10 Best State Parks in California

The Golden State-with the cold sea breeze, picturesque waterfalls, and prominent mountain peaks, offers the visitors a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Either stare blankly at the natural surroundings or have some adventure by hiking, fishing, and camping- the visitors are bestowed with tons of options. California State Parks is a haven for weekend adventures and extended road trips allowing the visitors to escape from the mundane busy lifestyle. From most visited parks like Julia Pfeiffer to natural attractions like Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, nearly all the state parks in California offer multi-day adventures to their visitors. Live the beauty of State Parks as this article unravels the ten best State Parks in California.

Best State Parks in California

1. Crystal cove state park 

Best State Parks in California

Crystal cove state park is the perfect combination of open outdoor space and natural seashore. Spread across 3.2 miles of the pacific coast Highway between Corona Del Mar and Laguna Beach, the park houses golden sands and inland wilderness. The 3,936-acre park is home to 3 miles of beaches, tide pools, a 1,400-acre marine conservation area, and a fascinating underwater park. Further its popularity depends on the passionate hikers and beach lovers. Skin diving, surfing, and sunset seeing are some popular activities to indulge.

2. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park 

Best State Parks in California

Standing 12 miles South of the Pfeiffer Big Sur National park, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is one of the top state parks in California.  Plummeting from a rocky slope into the ocean- the 80 feet McWay Falls is the highlight of this Park.  The 3,762-acre (1,522 ha) park also houses 300-foot redwood trees, that are at least 2500 years old. The park has named Julia after a respected resident and rancher in the Big Sur region, who lived in the area until her last breath in 1928.

3. Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park 

Best State Parks in California

Located in the Santa Cruz mountains, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is a hoe for a 4,623-acre grove of ancient redwood trees. The historical significance and the splendid sceneries draw visitors across the borders. Additionally, the park preserves the forest and riparian areas in the watershed of the San Lorenzo River. The park houses the best biking trails and best campgrounds near Santa Cruz. Also, bird-watching, horse-dog-friendly mountain biking trails, and shopping at the Mountain Parks Nature store include some exclusive features of this park. The ground is closely located to the Big Basin Redwoods State Park, which is the oldest State Park in California. While being lost in the beautiful scenery, the Redwood Loop Trail is a must to hop on a hike with the whole family.

4. Emerald Bay State Park 

Best State Parks in California

Emerald Bay State Park- California’s premier glacier park is famous for its natural beauty, geology, and history. The landmark attracts thousands of visitors for its spectacular vistas of mountain-building processes and glacier-carved granite. The name of the park has given after the shallow blue waters of Lake Tahoe. Moreover the park houses two campgrounds namely, Boat-In Camp and Eagle Point Campground. The guests can enjoy hiking, swimming, kayaking, scuba diving, boating, sightseeing, and touring Vikingsholm. Designated as an underwater state park in 1994, it houses sunken ships and vessels at the bottom.

5. Castle Crags State Park

Best State Parks in California

More than 170 million years old Castle Crags State Park has inspired many myths and legends.  The park houses 6000-feet tall granite spires in the castle that borders the Northwestern edge of the Castel Crag State Park. The park offers multiple camping, picnicking, hiking, and fishing opportunities to its visitors. With 76 campsites in the park, it comes with picnic tables, food lockers, toilets, showers, fire rings, and drinking water. Further people can enjoy energizing adventures to small strolls on the hiking trails that have spread across 38 miles.

6. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Best State Parks in California

Located within the Colorado Desert of southern California, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the largest park in California. Encompassing over 600,000 acres, the park has surrounded by mountains.  The park consists of 800k of dirt roads, 12 designated wilderness areas, and 180km of hiking trails. The rugged terrain that features a pristine desert wilderness, including slot canyons, palm springs, and plenty of wildflowers, is the highlight of the park. The park has a wealth of flora and fauna that attract many tourists. One of the popular hiking spots in the park is the Hellhole Palms.

7. Empire Mine State Historic Park

Best State Parks in California

Empire Mine State Historic Park is one of the oldest, deepest, and richest gold mines in California. Projecting the rich history of the 19th century California Golden Rush, the park preserves the oldest gold mine in the state. The park houses preserved building with a machine shop, clubhouse, dating back to when mine was still in operation. There is a hiking trail with artifacts and lined information stretching across the park.

8. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Best State Parks in California

Spread across 10,000 acres -the Redwood state park is a home to the last remaining ancient redwood forest. Named after an explorer, there is no road inside the greenery. However, there is a 20 miles of hiking trail running through the Park. The visitors can camp in a lush environment. Camping and cabins are available for the visitors if they like to stay overnight.  According to its explorers, the main drawback of this park is that it is undeveloped. The overall experience of the Park contains a sense of isolation from the outer form and a perfect hidden place to enjoy the otherworldly landscape.

9. Morro Bay State Park

Best State Parks in California

Housing Morro Bay State Park at its Southern border-Morro Bay town holds the position as one of the best small towns in California. Morro Bay State Park has renowned for its spectacular scenery, which is a result of volcanic activity and erosion that carved this unique landscape. This picture-perfect landscape offers sailing, fishing, hiking, and bird-watching. The park houses a museum that exhibits natural features and cultural history. It also houses a postcard marina and an 18-hole golf course. The bay has moderate weather. However, during summer, the area is 30 degrees cooler than the inland.

10. McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park

The park situates within the Cascade Range and Madoc Plateau natural region. The park considers as the top visited state park due to the spring-fed cascading waterfall within its borders. The main highlight of the park is the 129-foot Barney falls, which is one of the most beautiful falls in the State. The landscape of the park has carved by volcanic activity. Next to the falls, there is the Pacific Crest trails which is a prominent hiking spot.  

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