The Best Vacation Spots in California

The Best Vacation Spots in California
California is a playground for outdoor lovers. National parks such as Sequoia, Yosemite and Death Valley rightfully draw thousands of visitors year-round. Southern California beaches are also a rite of passage for visitors, with Malibu, Mission and Pismo Beach reigning as favorites. Whether you decide to head north, south or in between, California is stacked with points of interest.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Visit Big Basin Redwoods State Park and know what is to be small. Located along the coast in the Santa Cruz mountains south of San Francisco, this park is famous specifically for its enormous stand of ancient redwood trees. There is nothing quite like standing beside a trunk wide enough to drive a car through that towers over you at 200 feet. Additionally, the park is home to many other habitats, including chaparral, conifer and oak, while animals such as raccoon, fox, coyote, bobcat, deer, California Quail, heron, hawk, egret, owl and the endangered marbled murrelet live within the park boundaries. The park terrain varies from foggy coastal to sunny ridgetops and is well suited for campers and backpackers.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park
21600 Big Basin Way #406
Boulder Creek, CA 95006
(831) 338-8860

Joshua National Park

Escape from the noise of Southern California and head inland to explore Joshua Tree National Park. Within three hours of Los Angeles and San Diego, this other- worldly, desert park welcomes visitors with nature and hiking trails, ranger-led educational hikes and walking tours, mountain biking, rock climbing, geology tours, birding and horseback riding. Though many visitors come to the park for a day, do yourself a favor and spend at least one night. In addition to seeing more of the park, views of the night sky are oozing with stars. Camping and back country hiking is encouraged, and should your visit coincide with the arrival of spring, you may be able to see cactus flowers that only bloom once or twice a year.

Joshua Tree National Park
77485 National Monument Dr. 29
San Bernardino, CA 92401
(909) 383-5652

Lava Beds National Monument

Often overlooked, Lava Beds National Monument is an ideal place for those looking to combine an educational trip with scenic surroundings. Located in northern California and close to the Oregon border, this monument is one of the few parks in the state where visitors are assured of relative isolation. A geological wonderland of extensive lava tunnels and volcanic features, the lava beds were the historic burial grounds of the Modoc Indians. During the 1870s, the Modoc were forcibly removed from their spiritual homeland, but not before engaging in a fierce guerrilla campaign. When not observing the battle sites that are preserved in the area, visitors can explore the extensive lava caves, hike along numerous monument trails, view Modoc pictographs and study the area flora and fauna.

Lava Beds National Monument
Indian Well Headquarters
Tulelake, CA 96134
(530) 667-8100

Article Written By Mike Biscoe

Mike Biscoe has been writing since 2009. Focusing on travel, sports and entertainment topics, he has credits in various online publications including LIVESTRONG.COM and Trails. He often writes articles covering uncommon travel destinations from firsthand experience. Biscoe holds a Certificate of Completion in acting from the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts.

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