Looking for a National Park you can drive to after work on a Friday and spend the weekend with your family or friends, all with getting back to the office by Monday morning? We’ve all heard of Yosemite and Joshua Tree but here are some other options that make for incredible weekend destinations – within driving distance of major Californian cities.
Pinnacles National Park
Set alongside Gabilan Range, the Pinnacles in the national park are believed to have been moved by the Pacific Plate along the San Andres Fault line. This location is a great weekend destination for families to go rock climbing, search for California Condors and other historic birds, check out Talus Caves, hike up to High Peaks, Bear Gulch Reservoir, see wildflowers and the historic ranch house. With clear night skies and friendly knowledgeable staff, there is an excellent campground, Pinnacles Recreation Co, to stay at for all the adventures. Learn about the campground amenities and reserve your site.
Channel Islands National Park
Channel Islands National Park is composed of 5 islands and is considered the Galapagos of North America! Top three islands to visit are Anacapa Island, Santa Cruz Island, and Santa Rosa Island. All three have great hiking trails, wildlife sightings, and on Santa Cruz Island there is sea cave kayaking. Another great spot to camp with clear night skies are these islands, so be sure to book your ferry and campsite well in advance.
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park are known for the giant sequoia tree. The General Sherman Tree is the largest tree in the Giant Forest area of Sequoia National Park. With the lowest elevation at 1,360 feet and highest at 14,494 feet, this range leads to 1,200 species of plants living within the parks. Additionally, there is a Crystal Cave that visitors can be guided through with friendly naturalist providing a history of the unique features and formations. There are several great campsites to explore within these parks.