8 Californian Parks to go with your RV
Posted on Mar 27, 2019
California is home to an incredible range of attractions. There are urban centers – San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego to name only three. There are vaunted areas like the Napa Valley and the coastline around Carmel. However, did you know that California is also home to nine national parks? And that’s not counting the number of national monuments, state parks, and other attractions on offer. It’s a great state to live in or visit with your RV, that’s for sure. Of course, you’ll need to know how to plan your trip. Which of those national parks are most worth your time? What should you know about each?
Yosemite National Park
We’ll begin with what is probably the most popular national park in the state of California – Yosemite. From Bridal Veil Falls to Half Dome to the thousands of miles of hiking trails and wilderness areas, Yosemite is an incredible place and one that you absolutely must experience in person. When it comes to visiting, try to avoid peak tourist season, though. The lines to get into the park can be hours long in and of themselves. Instead, visit in spring or fall, rather than summer. There are even things to do during the winter.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
For this one, we move far north in the state. This entry actually combines two different parks, but they operate as a single entity. In fact, one gate admission gets you access to both of them. Why head up north to this area? The giant sequoias are definitely a compelling reason – they’re the largest trees on the planet. In fact, they are so large that seeing really is believing. Head over to Kings Canyon National Park and you’ll find General Grant (the tree), as well as beautiful hiking along the Kings River.
Channel Islands National Park
Head south from Kings Canyon toward Santa Barbara, and then out into the Pacific and you’ll find a string of islands floating in the azure waters. These are the Channel Islands, and they form most of the Channel Islands National Park. Here, you’ll find unique plants and animals found nowhere else on earth. In fact, there are 150 different species only found here. There are lots to see and do in this park, but watching seals and sea lions are one of the most common pastimes.
Redwood National Park
For this one, we head back north, all the way to the Oregon border. Redwood National Park is another park that is focused all around the flora. In this case, it’s the giant redwood trees. While the sequoias are the largest trees in the world, the redwoods are the tallest living things on the planet. Again, they must be seen to truly be believed. Take time to hike through the ancient forest and explore the rivers and coastline.
Death Valley National Park
From one extreme to the other, we move from lush, verdant forest to barren desert. Death Valley is the lowest spot in the continental US. It is also the hottest and driest spot in North America. Attractions here include sand formations, moving rocks, and the sight of snow-capped mountains in the distance as heat shimmers off the valley floor. Dress appropriately and limit your sun exposure.
Pinnacles National Park
The national park responsible for moving California’s total from eight to nine, Pinnacles is one of the newest parks in the country. Featuring craggy, volcanic rock formations, rock climbing is one of the most popular activities here. However, the altitude, combined with the drop in nighttime temperatures, makes it a great place for stargazing while you camp, as well. There are also caves that can be explored if you’re into spelunking.
Joshua Tree National Park
If desert vistas are your thing, then make time to visit Joshua Tree National Park. Here, you’ll find that oldest trees on the planet, as well as some of the most rugged landscapes in North America. Interestingly, live music performances are quite popular at the park, so make time to check out the schedule of events.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Another destination worth visiting here is Lassen Volcanic National Park. Less famous than many of the other parks in the state, it is no less beautiful. It even offers a mini-preview of Yellowstone thanks to the hot springs and mud pools that dot the rugged landscape.
Whether you want to go for a day or a month, RVing through California’s national parks is an amazing experience that should not be missed.