The BEST California National Parks to Visit This Summer


California’s Nationwide Parks are dwelling to among the most iconic out of doors landscapes. Out-of-this-world surroundings, panoramic views, and delightful pure formations appeal to adventurers spanning the globe.

There’s by no means been a greater time to plan a California Nationwide Parks highway journey with journey costs hovering. Save on airfare, get away from the town, and hit the open highway.

Should you’re on a finances – camp! When you have extra cash to spare, keep in a lodge or cabin. California’s Nationwide Parks will reside as much as the hype, no matter your journey type.

#1 – Yosemite Nationwide Park

Probably the most visited California Nationwide Park, Yosemite, was established in 1890 and is located on California’s jap border amidst the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The park is roughly six hours from Los Angeles and 4 hours from San Francisco, making it the perfect summer time highway journey vacation spot.

Not-To-Miss Yosemite Highlights

On the coronary heart of the park is Yosemite Valley, a 7-mile glacier-carved basin that encompasses icons like Half Dome, El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls.

Yosemite Nationwide Park is a mountain climbing haven with trails catering to all ages and health ranges. Some must-dos embody Decrease Yosemite Fall Path (straightforward), Prepare dinner’s Meadow Loop (straightforward), The Mist Path (reasonable), and Half Dome Path (strenuous).

Additionally identified for its stunning vantage factors, among the most well-known viewpoints embody Glacier Level, Tunnel View, and Olmstead Level.

Know Earlier than You Go

The perfect time to go to Yosemite Nationwide Park tends to be between Could and September (making it the proper summer time vacation spot), when temperatures vary between 70°F and 90°F and rainfall is at a minimal.

This 12 months from Could twentieth via September thirtieth, guests would require a reservation to drive via the park throughout peak hours (6 am – 4 pm). When you have a Yosemite lodging reservation contained in the park, your reservation is included together with your reserving.

#2 – Redwood Nationwide and State Parks

Located in Northern California, Redwood Nationwide and State Parks are about six hours from San Francisco or Portland, however the vacation spot greater than justifies the trouble. Lonely Planet dubbed the Redwood Coast because the High U.S Place to Go to in 2018!

Highlights of the Redwood Coast

Redwood Nationwide and State Parks encompasses three state parks and one nationwide park, specifically: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, and Redwood Nationwide Park. Collectively, these parks defend almost 40,000 acres of old-growth redwood timber!

The world’s highlights embody Hyperion (the world’s tallest tree), Woman Hen Johnson Grove, Tall Bushes Grove, and Trillium Falls.

Know Earlier than You Go

It is value noting that, not like different California Nationwide Parks, lodging contained in the parks is proscribed to 4 campgrounds which can be unfold throughout the three state parks. There aren’t any developed campgrounds inside Redwood Nationwide Park itself.

Jedediah Smith Campground, Elk Prairie Campground, and Gold Bluffs Seashore Campground can be found year-round, whereas Mill Creek Campground is barely open from Could to September. If tenting is not your type, take into account reserving lodging in a close-by city like Eureka and Klamath.

#3 – Sequoia and Kings Canyon Nationwide Parks

Two of the preferred California Nationwide Parks, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, sit adjoining and are collectively managed by the Nationwide Park Service.

Simply over an hour east of Fresno and roughly 4 hours northeast of Los Angeles, Sequoia is known as for the world’s largest dwelling factor – the large sequoia tree.

Highlights of Sequoia and Kings Canyon

Established in 1890, Sequoia Nationwide Park encompasses greater than 631 sq. miles of forest panorama and is dwelling to the biggest identified tree on earth by quantity – the Common Sherman Tree.

Kings Canyon Nationwide Park was established in 1940 and encompasses 722 sq. miles. Because the title suggests, King Canyon’s principal attraction is Kings Canyon, carved via years of glacial motion. The granite partitions of the canyon tower 4,000 ft above the canyon flooring in some locations.

Aside from the canyon and groves of majestic sequoias, Sequoia and Kings Canyon Nationwide Parks are dwelling to stunning meadows, crystalline lakes, and a variety of wildlife, together with deer, black bears, and bighorn sheep.

