Nicknames for Californians


California folks have more nicknames up their sleeves than just “Californian.” People here often identify with regional monikers that reflect their specific corner of this large and diverse state. So, whether you’re a “Californian,” an “Angelino,” a “Beverly Hiller” or even a “Livermoron” (from the city of Livermore), you’ve got quite a few cool titles to connect with different flavors of the Golden State.

The Origins of Regional Nicknames

While it’s easy to understand why folks from Colorado proudly call themselves “Highlanders” or why Alabama residents are fondly known as “Bamers,” the origins of other regional nicknames have fascinating histories. Let’s explore the stories behind a few of these nicknames.

  • Hoosiers: In Indiana, the term “Hoosiers” has its roots in a 19th-century poem by John Finley, “The Hoosier’s Nest,” dating back to 1830. Originally spelled as “Hoosher,” it ultimately became synonymous with the people of Indiana.
  • Huskers: Nebraskans carry the moniker “Huskers,” not merely as a nod to the state university’s sports teams known as the “Cornhuskers,” but also due to the arduous task of husking corn by hand, a common practice before the advent of machinery.
  • Bay Staters: Massachusetts residents take pride in their coastline and the abundance of water inlets, which inspired the nickname “Bay Staters.”
  • Buckeye: In Ohio, the “Buckeye” nickname harks back to the trees that once dominated its landscape.
  • Down Easters: Contrary to what one might think, “Down Easters” in Maine isn’t related to winter storms. Instead, it originated as a maritime reference to a specific area of the Maine coastline in the late 1700s. It was based on the fact that ships sailing from Boston to Maine had the wind at their backs, traveling downwind and east, giving rise to the term.

California’s Surprising Nicknames

California, often associated with the land of opportunity and adventure, has accumulated a variety of nicknames over the years, thanks in part to its rich history, diverse landscapes, and vibrant culture.

The Golden State

One of the most iconic and widely recognized nicknames for California is “The Golden State.” This designation became official in 1968 and traces its origins back to the discovery of gold in 1848, which led to a period of prosperity and wealth in the state. The name “Golden State” is not only a historical reference but also adorns landmarks and sports teams, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Golden State Warriors.


Secondly, we have a California nickname that you’ve probably heard time and time again: “Cali.” This moniker is the most common way to refer to California, simply a convenient contraction of the state’s full name. It has been in use for over two decades, and its popularization is often attributed to LL Cool J’s hit song from the 80s, “Going Back to Cali.”

However, it’s worth noting that while “Cali” is arguably the most popular nickname for California, some residents have a strong aversion to it and may even dispute its use. So, if you want to blend in with the locals during your visit to the Golden State, you might want to consider adopting one of the other nicknames.

The Sunshine State

Despite being a misnomer, “The Sunshine State” is sometimes used to describe California due to its consistently pleasant and warm weather. This official state nickname actually belongs to Florida because of its tropical climate. Nevertheless, California’s sunshine is a compelling reason to visit, with destinations like Palm Springs enjoying around 350 sunny days annually.

Grape State

The “Grape State” is a moniker that highlights California’s abundance of vineyards and its status as a premier wine-producing region. Some of the most famous wine regions in California include the iconic Napa Valley, Sonoma County, and the Sierra Foothills.

California’s climate is exceptionally suited for cultivating a variety of grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. This results in California producing some of the finest wines in the world, drawing wine connoisseurs from across the nation and beyond to sample its renowned vintages.

Golden Poppy State

California also goes by the name “Golden Poppy State” in honor of the vibrant golden poppy flower that blooms across the state’s rugged landscape, especially in the spring. This cheerful flower, which became California’s official state flower in 1903, can be observed in various locations, notably in Antelope Valley, Malibu Creek State Park, and California Valley. Mark your calendar for April 6th, designated as California Poppy Day, to witness these blooms in their full glory.

The Land of Dreams

California has long been referred to as the “Land of Dreams,” a nickname rooted in the concept known as the “California Dream.” This notion traces back to the psychological phenomenon that emerged after the Gold Rush. Thousands of individuals left their homes, lured by the promise of greener pastures and greater financial opportunities. Remarkably, not much has changed since those times, as California still holds the reputation of a place where people can start anew and pursue their dreams.

