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Glamour shots: California’s ‘most Instagrammable’ spots ranked

Terrence J takes a selfie at Yosemite National Park in Yosemite Village, California. | Steve Jennings/Getty Images for the National Park Service

You don’t need to be a scientist to quantify California’s beauty. Just take a stroll along one of our beautiful beaches or look out from atop one of our majestic mountains, and it’s plain to see. But thanks to our tendency to share photos of the things we love gazing upon, there’s now data to that proves just how photogenic the Golden State is.

New research conducted by the online family travel and review website Family Destinations Guide found that Yosemite is the “most Instagrammable” tourist destination in California—followed by a few other attractions, all within a driving distance of the Bay Area.

The study analyzed Instagram hashtag data to determine which California tourist destinations are the most popular with smartphone-toting shutterbugs. 

According to the analysis, here are some of the most photo-worthy locales within four hours of San Francisco.  


It's a winter wonderland in Yosemite National Park where college friends, Kiran Fernandez, 26 (left); Carlos Martinez, 26 (center); and Gavin Greenberg, 26 (right), of Denver, go for a dip in the Merced River in freezing temperatures. | Carolyn Cole/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Yosemite comes in as the No. 1 “most Instagrammable” location in California. It’s racked up 4.8 million hashtags on Instagram. No surprise there. The picturesque glacial valley is a global destination and drew around 3.3 million visitors in 2021 alone, according to the National Park Service.

The Golden Gate Bridge 

While breezy Venice Beach in Los Angeles took second place, 4.4 million posts under its hashtag, the Golden Gate Bridge came in as the No. 3 most Instagrammed spot in California, with 4.3 million hashtagged photos on the photo-sharing platform.

The Golden Gate Bridge | Stock photo

Lake Tahoe 

Lake Tahoe, a favorite mountain getaway for Bay Areans, ranked fourth. More than 2.8 million Instagram posts featured a Tahoe hashtag.

Big Sur Coastline 

Though it’s a bit out of the way, the rugged beauty of the Big Sur coastline is certainly not a secret. This Central Coast destination ranked sixth, accumulating more than 1.4 million hashtagged glamour shots on IG.


The folks at Family Destinations tallied more than 1.2 million hashtagged photos of Alcatraz Island, bringing this former prison in at No. 9 on the list of most Instagrammable California spots.

A view of Alcatraz Island from Fort Mason in San Francisco | Benjamin Fanjoy/ The Standard