California — Visas and Vaccinations
Many international travelers arrive to the United States at Los Angeles or San Francisco. If California is your point of entry, be sure your visa is in order to ensure a smooth passage through US immigration. If you are from the US, you can cross into California without any border check. Visit the US government’s website on travel visas beforehand to check you meet the entry requirements: http://travel.state.gov/visa/.
Health and Safety
Apart from the occasional shark roaming the waters off the Pacific Coast, California has little natural safety concerns to worry about. Earthquakes are always a possibility in this very seismic state, but they are actually quite rare. Visitors should be sure they have their vaccinations for hepatitis A and B, as restaurant hygiene can never be fully accounted for.
Swimming is generally safe off most Californian beaches, and if it isn’t there will be clear warning signs posted. Most public beaches have lifeguards stationed during the summer season so families can relax. The High Sierra Mountains have their own alpine dangers in winter, while roaming the state’s deserts requires you be prepared to avoid getting lost or dehydrated.
Crime is no more serious in California than it is anywhere else in the US. Visitors should take care with valuables wherever they go, and avoid certain districts of Los Angeles and San Francisco late at night. There are real safety issues in rough neighborhoods of California’s main cities, but these aren’t places the average tourist would make a point to visit. In a pinch, dial 911 for emergency response.