Today, this California state nickname extends to the state’s status as a global hub for both entertainment and technology. It particularly relates to Silicon Valley and Hollywood, both of which draw people from around the world who aspire to make their mark on a grand stage.

El Dorado State

“El Dorado State” is another nickname echoing California’s golden history. The term “El Dorado” translates to “the Golden” in Spanish and is historically linked to a mystical city rumored to be abundant in gold. The 1848 gold discovery in Coloma, El Dorado County, attracted a surge of people, eventually leading to the adoption of this unique nickname. Notably, Bodie, a gold rush ghost town, and Calico, a silver rush ghost town, represent places where people sought their fortunes during the 1800s.

The Cereal Bowl of the Nation

Although not the most commonly heard of California nicknames, “The Cereal Bowl of the Nation” has been used to describe the state’s significant role in cereal production. California is a substantial producer of cereal crops, including wheat, corn, and oats. Furthermore, it’s the leading producer of almonds in the United States, a crucial ingredient in numerous breakfast cereals.

Moreover, California also yields an assortment of other fruits and vegetables used in breakfast cereals, such as grapes, berries, and bananas. The next time you enjoy a bowl of your favorite cereal, take a moment to check if it has roots in California, a state renowned for its contributions to the nation’s breakfast tables.

The Surf State

Another popular California nickname is “The Surf State,” a title well-deserved due to its stunning beaches and exceptional waves. Positioned perfectly along the coastline, California benefits from favorable swells originating from both the North and South Pacific, resulting in fantastic waves for surf enthusiasts. There are numerous incredible spots to catch a wave along the West Coast, but places like Malibu and Pismo Beach are renowned as some of the best surfing destinations.

Notably, since 2018, surfing has been officially recognized as the state sport of California. Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1782 into law, with Assembly member Al Muratsuchi highlighting that surfing “represents the California Dream better than any other sport.”

The Eureka State

California is also often affectionately referred to as “The Eureka State.” This moniker harkens back to the exhilarating days of the Gold Rush when miner James Marshall, in 1848, exclaimed “eureka” upon discovering gold in the American River. The word “eureka” finds its origins in ancient Greece, signifying “I have found it,” and is intrinsically linked to the state’s official seal and motto, officially adopted in 1963, honoring the spirit of discovery that characterizes California.

In essence, California’s nicknames not only honor its remarkable past but also reflect the state’s enduring charm and diversity. Whether you prefer ‘Cali,’ ‘The Golden State,’ or any other affectionate moniker, each nickname showcases a different aspect of this state.



Q : What are some nicknames for Californians?

A : Nicknames for Californians include “Californian,” “Beverly Hiller,” and “Surfers,” reflecting the state’s culture, climate, and industries.

Q : What are people from Connecticut called?

A : People from Connecticut are often called “Connecticuters” or “Connecticutians.”

Q : What are people from Ohio called?

A : If you want to know “what do you call someone from Ohio? What do you call people from Ohio?”, the answer is that they are often referred to as ‘Buckeyes.

Q : What is the DNC list in Florida?

A : The DNC list, short for Do Not Call list, in Florida, is a registry maintained by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. It allows residents to opt out of receiving telemarketing calls from businesses and organizations.

Q : What are people from Arkansas called?

A : There are many who wonder “What do you call people from Arkansas? What do you call a person from Arkansas?” Well, the truth is Arkansas residents are commonly referred to as “Arkansans.”

Q : What are people from each state called?

A : Residents names of each state are typically referred to by demonym forms, such as Californians, New Yorkers, Texans, Pennsylvanians, Georgians, Arizonans and so on.

Q : What are Ohio residents called?

A : Ohio residents are also informally known as “Ohioans.”

Q : What is a person from New Jersey called?

A : A person from New Jersey is often called a “New Jerseyan.”

Q : How can I contact DNC in Florida?

A : To contact the DNC registry in Florida, you can visit the official website of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for information and support regarding the Do Not Call list.

Chris is a Midwest Transplant that has lived in South Florida since 1999. While he likes to remain active and is an avid sports enthusiast, he's become our go-to provider of reviews of any establishment serving food and booze!