RV Travel with Kids

California National Parks

and California State Parks

This California national parks and California state parks guide should help your family decide on your next road trip plans. Experience the best the Golden State has to offer!

When people think of California, they are quick to think of Hollywood and all that glitters. But California state parks and California national parks offer plenty of recreation and educational opportunities to learn more about this western state.

California National Parks

Which Way USA Club
Joshua Tree National Park is a desert getaway with an amazing landscape.

Though the desert weather can be unpredictable at times, this park is still a wonderful place to explore the region's geology, while getting a closer look at the plants and animals in the area.

Don't miss the Keys Ranch guided tour to learn more about early ranch life in California.

Joshua Tree National Park

Though it may have the most morbid name among all California national parks, Death Valley National Park is alive with plant and animal life. In addition, this region has also housed the Shoshone tribes for many years. Your kids will particularly enjoy the underground tours of Scotty's Castle, a former vacation home during the 1920s and 30s.

Death Valley National Park

Fort Point National Historic Site was once a Civil War fort used to protect the area from a Confederate ambush. Today, the area provides a wonderful place to view the San Francisco harbor and Golden Gate Bridge. If you plan in advance, you can arrange for a free guided tour of the site.

Fort Point National Historic Site

Lava Beds National Monument marks another unique spot among California National Parks. This park features hundreds of caves that have been affected by volcanic activity in the area. This park also features Native American exhibits, battlefields, and more. To get the most out of all the sites in this park, it's a good idea to join in on guided tours.

Lava Beds National Monument

california-national-parks-01; Picture of Redwood National Park Redwood Park is another interesting choice for California National Parks.

This park is home to a vast redwood forest and in the various species of wildlife that make the forests their home.

Because there's so much to see here, this park offers four different campgrounds for overnight visitors.

Kids won't want to miss participating in this park's Junior Ranger program.

Redwood National Park

The Rosie the Riveter National Historic Park in Richmond, California, is a site that commemorates the work done and sacrifices made from the home front during World War II. To get the most out of this location, take the self-guided audio walking tour.

Rosie the Riveter National Historic Park

Another military themed location among California national parks is the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park. This park is home to a variety of historic ships that were once a part of the maritime history of this coast. This park is a must see for any boating enthusiasts in your family. Add this park to your family road trip plans.

San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are a great place to view mountains in a park setting. Everything about this park is big, from the mountains, to the trees, and the caverns and canyons in between. For an additional treat, take your family exploring in the underground caves.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area offers breathtaking views of the hills and cliffs in this area.

california-national-parks-02; Picture of Yosemite National Park This park is an experience every mountain lover should experience.

Because the area has been home to Native Americans for many years, this park is full of history about these early settlers.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

Yosemite is one of the most recognized names among California national Parks.

This vast preserve covers over 1,000 square miles, and features wilderness, meadows, plant life, and more.

Visitors have a choice of many activities here, including, backpacking, rock climbing, water sports, horseback riding, and more.


California State Parks

Our first stop in our list of California state parks is the Point Cabrillo Light Station.

This park was once home to an active lighthouse.

Today, visitors can tour the lighthouse (including the lantern room), as well as the homes where the light keepers once lived, in addition to other buildings that were once a part of this complex.

Point Cabrillo Light Station

The Sonoma Historic Park consists of historical buildings in the city of Sonoma. These buildings include a Franciscan mission, an inn, a hotel, and a private home and servant's quarters. To learn more about this site, join in on the docent guided tours of the structures.

Sonoma Historic Park

Angel Island State Park is a small island in the San Francisco Bay. From here, visitors can experience picturesque views of downtown San Francisco and nearby mountain ranges. Years ago, this park was a hunting grounds for area Indians. Later, it was used as a cattle ranch, and later, a post for the United States Army. Today, experience this area to the fullest by taking the Angel Island Tiburon Ferry.

Angel Island State Park

Pigeon Point Light Stations is another of the California state parks that is devoted to the history of a lighthouse. This lighthouse was originally constructed in 1871, but is still used by the Coast Guard today. Visitors can explore this park by taking guided history walks on the grounds.

Pigeon Point Light Stations

Hearst San Simeon is a historic monument that is home to the Hearst Castle, a historic mansion that is composed of 115 rooms. The home took 30 years to construct, and is one of the most popular museum homes in the country. In addition to tours of the castle, visitors can enjoy fishing, hiking, boating, and other recreational activities.

Hearst San Simeon

If you're looking for California state parks where you can relax in the water, visit Grover Hot Springs State Park. The centerpiece attraction of this park is a complex of pools that are fed by natural hot springs in the area. Add this park to your family road trip plans.

Grover Hot Springs State Park

Chumash Painted Cave Historic Park is a park that preserves historic cave paintings done by Native American settlers who lived in the area as early as the 1600s. Before visiting, call ahead to make sure the cave is currently open to visitors.

Chumash Painted Cave Historic Park

Montara State Beach is a California state parks destination for those who love the ocean. This park features a beach where visitors can swim and fish. Another attraction in this park is the McNee Ranch, where visitors can hike, ride horses, climb mountain trails, and more.

Montara State Beach

Point Sur is yet another California state parks destination that pays homage to lighthouses. Back in the days before our current navigation technology, lighthouses were an essential method of keeping ships and sailors safe form rocky shores. This park offers tours of the lighthouse, as well as other historic buildings in the lighthouse complex.

Point Sur

The Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach has been a favorite location for beach relaxation since the late 1800s. In addition, this park also offers the Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary and the Crab Cove Visitor Center. Add this park to your family road trip plans.

Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach
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Related Pages

  • Fun Facts About California
  • Top 10 California Tourist Attractions
  • Share Your California Tourist Attraction Recommendations
  • State and National Parks in California
  • Treasure Hunting in California
  • California Travel Books
  • California Campground Reviews
  • California as an RV Domicile

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