9 National Parks In The State Of California

Being the 3rd largest state, after Alaska and Texas, California is home to a whopping 9 National Parks and many state parks. Also, because of its unique geographical location on the southwest coast of the United States, California happens to be one of the most geologically diverse areas in the world. Featuring different climates and many different terrains. California is home to many deserts, mountain ranges, rolling hills, the Pacific Ocean, plains, lakes rivers as well as some of the largest cities in the country.

Because of this geological variety and to protect it, 9 National Parks In the State of California were established. They are by far some of the most fascinating places one can visit. They draw millions of people yearly from all over the world. And are highly desired destinations for many Californians, looking to get away on a weekend family road trip to escape their busy lives in the city.

In this article, we will go over each of the 9 California National Parks with tips, information, and possible best times to visit them. I have explored (almost) all of them myself, on many different occasions, and I can tell you these are some of the most unique places on earth!


1. Redwood National and State Parks:

(Click here to read a more extensive Redwoods visiting guide)redwoods national park

  • Location: Northern California Coast
  • Famous For: Towering Coastal Redwoods, some of the tallest trees on Earth.
  • Activities: Hiking, wildlife viewing (elk, whales), scenic drives, camping.
  • Must Visit Destinations: Humboldt Redwoods State Park(Avenue of The Giants), Lady Bird Grove, Del Norte Coast State Park, Founders Tree, Prairie Creek Redwoods Park), Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.


These combined Redwood National and State Parks protect some of the planet's most magnificent trees. Walking among the towering redwoods is a humbling experience. The parks offer fern-carpeted trails, wildflower displays in spring, and opportunities to spot Roosevelt elk and migrating gray whales.

Walking through a redwood forest is like stepping into another realm, where time slows and the whispers of ancient giants echo through the air. As you enter the sanctuary of towering trees, a sense of reverence washes over you, humbling you in the presence of these majestic sentinels of nature.

The towering redwoods stretch towards the heavens, their massive trunks rising like cathedral spires, reaching for the sky with a quiet dignity. Sunlight filters through the dense canopy above, casting dappled shadows on the forest floor below. The air is thick with the earthy scent of moss and ferns, mingling with the crisp aroma of pine.

If you haven't been, I recommend you visit this magical forest at least once in your life time. There is something there that no words could ever describe and can only be experienced in person.

redwoods in spring

"Redwoods Magic"- Photo Art by Jongas



2. Yosemite National Park:

  • Location: Sierra Nevada Mountains
  • Famous For: Iconic granite cliffs, waterfalls, giant sequoia trees, Half Dome, El Capitan, Cathedral Peak, Tuolumne meadows, Glacier point.
  • Activities: Rock climbing, hiking, camping, photography, wildlife viewing (bears, deer), mountain photography, wedding photography, stargazing.

Yosemite is a crown jewel of the National Park System. From the towering granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome to the cascading waterfalls like Yosemite Falls, the park offers breathtaking scenery. Visitors can hike through giant sequoia groves, photograph stunning vistas, or try their hand at rock climbing. Be prepared for crowds, especially during peak season.


3. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks:

  • Location: Sierra Nevada Mountains
  • Famous For: Giant sequoia groves, including General Sherman Tree (largest tree by volume on Earth).
  • Activities: Hiking, camping, scenic drives, wildlife viewing (bears, deer).

These neighboring parks offer visitors the chance to marvel at the largest trees on Earth, the giant sequoias. The General Sherman Tree, the largest tree by volume in the world, resides within Sequoia National Park. Kings Canyon National Park boasts stunning granite peaks, glacial lakes, and deep canyons.

4. Joshua Tree National Park:

  • Location: Southern California Desert
  • Famous For: Otherworldly desert landscapes, Joshua trees, rock climbing, stargazing.
  • Activities: Hiking, rock climbing, camping, photography, stargazing.

Joshua Tree National Park is a land of stark beauty. Twisted Joshua trees dot the desert landscape, alongside fascinating geologic formations. The park is a haven for rock climbers, with its unique rock formations providing challenging climbs for all skill levels. At night, the skies come alive with stars, making Joshua Tree a prime destination for stargazers.


5. Death Valley National Park:

  • Location: Eastern California Desert
  • Famous For: The lowest point in North America (Badwater Basin), extreme temperatures, desert landscapes, Ubehebe Crater, Mesquite Dunes, Zabriskie Point, Artist Drive, Charcoal Kilns, etc
  • Activities: Hiking, scenic drives, exploring salt flats, stargazing.

Death Valley National Park is a land of extremes. It holds the title of the hottest, driest, and lowest point in North America (Badwater Basin). Despite the harsh conditions, the park offers a unique beauty. Visitors can hike through colorful canyons, explore vast salt flats, and witness breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. Be sure to plan your trip carefully, as summer temperatures can be dangerous.

6. Lassen Volcanic National Park:

  • Location: Northern California Cascades
  • **Fumaroles, volcanic landscapes, Lassen Peak (active volcano), Bat Caves, Cinder Cone with lava fields
  • Activities: Hiking, camping, geothermal features viewing, wildlife viewing (bears, deer).

Lassen Volcanic National Park is a wonderland of volcanic activity. Lassen Peak, the only active volcano in the Cascade Range south of Mount Rainier, dominates the landscape. Fumaroles and boiling mudpots offer a glimpse into the Earth's fiery interior. Hikers can explore a variety of trails, with options for all skill levels.

7. Channel Islands National Park:

  • Location: Off the coast of Southern California
  • Famous For: Five remote islands with unique ecosystems, marine life, whale watching.
  • Activities: Kayaking, camping, hiking, wildlife viewing (whales, dolphins, seals), snorkeling, scuba diving.

Channel Islands National Park encompasses five remote islands off the coast of Southern California. Each island has its own unique ecosystem, with diverse plant and animal life. Visitors can kayak through kelp forests, camp on the beach, hike scenic trails, and encounter a variety of marine life, including whales, dolphins, and seals. The islands are only accessible by boat or plane.

8. Pinnacles National Park:

  • Location: Central California Coast Ranges
  • Famous For: Dramatic rock spires, caves, waterfalls.
  • Activities: Hiking, rock climbing, spelunking, camping.

Pinnacles National Park offers a unique combination of towering rock spires, caves, and waterfalls. Hikers can explore a variety of trails, including some that take them through tunnels and caves.

9. Point Reyes Seashore National Park 

  • Location: Northern California Coast (one hour drive from San Francisco)
  • Famous For: Point Reyes Lighthouse, Cypress Tree Hedge, home of Tule Elk, Semi rugged Coastline
  • Activities: Hiking, elk watching, bird watching, landscape photography, tree photography

point reyes seashore

"End Of The World" - Landscape Wall Art By Jongas



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Meet The Artist

Hello, I'm Eddie Jongas, travel and photography is my passion. After moving to Los Angeles years ago, I was mesmerized by the beauty of the entire West Coast and have dedicated my current life to capturing its beauty with my camera.

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Top-quality nature photography art, as well as fine art photography prints for sale. All wall art offered on this site is made from the highest quality printing materials such as TruLife Acrylic, Lumachrome acrylic, Dye sublimation metal prints, or canvas pro printing surface. These prints will transform and add to the beauty of your home interior or transform your space as office artwork. For most luxury product experience, our prints are offered with Italian Roma Frame molding.

Visit in person at: Jongas Photography Wall Art Gallery 3339 Kimber dr. STE E, Newbury Park, CA 91320 805-586-0626 (Google Maps Directions)

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