The State Parks Of Southern California

Some of the best recreational opportunities that can be had in the United States can be had at the various state parks scattered around the country, and this is true in Southern California too. When people usually think of Southern California vacations, they think of amusement parks, trendy shopping areas, and time spent on the beach. A great time can be had at the various state parks of Southern California too, and one of the first advantages a traveler will notice is that there is usually less of a crowd around them. For anyone looking for a good time filled with plenty of things to do for the entire family, whether they are from Southern California or not, they should look towards the state parks of the area.

Some of the Southern California state parks that should not be missed:

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

The largest state park in California is Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. It is unique in that it can not only be explored by the miles of hiking trails there, but there are also over 500 miles of dirt roads that can be traveled. In terms of vegetation, depending on the time of year, visitors will find wildflowers, cactus, and palm groves. Among the many wildlife sighting possibilities in the park are the elusive desert bighorn sheep.

Bolsa Chica State Beach

On the shores of the beautiful Pacific Ocean, the Bolsa Chica State Beach is a great place for the family to visit. It is located right in the Huntington Beach area and is connected to the surrounding beaches and communities by a vast network of bike trails. Most area bird watchers consider Bolsa Chica State Beach a must see place in Southern California.

Castaic Lake State Recreation Area

Home to one of the state of California’s largest recreational waterways, Castaic Lake, the Castaic Lake State Recreation Area is well known to locals in the area as one of the top spots to head to for water based recreational opportunities. One of the unique parts of Castaic Lake is that it is actually made up of two separate bodies of water. The lower lake is reserved for non motorized boating related activities, while jet skiing, power boating, and sailing is both encouraged and welcome on the upper lake. There are also numerous hiking and biking trails in the recreation area for visitors to take advantage of.

Heber Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area

Anyone in Southern California who enjoys off road recreation knows all about Heber Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. The recreation area is setup perfectly for off road enthusiasts to take advantage of it. It has a great many different trails to explore as well as camping areas that come fully equipped with restrooms and showers. Viewing the desert landscape and the great many tamarisk trees is also enjoyable by those not wishing to take part in the off road vehicle activities.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

One of the more diverse state parks in all of California, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park features a wealth of beautiful scenery and things to do. Within the borders of the state park are giant redwood trees, waterfalls, granite cliffs and of course the gorgeous coastal areas. Whale watching can be done at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in December and January as many migrating whales pass by during that time on their way south, they can also be viewed in March and April when they make their return back north. The state park also includes an underwater area set aside for experienced scuba divers to explore. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is definitely one of the highlights of Southern California’s state parks.

Malibu Lagoon State Beach

At the spot where Malibu Creek meets the Pacific Ocean is Malibu Lagoon State Beach. Some of the best pier fishing in the area can be had at nearby Malibu Pier and there is great opportunities for picnics and other activities all across the area. Much can be learned about the local area from both the Malibu Lagoon Museum and the Adamson House which is located within the state park itself. There are even guided tours available for those wishing to learn more about the grunion, the wetlands, the tide pools, and the gray whale population that passes nearby.

Point Sur State Historic Park

The highlight of Point Sur State Historic Park is by far the Point Sur Lightstation which sits over 360 feet above the ocean atop a large volcanic rock. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Lightstation is the only fully completed Lightstation in California that is both open to the public and left over from the turn of the century era.

Saddleback Butte State Park

At over 3,600 feet in height, Saddleback Butte is the key attraction to Saddleback Butte State Park. The park offers a great deal of hiking opportunities, including trails that reach the summit of the granite mountaintop. The view from the top of Saddleback Butte offers some of the best scenery of both the Antelope Valley and the Mojave Desert. There are many active possibilities available at Saddleback Butte State Park including camping, horseback riding areas, and bird watching.

Will Rogers State Historic Park

When the widow of the famous Will Rogers passed away in the mid 1940s, the land he had accumulated in the Pacific Palisades area was donated to the state for use as a state park. Will Rogers State Historic Park appears largely today as it looked in Will Rogers’ time. There are tours available of the ranch house which is the very same ranch house that Will Rogers lived in when the property was his. There is a three mile loop trail to a location named Inspiration Point, as well as more advanced trails used for both hiking and mountain biking. The Will Rogers Polo Club is one of the key attractions to the park and they play almost every weekend from April to October. The park also offers riding lessons by appointment only.

While there are many many distractions and amusement opportunities in the Southern California area, some of the most overlooked ones are of the natural or historical variety. A great many of those are viewable by traveling to these and other state parks in the region. The state parks of Southern California hold within their boundaries some of the nicest attractions in the area. Experiencing them is a great idea for the traveler to Southern California and for those that are native to the area alike. The state parks of Southern California can truly be the highlight of any visit to the area and should not be missed.


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