you secure a visa and organize your camp placement, so you can focus on packing for summer camp and planning your travel adventure after camp wraps up! Ready to take the first step? Start by completing your AmeriCamp application here.
Earn More With AmeriCamp’s Premium Camp
If you’d like to take your summer camp experience to the next level, AmeriCamp Premium may be just the program for you. Here’s a quick explanation of the advantages of this option compared to AmeriCamp’s standard opportunities, and how to apply for our top-tier summer camp counselor roles.
What Is AmeriCamp Premium?
AmeriCamp Premium gives camp counselors with specialized skills the chance to work at one of AmeriCamp’s top-tier summer camps. It doesn’t cost anything extra to apply for AmeriCamp Premium, but your camp counselor salary will be higher, as your specific skills are being called upon.
Some of the specific camp counselor qualities and skills we’re looking for in AmeriCamp Premium applicants are:
- Canoeing, kayaking, water skiing, and wakeboard coaches
- Powerboat drivers
- Riflery experts
- Gymnastics, tennis, and equestrian coaches
- Bike repair and mountain biking pros
- Ceramics and pottery experts
- Woodwork teachers
- Videography enthusiasts
- And more!
What Are the Advantages of AmeriCamp Premium?
AmeriCamp Premium includes everything that the standard AmeriCamp packages come with, including placement at one of the best US summer camps, accommodation and meals at camp, medical insurance, J-1 visa sponsorship, and more. AmeriCamp Premium adds on some incredible extra advantages, like:
- A minimum salary of $2,350
- Priority access to our in-person camp fair
- Exclusive access to premium online hiring events
- Your first camp counselor interview within one week of going live
- Guaranteed placement at a US summer camp
- Incredible coaching equipment and facilities
- Your very own merch pack
Plus, you can use your skills and passion to inspire a new generation of leaders and leave a lasting, positive impact on the world around you.
Start Your Application Today!
Are you an expert in one of the skills listed above? If you are, and you want to take advantage of the incredible benefits that come with AmeriCamp Premium, we’d love to hear from you! Start by completing your AmeriCamp Premium application here, and our team will soon be in touch with the next steps. We can’t wait to hook you up with an incredible summer camp experience!
Discover California With AmeriCamp
As you can see, there’s a lot to love about California! With AmeriCamp, you can experience life at a traditional US summer camp before exploring the best that the Golden State has to offer. Just because your summer camp wraps up, doesn’t mean your American adventure has to! AmeriCamp gives you a 30-day travel period to give your bucket list a serious workout and discover a few of your own California fun facts while you’re at it.
Get started by joining AmeriCamp today!