Did you know that from April 16-24 you can get into any National Park for free? This week is a celebration of our earth and the lands that our ancestors grew up on. To appreciate our earth, we need to view its natural beauty. There is no better way to do this than visiting a National Park that is untouched by civilization and man-made noises.
California offers many parks with beautiful grounds and natural territory. The closest to us in Orange is Joshua Tree National Park. Here you'll see boulders, rugged mountains, gold mining ruins, and desert plains dotted with the oddball trees. Joshua Tree, nicknamed “J-Tree” by locals, lies at an ecological crossroads, where the high Mojave Desert meets the low Colorado Desert. The result is amazing desert, including those wacky trees which are actually a type of yucca. Joshua Tree’s beauty shines around the clock, with colorful sunsets changing into nights filled with infinite stars.
Off the coast near Santa Barbara are the Channel Islands. Five islands off the Southern California coast make one of the most beautiful and magical national parks. Visitors can arrive by boat or small plane, then use hiking boots or kayaks to get around. The Channel Islands National Park has clear waters, unique plants and active wildlife, the “Galapagos of North America” has no lodgings, stores, or restaurants. This ocean sanctuary will let you escape the everyday bustle and really connect with your earthly surroundings.
The cultural history of Point Reyes dates back about 5,000 years to the Coast Miwok Indians who were the first human inhabitants of the Peninsula. Over 120 known village sites exist within the park. According to many experts, Sir Francis Drake landed here in 1579, the first European explorer to do so. In response to the many shipwrecks in the treacherous coastal waters, key lighthouse and lifesaving stations were established by the United States Government in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In the park, visitors can discover over 1000 species of plants and animals. Explore the coastline, bring a surfboard and catch a wave, or hike up into the mountainside to explore the United States past. Relax and enjoy the natural habitat that is in Point Reyes!
There is so much natural beauty surrounding us in Southern California. National Park Week gives us a great excuse to take a half day on Friday so we can explore some of these amazing places. Plan your trip fast and take advantage of your free pass into California's greatest parks. You can find more parks in California through the Find Your Park website.