If you are wandering in The Golden State and looking to get away from the hustle and bustle, you don’t have to look too far to find some of the nation’s most treasured landscapes and natural wonders.
California is rich with land that has been set aside, protected, and carefully managed by the National Park Service. From the iconic grandeur of Yosemite which sits in the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the offshore coastal outcroppings of the Channel Islands in Southern California, there are parks and recreational areas that are food for your mind, body, and soul.
So let’s hit the road. Here are the California Parks (in alpha order), links to more information, and a few details to enhance your journey. Get up, get out, and #FindYourPark!
Channel Islands National Park – Ventura
Channel Islands National Park – Five rugged islands off the shore of California make up this National Park – Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara. Congress set this area aside as a National Park in 1980 to preserve the fragile resources and ecosystems that are found here.
Death Valley National Park – Death Valley
Devil’s Postpile National Monument – Mammoth Lakes
Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site – Danville
Fort Point National Historic Site – Presidio of San Francisco
Golden Gate National Recreation Area – San Francisco
John Muir National Historic Site – Martinez
Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail – Nogales, AZ to San Francisco
Lassen Volcanic National Park – Mineral
Lava Beds National Monument – Tulelake
Manzanar National Historic Site – Independence
Mojave National Preserve – Headquarters in Barstow
Muir Woods National Monument – Mill Valley
Old Spanish Historic Trail – Los Angeles
Pinnacles National Park – Paicines
Point Reyes National Seashore – Point Reyes
Pony Express National Historic Trail – Sacramento, San Francisco
Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial – Concord
Presidio of San Francisco – San Francisco
Redwood National and State Parks – Del Norte & Humboldt Counties
Redwood National & State Parks are located along the Pacific Coast in Northern California. Instead of one large Park, you’ll find a series of Parks that make up the larger Redwood National and State Parks. These include; Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park – all of which were established in the 1920s, and Redwood National Park– which was established in 1968. This mosaic of parks totals about 132,000 acres of land visited by approximately 420,000 people a year.
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Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park – Richmond
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park – San Francisco
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area – Thousand Oaks
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks – Tulare and Fresno Counties in the Southern Sierras
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area – Whiskeytown
Yosemite National Park – out of Fresno in the Sierra Nevada
Yosemite National Park was established in 1890 as the Nation’s second recognized Park, although protection began as early as 1864 while Abraham Lincoln was in office. There are over 750,000 acres protected yet when most think of Yosemite they are typically referring to the 7 square miles of Yosemite Valley. It is rich with iconic granite peaks, cliffs and domes, dramatic waterfalls and some of the most beautiful meadows to be found. It truly is a remarkable place and, whether you are seeing it for the first time or are a longtime fan, when you get your glimpse of the valley it is jaw-dropping.
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