Where is California located?

California is one of three states along the West Coast. Situated directly beneath Oregon, California stretches along the coastline from north to south for 900 miles. With a total area of 163,696 square miles, California is the third largest state based on geographic size alone. The Golden State is primarily land. Of its total area, approximately 155,779 square miles are comprised of land, making up 95% of the entire state.

The remaining 5% of California’s total area is water, for total mileage of 7,917 square miles. The main water sources in California are rivers. There are twenty major rivers that run through California. Of all the Californian rivers, the most well-known are the San Joaquin River and the Sacramento River. Lakes are another prevalent water source as well, with about sixteen major lakes spread around the state.

Regional Areas of California

California is categorized by region, of which there are five:

  • Northern
  • Eastern
  • Southern
  • Coastal
  • Central

GPS Coordinates and Extreme Points

The GPS coordinates of California are 36.7783° N and 119.4179° W. Its northernmost tip can be found along the border between California and Oregon, marking the 42nd parallel. To the south, California’s most extreme point is located in Border Field State Park in San Diego County. The easternmost point is along California’s shared border with Arizona in San Bernardino County. To the west, Cape Mendocino is the westernmost point of California.

California is located in the westernmost part of the United States, the Pacific Region in particular. California operates on Pacific Standard Time, along with Washington State, Oregon, Nevada, and Idaho. The climate of California varies depending on where you are, due primarily to the size of the state.


California has a mean elevation of 2,900 feet. Death Valley in eastern California is 282 feet below sea level, making it not only California’s lowest point of elevation, but also the lowest point in the entire United States. California’s highest point of elevation is also a national statistic.

The highest point in California is Mt. Whitney at 14,494 feet. Mt. Whitney is also the highest mountain in the contiguous 48 states. Mount Whitney in southeastern California is 14,494 feet above sea level at its tallest point. This is the highest altitude level among the contiguous U.S.

Population of California

Home to 39.5 million people, California’s population continues to climb. The city of Los Angeles is the most populated city in the state, with approximately 4 million residents living in the city’s limits. That is about 10% of California’s statewide population. From gorgeous views of the coast, a variety of impressive culinary options, and beaches unlike any other, it’s no wonder that California is such a popular place to live.

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423,967 km2
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California Belongs to the West U.S. Census Region