15 Best State Parks in California [Update 2024]

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California is one of the best states in the US, featuring excellent entertainment facilities and luxurious recreational arrangements. Home of some of the world’s most iconic landmarks and amazing relaxation amenities, California is one of America’s best getaway holiday destinations.

One of the centers of California’s recreational and relaxation arrangements are its state parks. These state parks have amazing mountains, riverside activities and excellent campsites.

Some common features offered by these state parks include camping, hiking, fishing, swimming, RV hookups and beach activities. The best state parks in California are listed below.

1. Redwood National and State Parks

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Redwood National and State Parks

Renowned for its tall trees, Redwood National and State Parks are one of the best camping spaces in the US. Along with the amazing trees, Redwood also offers riverside camping spots, oak woodlands and a coastline that stretches 40 miles.

Redwood National and State Parks inspires its visitors and provides them with an unforgettable experience centered around nature.

2. Sonoma Coast State Park

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Sonoma Coast is one of the best state parks in California

Sonoma Coast State Park is one of the most popular state parks in California. Located near the Pacific Ocean in Sonoma County, this state park offers its visitors access to the beach.

Moreover, the coastal areas around Sonoma Coast State Park provide 17 miles of long trail with awe-inspiring views. Other wonderful features offered by this park include parking lots, day-use areas and camping facilities.

3. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

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Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Located in Crescent City, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park features beautiful trails that stretch 20 miles. Furthermore, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park offers numerous campgrounds and cabins, which make this state park a perfect destination for camping.

Some of the best features of Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park include picnic spots, fishing, hiking, RV access, boating and many more.

You might also like to visit these national parks in California.

4. Mt San Jacinto State Park

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Mt San Jacinto State Park, a high altitude state park, has a very short growing season. Located in Riverside County, Mt San Jacinto State Park is situated near Mount San Jacinto and provides access to the mountain via trams.

Some noteworthy features of this amazing state park are historical sites, picnic spots, hiking, horseback riding and RV hookups/access.

5. Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

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Located in Felton, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is one of the most renowned state parks in California. Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is nestled in a forest area that offers several trails used by visitors for hiking or horseback riding.

Furthermore, day-use facilities in this park include picnic spots, exhibits, fishing, vista point, museums and guided tours.

6. Calaveras Big Trees State Park

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Preserving multiple groves of massive sequoia trees, Calaveras Big Trees State Park is famed for its tall trees. Located in Arnold, Calaveras Big Trees State Park is one of the unique parks in the state of California.

The day-use facilities in the park include beach-access, guided tours, family programs, wildlife viewing, interpretive exhibits and many more.

Moreover, other common features of Calaveras Big Trees State Park are RV Access, hiking, campsites, showers and trails.

Love camping in your own RV? Check out these RV parks in California.

7. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

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Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is one of the best state parks in California, located on California’s Pacific Coast. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is renowned for McWay Falls, which falls on a clip over the Pacific Ocean.

Furthermore, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park offers parking, picnic spots, exhibits, hiking, campsites and wildlife viewing.

8. Hearst San Simeon State Park

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Located in Cambria, Hearst San Simeon State Park is renowned for its rocky coastal areas and rare habitats. Hearst San Simeon State Park has a staggering area of 3,409 acres, making it one of the biggest state parks in California.

Hearst San Simeon State Park consists of beautiful hiking trails and fantastic water bodies for boating and swimming. Additionally, this park also offers RV access, campsites, picnic spots, fishing and wildlife viewing facilities.

9. Limekiln State Park

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Limekiln State Park, well-known for its lime kiln, consists of four lime kilns from the 1880s lime-calcining operation. Located in Big Sur, Limekiln State Park is one of the best state parks in California.

Limekiln State Park has beach-access, 100-foot Limekiln Falls and beautiful hiking trials. Other features of Limekiln State Park include picnic spots, fishing, RV access and showers.

10. Garrapata State Park

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Featuring a 50-foot mountain climb to enjoy the seeing of the Pacific, Garrapata State Park is located near the coastal areas of California.

Moreover, Garrapata State Park comprises 2 miles of beachfront and provides visitors with coastal hiking facilities. Other features of this state park include fishing, guided tours, scuba diving, windsurfing and wildlife viewing.

11. Año Nuevo State Park

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Located in Pescadero, Año Nuevo State Park comprises the Año Nuevo State Point and Año Nuevo State Island. These areas of Año Nuevo State Park are renowned for their pinniped rookeries.

Furthermore, Año Nuevo State Park has a wide range of natural resources that includes wildlife, which attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Every year, around 10,000 elephant seals visit to breed and give birth to the nearby beaches. Año Nuevo State Park also hosts a Marine Education Center.

12. Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

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Featuring over 100 miles of trails, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is a perfect gateway destination for hikers and bikers. Situated in the Cuyamaca and Laguna Mountains, one of its family camps called the “Green Valley” sits at an elevation of 4,000 feet.

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park comprises an area of 24,693 acres, making it one of the largest state parks in California. The Green Valley has 81 campsites in total.

13. Fort Ord Dunes State Park

Located in Marina, California, Fort Ord Dunes State Park consists of 4 miles of sensational coastline. Additionally, one of the trails at Fort Ord Dunes State Park leads to awe-inspiring views of Monterey Bay.

Fort Ord Dunes State Park offers features like boating, hiking, fishing, exhibits, cultural sites, windsurfing and beach-access.

14. Palomar Mountain State Park

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Palomar Mountain State Park, an 1862-acre state park nestled in the forest area, is one of the prime camping destinations in California.

A high-altitude park where an elevation reaches up to 5,000 feet, Palomar Mountain State Park provides cold evenings all throughout the year. Some noteworthy features of this park include RV access, picnic areas, fishing, interpretive exhibits and parking.

15. Salt Point State Park

This 6,000-acre state park located in Jenner, is one of the best camping destinations in Sonoma County. Moreover, Salt Point State Park has 20 miles of trails that are perfect for hiking, bike riding and en-route camping.

Furthermore, Salt Point State Park provides cultural sites, beach-access, parking and restrooms. Some of the most popular activities at Salt Point State Park are scuba diving, windsurfing, boating and hiking.

These state parks are some of the best public holiday destinations in California. They represent a place to spend time with your family and friends while enjoying fun outdoor activities.

These parks won’t offer a luxurious holiday vacation like Disneyland or Paris, but they can offer people an opportunity to spend some quality time in nature with their loved ones. The simple yet meaningful nature of these parks makes them so valuable.

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