Although it's often considered synonymous with Hollywood, the center of the U.S. film industry, California is actually an area of great physical and cultural diversity, known as much for sunny beaches in the south as it is for fog and year-round cool weather in San Francisco. Crisscrossed with mountain ranges and dotted with deserts and forests, California commands an enormous portion of the western United States, stretching more than 700 miles from San Diego north to Crescent City.
It's also a land of superlatives: California has more national parks, more national forests, more people and more cars than any other state, along with the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere-Death Valley-and the highest peak in the continental United States, Mount Whitney.
Californians are known for their tolerance and live-and-let-live attitude, as well as their healthy and active lifestyles. Whether you choose to live in sophisticated San Francisco, sunny San Diego or colorful Los Angeles, you'll have the opportunity to work in the nation's most highly regarded facilities: 17 California hospitals were included among the top in U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings of 17 specialties.
Facts about California:
- Driving from the southernmost tip of California to the northernmost would take as about as long as driving from Seville to Lyon
- Though most of California is mountainous, three of the most populous areas-Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco-lie in coastal valleys
- Four of the country's top 20 research medical schools* are in California: University of California-San Francisco, Stanford, UCLA and University of California-San Diego
- One of California's most recognizable landmarks, the 8,981-foot Golden Gate Bridge is attended by a full-time staff of 17 ironworkers and 38 painters. The "International Orange" bridge paint protects the suspension bridge against rust and corrosion from the salty air.
- Kings Canyon National Park is home to the General Grant Tree, the nation's Christmas tree and the third-largest in the world
*As rated by U.S. News & World Report