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Only two other American states boast bigger populations than California, and few other states rival California's popularity. Most people immediately picture surfing beaches, Hollywood celebrities and constant warm sunshine when thinking about California. However, this vast state contains much more in its varied landscapes, people and things to do, many of which can only be reached with car hire in California.
Few places are as tailor made for the automobile as California, but it's always suggested that visitors compare car hire offers online and book ahead of time. Flying is the only other way to quickly travel across this vast state, though there are three Amtrak rail lines. California's 100 Greyhound bus stations are cheaper and more commonplace than rail service, but bus journeys can be long and uncomfortable.
There are no fewer than 25 companies offering car rental in California, from small local dealerships to internationally famous chains like Avis, Budget and Hertz. Unfortunately, not all of these companies will supply vehicles to drivers under 25 years old, and the companies that do rent to younger motorists will charge them extra fees.
It takes at least 10 hours to drive from one end of California, a state the size of Sweden, to the other. Interstate 5 is the fastest of California's main roads, but motorists will find the coastal scenery of Route 101 and California State Route 1 far more beautiful and memorable. Although large California cities like Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco are notorious for their traffic gridlock, California driving is otherwise easy and enjoyable.
California State Route 1, better known as the Pacific Coast Highway, is one of America's most famous and beautiful roads. The Pacific Coast Highway begins south of Los Angeles and ends over 1,000kms later in Mendocino County north of San Francisco. Motorists will encounter the Golden Gate Bridge, scenic Big Sur, Santa Barbara, redwoods and several more California sights in between.
Southern California is the best place to encounter California's stereotypical hot, dry and sunny weather. Other parts of the state may have less predictable weather, such as northern California which tends to be quite rainy. The Shasta Cascades and High Sierras are the only Californian regions that frequently see snow since they are mountain ranges. San Francisco's notorious fog is usually at its worst in summer.