Some of California's major counties include Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco, all located in the Bay Area. In the central part of the state, the counties of Santa Clara, Monterey and Santa Cruz are business and tourist hubs. Heading south, the counties of Los Angeles and San Diego are major population centers. The counties in the southeast, such as Kern, home to the Mojave Desert, and those near the Oregon border, such as Siskiyou, tend to be less populated.
As of 2010, Alameda County had a population of 1.5 million. The largest city is Oakland, home to the Port of Oakland, a major West Coast shipping center. The county fronts the eastern end of San Francisco Bay and is the eastern terminus of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
San Francisco County is made up of one city, San Francisco, which as of 2013 had a population of 837,442. Contra Costa County is just north of Alameda; its 2010 population count of approximately 1 million residents houses many Bay Area commuters.
Santa Clara County borders the southern end of San Francisco Bay; as of 2010, its population was nearly 1.8 million. San Jose, the largest city, is the unofficial capital of Silicon Valley. Monterey and Santa Cruz County are sparsely populated by comparison, but the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk are major tourist draws.
Los Angeles County is the largest in the state population-wise, with just over 10 million residents as of 2013. This county consists of the city of Los Angeles and several neighboring communities reaching from Santa Clarita to Long Beach. San Diego County, home to the city of San Diego and Coronado Island, reaches to the Mexican border. As of 2010, its population was just over 3 million.