Know Earlier than You Go

Since snow usually covers the Excessive Sierra till late spring, the perfect time to go to Sequoia and Kings Canyon is between June and August, when temperatures are most reasonable, particularly for hikers and campers. Throughout summer time, daytime temps common 70°F, and nights can get right down to the mid-40s.

Entry covers each parks and is $35 per automobile or $30 per bike. This Sequoia Lodging Information covers each place to remain contained in the nationwide park.

#4 – Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore

Set on the Level Reyes peninsula, Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore is an unlimited expanse of protected shoreline in Northern California’s Marin County that homes over 1,500 crops and animal species.

Not-To-Miss Level Reyes Highlights

The park maintains roughly 150 miles of mountain climbing trails, 4 backcountry campgrounds, a number of historic buildings, three customer facilities, and among the state’s most stunning seashores, together with Limantour Seashore and Wildcat Seashore.

Different highlights embody Alamere Falls, Level Reyes Lighthouse (a surprising viewpoint for watching migrating grey whales), and Phillip Burton Wilderness, encompassing a number of scenic mountain climbing trails.

Know Earlier than You Go

Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore is open year-round, however Could via September supply the perfect climate. Nevertheless, January via April is the time to go to if you wish to witness the grey whale migration and elephant seal pupping.

There isn’t a entrance payment to Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore, although backcountry tenting prices $30 per night time per web site and covers six individuals.

#5 – Channel Islands Nationwide Park

Considered one of California’s least visited and most underrated nationwide parks, Channel Islands Nationwide Park, is a marine haven situated off the coast of southern California and consists of the 5 islands of San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara. The islands are dwelling to over 2,000 plant and animal species, of which 150 are discovered nowhere else.

Highlights of Channel Islands Nationwide Park

Anacapa Island is the perfect place for hen watching and brief hikes. Journey seekers will love Santa Cruz Island, which gives alternatives for sea cave kayaking, diving, snorkeling, mountain climbing, and tenting. Alternatively, Santa Rosa and San Miguel are nice for leisure seekers who need to loosen up on pristine sandy seashores with spectacular ocean views.

Know Earlier than You Go

To succeed in the islands requires a brief boat journey, the length, and price of which rely upon which island(s) you intend on visiting.

Though the park is open year-round, summer time is the perfect time to go to, because the climate tends to be gentle and the boat journey much less uneven. Nevertheless, early Fall is the perfect season for snorkeling and diving since that is when the ocean is warmest (although nonetheless freezing!).

Observe: that there are NO eating places or lodging on any islands, although primitive tenting is permitted year-round. Due to this fact, in a single day guests ought to plan to carry meals, water, and gear.

#6 – Pinnacles Nationwide Park

California’s latest nationwide park, Pinnacles, boasts an array of out of doors actions.

Residence to 26,000 acres of spectacular landscapes, the park options chaparral, oak woodlands, and expansive canyons. It additionally hosts a wide selection of wildlife, together with the uncommon California Condor, and gives mountaineering, hen watching, and alternatives for cave exploration.

Know Earlier than You Go

Summer time temperatures can soar to a whopping 100°F! Because of this, it is important to get an early begin to keep away from peak warmth and all the time carry ample solar safety and water with you. Pinnacles is among the least visited California Nationwide Parks, and also you’re prone to discover the solitude you will not simply discover elsewhere.

There are two entrances to Pinnacles Nationwide Park that aren’t related by any roads contained in the park. The west entrance is ten miles northeast of Soledad and is accessible through CA-146. This entry follows a slender one-lane highway and isn’t really useful for RVs, trailers, or giant automobiles.

Alternatively, the east entrance is about 35 miles southeast of Hollister and supplies entry to the park’s solely campground and customer middle and a number of other mountain climbing trails. At publishing, entry to the park was $30 per automobile or $25 per bike.

#7 – Lassen Volcanic Nationwide Park

Observe: Lassen is among the most underrated California Nationwide Parks and would usually rank a lot increased on this checklist. Nevertheless, the Dixie Fireplace affected a lot of the park in 2021, and enormous parts will stay closed all through 2022.

