The State of California’s tourism website provides both a digital brochure you can access for immediate review and a method to request that a magazine-like travel guide be mailed to you. When you click here, you’ll see a link to the guide’s digital versions (it’s available in several languages) and another link to a handy guide that highlights popular road trips in the state (English-only for that one). Both include overview-style maps.
If you prefer to have the state’s official printed tourist guide sent to you by mail — freshly updated for 2020 and hot off the presses! — simply scroll down a bit on that same page to fill out the necessary form and then click the button to submit the form. In our experience, processing and delivery within the U.S. can take anywhere from two to eight weeks.
The State also provides California Tourist Information Centers at various locations – click here for the list complete with addresses and phone numbers – where you can obtain free brochures, maps, attraction offers and lodging information once you arrive in those areas. All of the California national parks also have facilities to help travelers make the most of their visits, the details for which are set out on the National Park Services’ website (nps.gov).
California Tourism Maps
Each of the California Tourist Guide’s categories — for the Northern, Central and Southern sections of the state (see the navigation buttons at the top of the page) — is divided into areas, and the discussion for each area includes a map that provides a general overview. You’ll also find links to maps that have been created by other websites in many of our articles. Most of those maps (some are for self-guided walking tours) are downloadable and printable pdf files.
When it comes to mapping out a specific route to any of the many fun places to visit in California, we always use Google Maps and the associated free smartphone app. One thing worth noting here is that there are areas where you may lose cell phone reception, so it’s a good idea to search for the maps you may need before your trip and either take a screenshot or otherwise save them for offline use.
The State also provides online map resources: this one is useful if you’re wondering about current conditions (weather, accidents, etc.), and this one may be more useful for your travel and vacation planning purposes. (Unfortunately, we had to remove the preceding link because the VisitCalifornia website’s map links have not been updated since the state’s tourism site was restyled and now they now deliver you to “404” or “not found” pages.) Here’s a good map for an overview of California cities and highways; again, though, we think Google Maps is the best travel planning resource for all your mapping needs, including accessing information about public transportation options.
Tourism Resources in California Cities
In addition, all the major California vacation destination cities – and even many of our smaller cities – have visitor information centers that are funded and staffed by the local tourism authority. These local convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs) also provide travel information (brochures, maps and sometimes even discount coupons), and they are typically staffed with knowledgeable local residents that are happy to help you. You can check out our CVB list here, and if you don’t see your destination listed there you can try an online search for the name of the city + CVB to see what may be available.
Note: Information in this article was accurate
when it was published, but hours, prices, etc.
change constantly. Please confirm details
with local contacts before traveling.