California is on the destination list for a lot of people. They come to explore some of the best national parks in the world, incredible beaches, their chance at seeing a celebrity in Hollywood, and there is always Disneyland. But what about California's state parks? If you are venturing to the state to explore its natural beauty, then I would suggest making sure to put these state parks on your bucket list or itinerary.
California's Best State Parks
With over 279 state park units, there is a lot to choose from. Here are a few of our favorites.
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park [Land of the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation]
Starting in the north, this state park is located just outside of Redwood National Park. This means that this state park has some of the tallest Redwoods in the world and you can walk through them. You can experience their wonder and get the chance to gaze at how massive these trees are. Our favorite hike within the state park is Grove of Titans. You can walk along a raised boardwalk (which you need to stay on) through a grove of Redwoods. Four of the ten tallest Redwoods are in this grove.
McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park
The next state park is McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park. If waterfalls are your thing, then this is the state park for you. One of the most beautiful waterfalls in California is Burney Falls. We have explored a lot of waterfalls and this waterfall still had my jaw dropped when we turned the corner.
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
This state park has some of the most beautiful coastline in the United States. Hike through the lush forest, camp in one its many campgrounds and picnic while viewing the amazing cliffs along the coast. On a hot day, enjoy the beaches and if you are a marathon runner or want to run one, then check out the Big Sur International Marathon.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Lastly at the bottom of the state sits Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The largest of the state parks it encompasses 585,930 acres. If you are a full time RVer, this is a great place to come in the winter, but this area is really the desert. You need to take precautions in in the summer if you dare explore. Even in the winter, the temperatures can be high and there isn't much water, if any at all. But what it does have is some amazing hiking. These are well worth the drive from San Diego, or if you are passing through.
Take a short hike straight up to these wind caves and get a view of the Carrizo Badlands. This trailhead is accessed by driving through a dried up riverbed, so make sure you have a 4x4.
On the same road as the dry riverbed to the wind caves is the trailhead for The Slot. We LOVE slot canyons! This is a short hike and you will get a lot of warnings for how hot it can get in this area. Dogs are not allowed on this hike and shouldn't even be brought to this state park.
As you enjoy and experience these state parks, please remember to LEAVE NO TRACE.