Throughout typical years, Lassen Volcanic Nationwide Park gives guests tons of alternatives for out of doors adventures with a fraction of the crowds seen by different California Nationwide Parks like Yosemite and Sequoia.

Located within the northeast nook of California, the park is situated close to the small city of Chester and maintains two principal entrances. The Southwest entrance is close to Kohm Yah-mah-nee Customer Middle, and the Northwest entrance is within the Manzanita Lake Space, close to Loomis Plaza.

Highlights of Lassen Volcanic Nationwide Park

Lassen is dwelling to mountain climbing trails, majestic mountains, flower-filled meadows, crystalline lakes (splendid for fishing, swimming, and kayaking), and all 4 kinds of volcanoes – protect, composite, cinder cone, and plug dome. Lassen Volcanic Nationwide Park has the biggest plug dome volcano globally – Lassen Peak.

There are various geothermal areas, together with roiling fumaroles, mud pots, boiling swimming pools, and steaming grounds.

Know Earlier than You Go

The one formal lodging contained in the park is Drakesbad Visitor Ranch, although eight developed campgrounds are additionally unfold throughout the park.

Typically, the perfect time to go to is from Could to September, as a number of vacationer sights shut in winter attributable to snowfall. Throughout summer time, entry into the park is $30 per automobile or $25 per bike.

#8 – Joshua Tree Nationwide Park

Joshua Tree Nationwide Park is the place two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and Colorado, come collectively.

Joshua Tree Highlights

As you journey via the park, you will see granite monoliths, pure rock and boulder formations, and a variety of plant and animal life, none so prevalent because the park’s namesake – the Joshua Tree.

Joshua Tree Nationwide Park actions embody mountain climbing, mountaineering, birdwatching, biking, tenting, and stargazing.

Know Earlier than You Go

Though the park is open year-round, most desire to not go to in summer time when daytime temperatures soar over 100°F. That’s the solely purpose the park options to date down on our checklist of California Nationwide Parks to go to this summer time.

However, in the event you plan on visiting throughout summer time (as many do!), it is suggested that you just ebook lodging with A/C. These are among the prime Joshua Tree lodges and cabins. Extra importantly, get an early begin, take loads of water, and put on ample solar safety for out of doors actions.

Entrance into the park is $30 per automobile or $25 per bike.

#9 – Dying Valley Nationwide Park

One of many hottest and driest locations on the planet, it is no shock why Dying Valley options final on our checklist of California Nationwide Parks to go to this summer time. The park is ready on the jap border of south-central California, within the northern Mojave Desert, and borders the Nice Basin Desert.

Highlights of Dying Valley

Overlaying 3.4 million acres of desert panorama, Dying Valley encompasses a number of miles of majestic dunes, technicolor rocks and canyons, wildlife, and mountain peaks with heights of 11,000 ft.

Among the park’s most noteworthy factors of curiosity embody Zabriskie Level, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Golden Canyon, and Badwater Basin (the bottom level in North America).

Know Earlier than You Go

Dying Valley Nationwide Park is well-known for its excessive climate situations and exceptionally excessive summer time temperatures that may rapidly soar to a staggering 120°F. As such, it is typically finest to go to the park in Spring or Fall.

As of 2022, particular person entry into the park was $15 per particular person, $30 per automobile, or $25 per bike.

Writer Bio:

Jenna is the founding father of Up and Away Journal, the place she curates highway journey itineraries and lodging guides to America’s most stunning out of doors areas. Up and Away Journal goals to encourage others to choose outdoors in a method that’s sensible, accessible, and appropriate for all budgets. In her spare time, Jenna enjoys mountain climbing, climbing, and backpacking.

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Jenna is the founding father of Up and Away Journal, the place she curates highway journey itineraries and lodging guides to America’s most stunning out of doors areas. Up and Away Journal goals to encourage others to choose outdoors in a method that’s sensible, accessible, and appropriate for all budgets. In her spare time, Jenna enjoys mountain climbing, climbing and backpacking.

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