California has 28 national parks, national monuments, and recreation areas, so it will take you a while to visit them all. For five days every year, the National Park Service offers free entry to all National Park Service sites that otherwise charge an entrance fee. That's free entry for you and your family, and the first one for the year is this Monday, January 17th, 2022.
This story covers the nine California national parks. Additionally, you will find a list of the national monuments, historic sites, and recreation areas that usually charge a fee.
Before you go, please check The National Park Service website. There are possible road closures in the winter, and some parks may not be accessible. Additionally, some parks take reservations, and you may find if you have not reserved, you can not get in even though it's free.
National parks in California
There are nine national parks in California. This includes the most popular national park in California, Yosemite National Park. Seven-day entry passes typically cost $15 per individual or $35 per car. So with free admission, it's quite a saving!
Yosemite National Park
Only 4.5 hours from Los Angeles and just 3 hours from San Francisco and San Jose mean the once-in-a-lifetime experience is something Californians can do more than once!
The many waterfalls, streams and lakes, and the giant sequoia groves make it a fascinating national park. Yosemite National Park's granite cliffs and majestic scenery is a must-see for every American.
Channel Islands National Park
The Channel Islands National park is all about the ocean. Five islands are included in the national park and accessed from the mainland at Ventura and Oxnard Harbors via park concessionaire boats (Island Packers) or private boats.
Planning is required, but once you are there, you will feel like you are a world away from the congestion of the cities.
Additionally, this park is always free to enter.
Death Valley National Park
On the border of California and Nevada, this national park is known for its extreme temperatures. The towering snow-covered peaks in the winter offer stunning views.
Highlights include the salt flats Badwater Basin, the 600-foot-deep Ubehebe Crater, and the incredible Artist's Palette.
Only 3.5 hours of travel from Los Angeles makes it a fun weekend road trip.
Joshua Tree National Park
The surreal geological features of Joshua Tree National Park make it a must-visit for all lovers of rock formations and otherworldly landscapes. The vast area is home to rugged rock formations and a stunning desert landscape, along with the Joshua trees illuminating the landscape.
Only 2 hours of travel time from Los Angeles makes it a popular weekend destination for Angelenos.
Kings Canyon National Park
The Kings Canyon National Park offers a diverse landscape with its epic mountains and canyons.
The park is known for its ancient Sequoia Trees and stimulating forest trails.
Additionally, the General Grant Tree, the second largest tree in the world, can be found at this park.
Redwood National Park
This UNESCO World Heritage Site listed is an old temperate rainforest.
Boasting the tallest trees on Earth, a rugged coastline, expansive prairies, and oak woodlands, it is a much loved California national park.
This national park is always free to visit, except for day-use areas and campgrounds.
Sequoia National Park
For lovers of giant trees, the Sequoia national park is famous for its giant sequoia trees.
The largest trees on Earth can be found at Sequoia. This includes the General Sherman Tree, which is the largest tree in the world at 52,508 cubic feet.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
The Lassen Volcanic National Park boats immense mountains as well as canyons, lakes, rivers.
The landscape features active volcanic landscapes such as craters, sulfur vents, bubbling mud, lava pinnacles, and numerous volcanoes.
Pinnacles National Park
Stunning rock formations are scattered throughout Pinnacles National Park. The park has many caves to explore especially visited by keen cavers and rock climbers.
America's newest national park is home to the California condor, the largest bird in North America.
Along with the other wildlife you can see, bird watchers love the park.
Many of California's national monuments and recreation areas always offer free entry. The ones that usually charge an entry fee will also be free on January 17th, 2022. They are -
Cabrillo National Monument.
Lava Beds National Monument.
Muir Woods National Monument.
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.
If you already have plans this Monday, there are 4 more free days in 2022. Plan ahead for free entry on April 16, August 4, September 24 & November 11.
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