The toughest part about living in Southern California is deciding what place of beauty to see next. If you’re at a loss for which natural wonders should be tops on your list then take a look at these 10 spots in SoCal that will make you appreciate every inch of this magnificent place we call home.
1. Mt. San Jacinto State Park via Palm Springs Aerial Tramway -- 1 Tram Way, Palm Springs.
To experience the natural beauty of Mt. San Jacinto State Park without hiking, just hop on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway for a breathtaking view of SoCal's most spectacular wilderness.
2. Joshua Tree National Park -- 74485 National Park Drive, Twentynine Palms.
Although hiking trails abound throughout Joshua Tree National Park, you can also experience its grandeur just by driving through this magnificent park and taking in the scenery all around you. With close to 800,000 acres of land to explore you'll never grow tired of the scenic beauty this natural setting has to offer.
3. Sunset Cliffs Natural Park -- 1253 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, San Diego.
You'll experience mesmerizing cliffside views at this natural park in San Diego that looks out over the ocean. With plenty of parking right on the street, just pull up your car and take in the surroundings of this natural gem featuring one of the most spectacular settings in SoCal.
4. Vasquez Rocks Natural Area -- 10700 West Escondido Canyon Road, Agua Dulce.
These rock formations date back to over 25 million years ago and they are a spectacular sight to see. Although you can do some hiking and rock climbing inside this natural area, you can also enjoy the view of these stunning boulders by only taking a short stroll from the parking lot.
5. Trona Pinnacles -- State Route 178 in Trona, CA.
Located in San Bernardino County, the Trona Pinnacles is a unique geological wonder that will make you think you've been transported to another planet. This National Natural Landmark can easily be viewed with only a short walk from the parking area.
6. Racetrack Playa -- Death Valley National Park
The "Sailing Stones" at Racetrack Playa is a geological natural wonder located on a dry lake in Death Valley that is one of those things you must see to believe. Stones that seem to move on their own across the dry lake leave "racetrack" marks along the dry and brittle soil. A nearby bench is available near the parking area so you can take in the view of the race track and surrounding mountain scenery.
7. Imperial Sand Dunes -- Gecko Road in Brawley, CA.
Located in Imperial County, you can see the wonder of the Imperial Sand Dunes as you drive along the highway. Best known as a recreational area, the sand dunes are also just fun to look at. Make sure to stop and snap some pictures of this incredible natural area in SoCal.
8. Shaw's Cove -- Laguna Beach
This small cove located in Laguna Beach is just one of many SoCal treasures that you can experience without having to head down a long and winding trail. With epic views and a scenic setting, Shaw's Cove is the perfect place to witness SoCal's raw beauty.
9. Inyo National Forest -- Inyo County
Head to Inyo County and take a drive to the Inyo National Forest to see the world's oldest trees. The Bristlecone Pine forest, located right here in SoCal, is home to the Bristlecone Pine trees that are over 4,000 years old.
10. El Matador Beach -- 32350 East Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu.
One could say all of the beaches here in SoCal are natural wonders. Pick your favorite sandy spot and grab a rock and take a moment to look out at the vastness of the ocean. A personal favorite is El Matador beach with its rugged rocks and scenic setting.
Go ahead and add these destinations to your bucket list. Any favorites that you’ve experienced before that you would like to witness again?
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