Hidden Gems: A Journey Through California's Best Kept Secrets

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Beauty Bubble is covered with vintage ephemera from floor to ceiling.  (Peter Gilstrap)

Every year we highlight some of our favorite secret spots in California — places tourists and longtime residents alike might not know about. This week, we’re taking you all over the state of California, from a coveted food truck in the Central Valley to remote corners of Humboldt County. 

A Fern Canyon Fit for a Stegosaurus

In the heart of Humboldt County lies a canyon exploding in bright green ferns — it’s easy to imagine a dinosaur popping up from behind the densest thickets. California Report Magazine host Sasha Khokha introduces us to a corner of California that feels more like Jurassic Park than the Golden State.

Finding More than Natural Beauty in Joshua Tree

Landscapes, vistas, and knotted trees abound in Joshua Tree National Park. But those natural stunners are not the only beauty game in town. Reporter Peter Gilstrap takes us to the Beauty Bubble — a cool refuge from the desert sun, and a snapshot of another era.


The Truth Behind One of the State’s Most Ubiquitous Bumper Stickers

We’ve all seen them before — the bright yellow bumper stickers that read “Mystery Spot” in black lettering. But what, actually, happens at the Mystery Spot? Reporter Amanda Font follows the story to the heart of the Santa Cruz mountains, to a place where perception appears to bend reality.

“Pillowy Goodness” in a San Jose’s Japantown

The Shuei-Do Manju secret has been out for decades now. The San Jose shop makes mochi so soft one Instagram follower described them as “baby cheeks.” There’s almost always a line out the door at the tiny shop. KQED’s Rachael Myrow stopped by to sample

Coming Back for More at Lady Chicken and Rice

Tucked away among the warehouses and farm supply stores that dot Highway 99 between Fresno and Bakersfield sits a jewel of a joint. Reporter Alice Daniel takes us to a food truck in Goshen, California featuring Lao cuisine, and a reputation that extends far beyond the local community. 

Where Water Falls from the Sky

McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park in Shasta County is the second oldest state park in California. The waterfall it’s named for might not be the largest in the state — but the California Report’s intern Hector Arzate thinks it might be the most beautiful.