These 19 State Parks In Northern California Will Knock Your Socks Off
Northern California is the go-to destination for state parks. Whether you’re hungry for a hike in the woods, kayaking along a lazy river, or fishing for a hungry camping posse, there’s more to whet your appetite in our part of the state than we can list. When it comes to state parks to visit in Northern California, there are so many that you might feel a bit overwhelmed with all of your options.
Waterfalls, dense redwood forests, white water rafting, and magical trails along the Pacific Ocean mean there’s no reason you should ever say you have nothing to do when you live out here. Take a peek at 19 of our favorite
state parks to visit in Northern California, but be nice! We purposely excluded a few of the bullies on the block like Yosemite and Point Reyes. We want you to open your eyes and expand your horizon.
1. Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park
Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park, McArthur, CA 96056, USA
2. San Juan Bautista State Historic Park
Not only can you get your fill of a gorgeous northern California state park, this one has its very own mission to peruse. FYI - The mission is situated adjacent to the
San Andreas Fault,
and has suffered damage from numerous earthquakes.
San Juan Bautista State Historic Park, 19 Franklin St, San Juan Bautista, CA 95045, USA
3. McArthur Burney Falls Memorial State Park
Five miles of streamside and lake shoreline, plus a portion of Lake Britton are what you'll see at this beautiful state park in northern California. But, the cherry on top would be the 129 ft.
It's not the highest or the largest waterfall, but it could be the most beautiful.
McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park, 24898 CA-89, Burney, CA 96013, USA
4. Portola Redwoods State Park
Santa Cruz doesn't only have beaches-- it has forests, too! Discover redwood trees in this breathtaking
state park in California
Portola Redwoods State Park, 9000 Portola State Park Rd, La Honda, CA 94020, USA
5. Sinkyone Wilderness State Park
Sinkyone Wilderness State Park, Whitethorn, CA 95589, USA
6. Clear Lake State Park
Fishing, boating, camping--it's all here in
This state park can get hot in the summer, so pick a spot with a little shade.
7. Angel Island State Park
Need we say more?
Angel Island State Park
might just be one of the best parks in California, just look at that view!
Angel Island, Tiburon, CA 94920, USA
8. Bodie Historical State Park
A state park AND a
rolled into one? Absolutely!
Bodie State Historic Park, CA-270, Bridgeport, CA 93517, USA
9. Mt. Tamalpais State Park
Scenic Marin County is where you'll find this lovely state park. The
Verna Dunshee Trail
is one of the most scenic hiking trails in California, and that's saying something!
Mount Tamalpais State Park, 3801 Panoramic Hwy, Mill Valley, CA 94941, USA
10. Emerald Bay State Park
was designated a National Natural Landmark for its brilliant panorama of mountain-building processes and glacier-carved granite. If you decide to camp here the summer temps reach a high of 75 during the day and a low of 40. Yeah, pretty perfect, right?
Emerald Bay State Park, 138 Emerald Bay Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA
11. Indian Grinding Rock
Part state park, part American Indian history lesson, marbleized limestone with some 1,185 mortar holes—the largest collection of bedrock mortars in North America...just one of the many reasons you should
visit this state park in California.
Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park, 14881 Pine Grove Volcano Rd, Pine Grove, CA 95665, USA
12. Ed Z'Berg Sugar Pine Point State Park
You might come for the sugar pine and dense fir forests, but the
brings you back in time to the lives of the incredibly wealthy who escaped to this part of Lake Tahoe for a little peace and tranquility.
Ed Z'berg Sugar Pine Point State Park, 7360 W Lake Blvd, Tahoma, CA 96142, USA
13. Donner Memorial State Park
It might be the spot where members of the ill-fated
were trapped by weather during the winter of 1846–1847 and ended in tragedy, but we think her majestic beauty erases her sad history.
Donner Memorial State Park, 12593 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 96161, USA
14. Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, 62 CA-1, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923, USA
15. The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park
In the area of Aptos and Capitola lies a
that turns a day hike into a magical adventure. Who wouldn't want to venture through the woods here?
The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, Aptos Creek Rd, Aptos, CA 95003, USA
16. Russian Gulch State Park
Russian Gulch State Park
definitely made the varsity team of state parks. Located along the Sonoma coastline, it boasts tidepools, forest trails, and waterfalls while also attracting anyone this side of the Mississippi who loves camping.
Russian Gulch State Park, California 95460, USA
17. South Yuba River State Park
Located along the south fork of the
this is a sweet spot of adventure. White water rafting is a thing here! Or if you're not up for an adventure, how about enjoying spring flowers on an easy hike?
South Yuba River State Park, 17660 Pleasant Valley Rd, Penn Valley, CA 95946, USA
18. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Situated nine miles east of Crescent City lies the
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park,
a redwood forest masterpiece. Named after explorer Jedediah Smith, it's one of four parks included in the Redwood National and State Parks. You can find the world's largest coast redwood here, which measures 20 feet in diameter and 340 feet tall.
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Crescent City, CA 95531, USA
19. Humboldt State Park
While we're on the topic of redwoods...you MUST add this state park to your bucket list. Located along the Eel River in northern California,
Humboldt Redwoods State Park
contains some of the world's most majestic ancient redwood groves. The park encompasses over 53,000 acres, including 17,000 acres of old-growth coast redwoods. With over 250 campsites and 100 miles of hiking trails, there's more to do here than your one summer vacation can hold.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park, 17119 Avenue of the Giants, Weott, CA 95571, USA
Did your favorite state park to visit in Northern California make the list? Once you’ve explored these state parks, h
ow about venturing off to some of the lesser-known state parks in Northern California ?
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The OIYS Visitor Center
state parks to visit in Northern California
July 28, 2022
What are the best outdoor adventures in northern California?
California isn’t called the Golden State for nothing! Sure, the nickname may have some Gold Rush roots, but it’s also because of the endless opportunities you can have here, and many of them are outdoors. When you’re looking for
, you have more options than you realize. From things to do outside in northern California to camping in a yurt and cave exploring , you’ll never run out of outdoor adventures in California. chasing waterfalls
What are the most picturesque hiking trails in northern California?
One of the best things about this state is how many beautiful hiking trails in California you can take. No matter your skill level or schedule, there’s a hiking trail in California with your name on it. If historic hiking is what you’re all about, there are plenty of
you'll enjoy, like the historic hikes in California For a secluded short and sweet hike with some stunning scenery, check out the Petroglyph Point Trail. in Mendocino. Montgomery Grove Trail
Which state parks should I visit in northern California?
Did you know there are 280
state parks in California? It’s one of the largest and most diverse state park systems in the country. In addition to the 19 state parks listed above, there are plenty of other state parks to visit in California, especially in northern California. is one of the best state parks in California to visit when you want to go swimming, the swimming hole located here is one of the most picturesque swimming holes in northern California. Auburn State Recreation Center