5 Stunning California State Parks You Should Explore

From towering forests and majestic mountains to miles of desert and picturesque beaches, California’s state parks offer visitors a beautiful, diverse landscape to explore. The next time you are camping in California, be sure to check out a few of these stunning state parks.

1. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (Borrego Springs)

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Anza-Borrego is the largest state park in California, and this awesome desert landscape boasts 12 wilderness areas, 500 miles of dirt roads, and tons of hiking trails. Visitors come to view the breathtaking vistas, the vast array of wildflowers and other interesting flora and fauna, and the gorgeous mountains that surround the desert valley. Wildlife is also a big draw here and there’s a good chance you will see roadrunners, bighorn sheep, golden eagles, mule deer, kit foxes, and iguanas.

2. Angel Island State Park (San Francisco)

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If you’re longing for some great outdoor recreation near the city, Angel Island is the place to be. This park offers hiking and mountain biking trails as well as stunning views of the Bay Area. If you’re into history, you’ll enjoy learning about the early Native Tribes and Spanish explorers that inhabited the island and it’s darker past as an Immigration Station during World War ll.

3. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (Big Sur)

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Named for a well-known and respected pioneer woman, Julia Pfeiffer, this state park is located along the jaw dropping Big Sur coastline. The most popular feature here is likely the 80-foot waterfall that plunges into the ocean from towering granite cliffs. December and January are excellent times to visit Julie Pfeiffer if you want to do some whale watching and this area is loved for its scuba diving.

4. Big Basin Redwoods State Park (Boulder Creek)

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Big Basin is the oldest state park in California. Established in 1902, people have been visiting this beauty for more than 100 years because of its the beautiful redwoods. Some of the trees here are more than 50 feet around and reach the same massive height as the Statue of Liberty. The verdant landscape surrounding these ancient giants boasts hidden waterfalls, wildflowers, and canyons. Big Basin’s enchanting forest is often foggy which only enhances the magical feeling you get walking amongst these massive trees.

5. Red Rock Canyon State Park (Cantil)

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Red Rock Canyon can be found where the Sierra Nevada meets the El Paso Range in Southern California. The vibrant red rock and unique rock formations make this park a must-see. Wet winters bring lovely flowers to the park and the colorful canyons and vast desert landscape are amazing to explore by foot, horse, or OHV. The park has an extensive history and today there are a number of different paleontology sites and historic mines located within Red Rock’s boundaries.


Regardless of whether one of these California state parks jumped out at you or you’re ready to plan a road trip to all 5 of these stunning areas, Camp Native is the perfect place to discover your next campground. Search thousands of campgrounds nationwide, including primitive tent sites, spacious RV sites, and cabins, and find amazing campsites near your favorite destinations. Best of all, you can book your next California campground online!

Jessica Goehring title: Administrator
Jessica is a freelance writer. She resides in Minnesota with her husband, daughter dog, and 4 cats. In her free time she enjoys reading, traveling, and hiking.