TOP 10 NATIONAL PARKS AND MONUMENTS IN CALIFORNIA
With a huge array of ecosystems California has one of the most diverse range on the biome spectrum. Because of this, it is tied for the most National Parks in America (Alaska also has 8). Let’s highlight those amazing parks and others with this list of great natural locations in Cali.
 
10.
DEVILS POSTPILE NATIONAL MONUMENT

Lava does funny things when it cools and Devils Postpile is a great example of that. Similar to the Giant’s Causeway of Ireland, but much closer, this national monument is located on the east side of Yosemite and is worth the added visit. It’s a short hike to the Postpile base but you’ll want to take an extra 30-minutes of hiking to get to the top of it where you’ll be treated to a great view and a closer look at the unique geometrical rocks.

9.
LASSEN VOLCANIC NATIONAL PARK

With hundreds of miles of trails, you’ll want to be ready for some great hiking when you visit Lassen Volcanic National Park. The hike to the top of Lassen Peak is only 5-miles roundtrip, so be sure to include that during your visit. The volcanic activity at this park will give you a feeling of Yellowstone, without the crowds, by supplying plenty of vibrant colors.

8.
PINNACLES NATIONAL PARK

Located near Sequoia and Yosemite, and often overlook because of that, is the newest addition to California’s list of national parks: Pinnacles. Pinnacles National Park only sees 150,000 visitors per year which is peanuts compared to Yosemite’s 4-million, which means you can explore the park in relative seclusion. Check out the many caves, the treacherous hiking trails, and the scenery.

7.
CHANNEL ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK

Off the coast of Los Angeles are the surprisingly secluded Channel Islands which, along with a mile radius of surrounding ocean, make up the national park. The five islands have a number of activities that you can partake in such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, whale watching, and a variety of other things to do. The biggest challenge, however, is getting there. It will take you an hour by boat to get to the closest island, and 4-hours to get to the farthest island so plan accordingly.

6.
CALIFORNIA COASTAL NATIONAL MONUMENT

If you’re driving the Pacific Coast Highway you will inevitably find yourself in and around the California Coastal National Monument and you’ll be thankful for it. This iconic drive is filled with breathtaking nature scenes and the government noticed that as well, declaring the area a national monument. With 20,000 islands along the coast you’ll be sure to have several opportunities for a beautiful photo along your drive.

5.
JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

Perhaps the most beautiful national park you’ll ever find, at midnight. Thanks to low humidity and minimal precipitation clouds are a rarity in the park which means the stars are absolutely stunning each night. With that said, you’ll be thankful when the sun comes up, shining the unique rock formations throughout the park. But even more unique are the national park’s namesake: the Joshua trees. A cactus-like yucca that grows in the park provide you with interesting photos.

4.
REDWOODS NATIONAL PARK

Walking through Redwoods National Park is akin to living in a Tolkien or C.S. Lewis novel. These humungous trees tower over their surroundings, including you, which is a superbly humbling experience. Give yourself a break from driving and take time to stare in awe at these gigantic plants.

3.
SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS

While technically two different national parks, Sequoia and Kings Canyon share a border and an entrance fee, so we’ll combine them here. There is little to describe the feeling you’ll have when walking among the enormous sequoia trees that claim this forest region, including the world’s largest (by volume) tree in the world: General Sherman. The hike to the General is short and a must do, in spite of the potential crowds, because, well, it’s the biggest tree in the world! Bring a picnic and hiking boots to take full advantage of this one-of-a-kind (two?) national park.

2.
DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK

Back in 1913 Death Valley measured its hottest day ever on July 10th; it was 134°F. Coincidentally the coldest temperature ever recorded there was only six months earlier at 15°F. And while the dramatic extreme weather of the national park is definitely notable, few people truly understand the beauty of Death Valley. Your easiest path is through Las Vegas where you’ll have to drive 150 miles northwest through the town of Pahrump (it’s just fun to say, no other reason to include that detail). The descension into the valley is a car brake’s nightmare and you’ll be challenged to keep your eyes on the road as fascinating rock formations begin to surround you. Pull over and take it all in.

1.
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

Possibly the greatest president in American history made a huge imprint for California’s natural beauties, no not in the way he is seen in South Dakota, Abraham Lincoln declared Yosemite as protected land so long as “the premises shall be held for public use, resort and recreation.” As the world’s first national park, Yosemite has a lot to prove, and it sure does! The valley is home to mesmerizing cliffs and jaw-dropping waterfalls that another president, named Teddy, described as “a great solemn cathedral, far vaster and more beautiful than any built by the hand of man.” Heed our president’s recommendations and visit this cathedral yourself.

VEBO NATIONAL PARKS AND MONUMENTS EXPERIENCES IN CALIFORNIA