California's Most Popular Competitions

California’s Most Popular Competitions

California is the fourth happiest state in the country. Considering that it is the third largest in the country by area, you can be certain people will find a huge range of fun activities that make them happy. It's only natural then that the Golden State sport's scene is home to world-class events that attract sporting enthusiasts and spectators from around the globe and with nearly twice as many professional teams as any other state.

Amgen Tour of California – May 2018

Each spring, the Amgen Tour of California – a Tour de France-style cycling road race – brings together the world's top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course that encompasses hundreds of miles of California's iconic highways, byways and coastlines. Over 100,000 hotel rooms have been booked as a result of this race since 2006 and annually; more than 2 million people travel to the Golden State from across the globe to watch this iconic competition. 

The Sea Otter Classic – April 19 – 22, 2018

A four-day "Celebration of Cycling," the Subaru Sea Otter Classic powered by SRAM is regarded as the world's largest cycling festival. Part recreational biking, part competitive event, part festival, part expo and 100 percent fun, this action-packed cycling extravaganza features amateur and pro cycling events as well as family activities for all ages, attracting 71,000 fans from around the world. The Sea Otter Classic also plays host to one of the largest consumer bike expos in the world.

Vans US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach – July 2018

Nearly 500,000 people come to watch over 300 world-class compete in the Vans US Open of Surfing every year. The event takes place at the famed Southside of the Huntington Beach Pier and lasts nine days. It includes four World Surf League (WSL) events. In addition to surfing, this iconic event also features skateboarding and BMX competitions at the beach. 

Paul Mitchell Neon Supergirl Surf Pro in Oceanside – July 2018

Oceanside, located in North Shore San Diego, is home to the world's largest women's surf event and festival – the Paul Mitchell Neon Supergirl Surf Pro. The event was established in 2007, celebrating female strength, independence and empowerment. Over 125,000 people come to watch the competition annually, in addition to more than 2 million TV viewers. The Supergirl Surf Pro is a 6-Star WSL sanctioned all-girls surf contest, and welcomes more than 250 top female surfers to Oceanside every year.

Spartan Beast and Ultra Beast in North Lake Tahoe – September 30 - October 1, 2017

From the lake to the mountains, North Lake Tahoe is the host site to a myriad of competitions that challenge athletes in a uniquely stunning high-altitude venue. For obstacle course daredevils, the Spartan Beast and Ultra Beast races push athletes through 30+ features over 12-26+ grueling miles and attract Spartans from around the country. In addition to being televised live and edited for NBC to air later, a couple thousand spectators come to watch these elite athletes push their bodies to the limit. 

Iron Man in Sonoma Wine Country – May 12 and July 28, 2018

Two races draw thousands of triathletes to compete amid the winding roads, rolling hills, and gorgeous vineyards of Sonoma Wine Country — the Ironman 70.3 (formerly known as the Ironman Vineman) and the Ironman Santa Rosa. These competitions appeal not to just triathletes, but also to their wine- and food-loving family and support crews, who come back every year. Both races offer qualifying spots for the annual Ironman World Championships. Their routes include swimming in calm, clean Lake Sonoma; biking through vineyards and charming small towns; and running along the Santa Rosa Creek Trail.

The San Francisco Marathon – July 22, 2018

Don't let the hills scare you! Runner's World deemed San Francisco as the No. 1 Best Running City in America, hills and all! While there are endless options to choose from, The San Francisco Marathon is perhaps one of the most popular races, drawing more than 27,000 participants and 80,000 spectators to the City during its 40th installment in July 2017. Participants have four options to choose from including the Full Marathon, 1st Half Marathon, 2nd Half Marathon, 5K and Ultramarathon. 

The US Bank OC Marathon and Half Marathon – May 5 - 6, 2018

The US Bank OC Marathon began in 2004 in Orange County and includes a full marathon, half-marathon, 5K and kids' one-mile run. The full course begins in Newport Beach and passes through Santa Ana, Irvine and finishes in Costa Mesa. The OC Marathon raises money through donations to give back to various charitable organizations. The U.S. Bank OC Marathon races draw more than 20,000 participants from 43 states and 20 countries.

Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon – July 14, 2018

Runners continue to rave about this half marathon, which is the flagship event of the entire Wine Country Half Marathon Series. The breathtaking landscapes of California's Napa and Sonoma Valleys certainly help to make this race stand out among the rest, but it's the entire experience that has participants find it a lot of fun. Race registration includes a wine glass and wine tasting and an epic post-race celebration, which includes more wine (of course), as well as beer from local breweries and live music.

Los Angeles Marathon – March 18, 2018

The LA Marathon has increasingly become one of the largest marathons in the country over the years. Since introducing their famous course entitled "Stadium to Sea," participants flock to get their chance to run past the major landmarks in the city. Though it can get quite hot, the crowd support and aid stations push everyone forward.

Big Sur Marathon – April 29, 2018

"If we were told we could only run one marathon in our lifetime, Big Sur would have to be it," according to Bart Yasso, Chief Running Officer at Runner's World Magazine, cited on the marathon's website. Participants get the opportunity to run 26.2 miles with one of the most beautiful coastlines in the country energizing and inspiring them.