California has several beautiful national parks to add to your itinerary when you visit. Each one is unique and located in a different part of the state.
If you want to get to know the natural side of California, visit one or more of these national parks. Each one has something special to offer for people of all ages.
Yosemite National Park
Just to the north of the Sequoia National Park lies perhaps the most famous of all of California's National Parks. Yosemite encompasses almost 1200 square miles and a variety of wildlife and flora and fauna. While it is open year-round, some roads are closed in the winter. Yosemite is located in the central part of the state and is approximately four hours from San Francisco, six hours from Los Angeles, and eight hours from Las Vegas.
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park is located in the southern part of the state with Highway 190 running through it from east to west. You can also access it directly from Las Vegas, Nevada and Ridgecrest, California. Despite its name, you will find a great variety of scenery here.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
This park lies to the east of the San Joaquin Valley and is not far from Fresno or Cedar Grove. Many roads are only open during the summer and you may need to have chains on your vehicle to see the big trees. However, the park itself is open all year.
Redwood National Park
The Redwood National Park is California's northernmost park and is located about 325 miles north of San Francisco. It goes almost to the Oregon state line and is about 50 miles long. It is accessible by Highway 101 as well as other smaller access roads. The park is home to the famous Redwood trees, the tallest trees in the world.
Pinnacles National Park
Pinnacles National Park is the newest park in the state. It lies off of Highway 146 reachable by Highway 25 and is not far from San Francisco. Two entrances provide access to the park, but only the East Entrance is open 24 hours a day. The two entrances do not intersect in the park. Camping is only available at the East Entrance.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
While Lassen Volcanic National Park is open year-round, wintertime access is limited. Many of the facilities are also only open during the summer. The park has five entrances, including the Main Park Road. However, many of these entrances are closed through part of the year because of the snowfall. Lassen Volcanic National Park is located in northeastern California not far from Redding and Red Bluff.
Joshua Tree National Park
Located in southern California, the Joshua Tree National Park is open all year with the Black Rock Nature Center open from October through May. The park is just 140 miles east of L.A. and just over 220 mile west of Phoenix, Arizona. Interstate 10 and Highway 62 will bring you directly to the park.
Channel Islands National Park
Unlike most national parks, Channel Islands National Park is not on the mainland. It includes five islands and the surrounding ocean environment. The visitor centers are located in Ventura and Santa Barbara, but the actual park is accessible only by boats or planes. You won't find any transportation on the islands, and bicycles are not allowed. You must either walk or travel by boat or kayak.