While many might think of things such as Hollywood and celebrities when they think of California, the real star of the Golden State is its wonderful national park system. California is full of plenty of incredible national parks, and each one allows you to really appreciate just how beautiful the state can be. From towering forest trees to stunning desert landscapes, here are a few of California’s best national parks.
Death Valley National Park
Situated near 130 miles west of Las Vegas, Death Valley is regarded as the hottest, driest, and lowest place in the U.S. It’s also home to some of the most diverse desert terrains, such as the Badwater Basin, Zabriskie Point, and Dante’s View. This national park spans over 3.4 million acres, making it the largest in California. If you’re planning on visiting this area, you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to accommodations.
Point Reyes National Seashore
Located in Northern California, Point Reyes National Seashore is a beautiful place that will take your breath away. It features a variety of coastal landscapes and diverse wildlife. There are several different activities that you can enjoy here, such as hiking the Tomales Point Trail and the Laguna-Coast Loop. For leisure travelers, there are two beautiful overlooks that are located within the park: the Point Reyes Lighthouse and the Elephant Seal Overlook. One of the most popular activities in the park is driving through the beautiful and charming Cypress Tree Tunnel. This is a quarter-mile-long driveway that features a beautiful view of the Monterey cypress trees. If you’re planning on visiting the park for a couple of days, there are various accommodations available, such as the HI Point Reyes Hostel.
Redwood National and State Parks
One of the most popular natural attractions in California is the massive redwood trees, which are known to be the tallest trees in the world. One of the most unique features of this national park system is that it features multiple parks all along the coast of California. One of the most popular areas to visit is the Big Basin Redwoods State Park, which is California’s oldest state park. This park features the world’s largest remaining coastal redwood forest. If you’re looking for a unique camping experience, you can choose from a variety of accommodations in the park. There are also cabins available in the Prairie Creek and Jedediah Smith parks.
Manzanar National Historic Site
Those who are passionate about history should take a trip to Manzanar National Historic Site, which was one of the many camps that were established for Japanese-Americans during the Second World War when President Franklin Roosevelt issued an executive order that forced over 100,000 Japanese-Americans to leave their homes in 1942. This historical site features reconstructed barracks, an excavated garden, and a mess hall. The visitor center is the most popular spot to start your trip. There are also multiple exhibits that highlight the history of the camp. While you can’t stay on property like the other parks listed here, Manzanar is still a great day trip if you have the opportunity.