As a California native, I love that I have ample opportunities to explore the outdoors in the many national parks that call the Golden State home. Plus, the weather is starting to get warmer, and the days are longer, making it a perfect time to take a California road trip and kick up some dirt.
Nothing says a road trip better than a picnic, so make sure you pack your Sea & Grass picnic tote.
If you haven't fallen in love with California yet, you will when you visit these national parks.
Alcatraz Island National Park
Past residents wanted to escape from Alcatraz, but now that it's a national park, you can explore and know that you're going home afterward. Alcatraz Island National Park is a quick boat ride from San Francisco and home to one of the most notorious prisons— Alcatraz.
Once home to notorious prisoners, such as Al Capone, it offers an unparalleled glimpse into prison life and a spectacular San Francisco view. If you plan on visiting, it's essential to book your ticket ahead of time because seats fill up weeks in advance.
Yosemite National Park
If you're a national park junkie, then a trip to Yosemite National Park is a must. It has epic trails, mighty peaks, and spectacular wildlife. You also have different choices for accommodations, from roughing it campsite or taking it easy at Wawona Hotel or one of the other hospitality choices at the park.
Yosemite National Park is a must-have experience, but it can become quite crowded in the summer, and campsites fill up fast. Book your site as soon as you can.
Cabrillo National Monument
Most people head to San Diego to surf or sunbathe at the many beaches. Still, a hidden delight is Cabrillo National Monument. It overlooks the Pacific Ocean with spectacular views.
You can visit tide pools, tour the lighthouse, and learn about Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. Taking a trip to Cabrillo National Monument is as much about getting outside as it is learning about California history.
Channel Islands National Park
The Channel Islands are five islands off the coast from Ventura and Santa Barbara, California. The only way to reach the island is by boat, and once you do, you'll be glad you made an effort.
Visitors can camp year around and explore the many trails that crisscross the islands. But don't think that it's all walking at the Channel Islands. You can explore the tide pools, snorkel with the fishes, or spend some time with the family. The options are endless.
John Muir National Park
John Muir National Park is in Martinez, California, and once home to the "father" of national parks— John Muir. You can explore his family home and walk the same trails he did with his daughters.
Exploring this national park helps you appreciate John Muir's long effort to create and protect many other national parks in California, such as Yosemite and Sequoia National Park.
Sequoia National Park
If you've ever wanted to hug a giant tree, then Sequoia National Park is the place for you. The giant sequoias are the largest trees globally, and being in their presence makes you feel humble.
Gazing at trees, hiking, and picnicking are just some of the adventures you can have at this awe-inspiring park.
Redwood National Park
But don't think that Sequoia National Park is the only place with huge trees because its direct competition is Redwood National Park. You can drive through a tree bigger than your car, hike through the forest wet with lush moss while cleansing your soul.
One of the best parts is Redwood National Park is close to the ocean, so after you get lost in its web, you break through the park to find yourself at towering cliffs and crashing waves. Stop and have a picnic, and don't forget to pack your Sea & Grass handwoven picnic tote.
Joshua Tree National Park
If you haven't seen a twisty Joshua tree, head to Joshua Tree National Park and get ready to become amazed. Located in the Mojave Desert, this park is unlike anything you've seen before. It's famous for backpacking, birding, and biking. But make sure you plan your trip ahead of time because it can get hot in the summer.
But the list of must-see California National Parks is more than those above. For a full list, check out the complete list of national parks. In the meantime, start packing your bag because your next adventure is around the corner.