California’s national parks represent the diversity of the state’s landscapes. From the high summits of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the below-sea-level salt flats of Death Valley, these extreme locations are breathtaking. There are several national parks to visit in California, some with soaring mountains and babbling streams, others with towering waterfalls and desert-like terrain.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Regardless of which National Park you want to visit in California, the best months for weather and crowds are April and October. For those seeking peace and quiet, January is traditionally the parks quietest month, with a rush of tourists around the holidays.
— Always bring lots of water with you.
— Arrive early. National parks draw a lot of tourists.
— Always make reservations ahead of time if you want to camp.
— Make sure you wear the appropriate clothing and footwear.
The best national parks in california
5 other best california national parks
- Point Reyes National Seashore – With over 1,500 types of plants and animals known to inhabit the region, this stunning nature park covers 80 miles of coastline and is a sanctuary for wildlife.
- Channel Islands National Park – The park covers five islands off the coast of Southern California and has seals, sea caves, nesting seabirds, camping, and hiking. It must be reached by ferry.
- Lassen Volcanic National Park – This national park is stunning, including volcanoes, hydrothermal zones, alpine lakes, and wildflower meadows. This is a national park unlike any other, formed by volcanic activity generated by the Lassen Peak volcano.
- Pinnacles National Park – Trails wind around dome rocks that rise from the earth, passing through caverns, canyons, and woods. The park was formed by the remains of a volcanic event that happened around 23 million years ago.
- Redwood National and State Parks – Big Basin Redwoods State Park (California’s oldest state park) and Humboldt Redwood State Park, are home to the world’s oldest growing redwood trees, are both must-sees.