The Top 5 State Parks in California

Crystal Cove State Park

California is known to have plenty of things to do. When people think of California, they think about how big the state is in size, tourist attractions, weather, wine-tasting regions, mountains, beaches, and substantial land to explore. With all of these perks, it is becoming a very popular state to buy and own vacant land in. With the size and variety of land available in California, there are plenty of great soils and terrains that support farming. Not to mention, California has sunshine pretty much year-round. 

California is bordered by Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, the Mexican State of Baja California, and the Pacific Ocean. With the variety of borders comes a variety of people traveling through and visiting. California brings thousands of new people every day. With all of the new people, there are still so many places to visit and explore.

We want to talk about the state parks in California and which ones are worth your while. California is known for its busy cities, but there are plenty of state parks that are quiet and feel secluded in the big state. Traveling to these state parks will definitely please many of your senses as well as giving you some adventure. 

Most of the state parks allow for camping, so you can turn your adventure into a two day excursion! If you visit any of the five state parks below, you will be nothing short of satisfied.


Crystal Cove State Park

Crystal Cove State Park comes in at number one on the list because it is one of the largest areas of open space and ocean shore in Orange County. The state park includes 3.2 miles of beach, as well as an offshore underwater area, and over 2,000 acres of wilderness. 

The park also has a federally listed Historic District, which features 46 vintage cottages that were originally built to be a seaside colony in the 1930s and they are located on the Los Trancos Creek. This is one of the last examples of Southern California coastal development in the early 20th century. 

Crystal Cove State Park has plenty of activities to do. The beaches of course speak for themselves featuring surfing, skin diving, and admiring sunsets. The park also has several hiking trails that consist of easy difficulty to strenuous. You can camp at the park in a tent or RV camper, or you have the option to rent one of the historic district cottages. Lastly, there is a tide pool exploration as well.

If you are looking to get to this park, it is located on the Pacific Coast Highway between Laguna Beach and Corona del Mar. 

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is a breathtaking park featuring the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The natural beauty of this state park is a must see. 

The main attraction of this park is the McWay Falls. McWay Falls drops over a cliff of 80 feet tall directly into the Pacific Ocean. There are two camping areas that are absolutely gorgeous places to pitch a tent. The reason we name this at number two is because there are several other state parks that surround it. For example, Limekiln and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park are great nearby parks. Who does not want 3 parks in 1?

You can also experience Pfeiffer Beach, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, and the Bixby Bridge. 

This park is located on California State Route 1 in Big Sur.


Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

For state park number 3 in the big state of California, we have Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. This beautiful park is famous for its hiking trails as well as the 40 acre plot of giant, tall redwood trees. 

If you are looking for an outdoor activity, look no further than this park. Hiking, horseback riding, picnicking, camping and swimming are just a few things you can find yourself enjoying here. This park is so diverse, it feels like you are in four different environments all next to each other: grasslands, river, sand, and redwoods. 

The Garden of Eden is a very popular swimming hole in this park in the San Lorenzo River. What are you waiting for? 

This park is located in Felton, California.


Emerald Bay State Park

Emerald Bay State Park is a gorgeous park that makes a great adventure if you are in the Lake Tahoe area. There are two campgrounds, one is only accessible by boat and by foot. The Rubicon Trail wraps all around Emerald Bay with several trailheads. 

The park is known for Vikingsholm, which is a fine example of Scandinavian architecture. You can also experience “The Tea House,” which is located on Fannette Island. Fannette Island is the only island on all of Lake Tahoe. Wow!

Visitors of Emerald Bay State Park can enjoy hiking, kayaking, swimming, scuba diving, boating, sightseeing and touring the architecture.

Castle Crags State Park

Talk about camping, Castle Crags State Park has 76 camping sites that feature flush toilets, showers, drinking water, fire pits, food lockers, and picnic tables. Visitors can enjoy hiking, camping, picnicking, and fishing activities. 

There are 28 miles of hiking trails throughout Castle Crags State Park. You can take a nice stroll or experience the more difficult and strenuous trails. Vista Point is located within the park and features views of Castle Crags, Mount Shasta and Gray Rocks. 

The park features the Sacramento River flowing through with several accessible trails and places for fishing. 

Experience the Shasta and Siskiyou Counties when you visit this park in Castella California. 

National Forests in California

Although there are so many state parks for you and your family to explore in the state of California, there is also a variety of national forests that you can add to your list to visit. There are 20 national forests in California for you to experience. 

The most popular national forest in California is Angeles National Forest located in San Fernando, CA. This forest features beautiful, serene wilderness areas, campgrounds, and trails for horseback riding, hiking, and off roading vehicles. 

Another popular national forest is the Sierra National Forest in Central California. There are over one million acres of trails, lakes, camping and beautiful wilderness. That is a lot of land to explore, so you better start now! 

And since the third time’s a charm, we will leave you with one more popular national forest in the huge state of California. Cleveland National Forest is located in Santa Ysabel, CA! This forest features over 450,000 acres of stunning landscape. Cleveland National Forest is known for its beautiful, scenic drives through the mountains as well as an astronomical observatory. Looks like this might need to be on your list for your next adventure.

While we know it would take a very long time to explore all of the state of California, it is better to explore some of it rather than none of it. Vacant land has become extremely popular in this vast state and we look forward to helping people find the perfect place for them. Start exploring California today and let us know where you want to start looking for your new land!

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