This blog post was updated on August 11, 2021.
I am a fan of U.S. road trips as a cost-effective and relaxing way to spend my summer travel time.
Here are some of my top picks of “natural beauties” in California for you to check out when you’re on the road this summer. Check out part 1 of this post for more ideas.
Note: Many lodgings near these areas fill up quickly for the summer months, so I recommend planning your natural getaway in advance.
Of course, there are a variety of camping spots in Redwood and Yosemite for those looking for a more adventurous nature experience.
Redwood National Forest, California (Web):
For a truly unforgettable nature experience, head to the Redwood National Forest, which is made up of the Redwood National Park and Redwood State Park. The forest spans 37 miles of northern Californian coastline and is best known for its massive redwood trees. However, this diverse ecosystem has even more to offer nature-loving visitors: it is home to prairies, oak forests, and various threatened species including the Northern Spotted Owl, Brown Pelican, Tidewater Goby, Bald Eagle, Sea Lion, and the Chinook Salmon.
Yosemite National Park, California (Web): Where can you go to see waterfalls, lush valleys, flower-filled meadows and giant sequoia tress all in the same area? Yosemite National Park, of course! Located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of Central California, Yosemite National Park spans 1,170 square miles and ranges in altitude from 2,000 feet to over 13,000 feet above sea level.
Joshua Tree National Park, California (Web):
This desert park encompasses over 550,000 acres of wilderness is a favorite among California campers. One particularly lovely aspect of Joshua Tree is the variety and amount of flora. Wildflowers bloom in the lower elevations and near the park’s south boundary in February and at higher elevations throughout March and April. Areas above 5,000 feet have plants that begin blooming in early June.