California, the third largest state in the United States, encompasses numerous types of natural environments, from redwood forests to high deserts to beach after beach after beach. The nature in California really is second to none! There are a few places that stand out to us. Here are 10 of the best nature escapes in California.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is one of the most iconic nature escapes in California due to the prevelance of the strange and beautiful Joshua tree. These trees sparsely populate a landscape that could be best described as Martian or out of this world.
Related blog: 10 facts about the incredible Joshua tree
The Pacific Coast Highway
The Pacific Coast Highway is a stretch of highway that runs from Southern California all the way into Washington State. It is an absolutely phenomenal drive up the coast. Some of the sights are simply breathtaking. If you’re up for a long road trip through California, this highway is the route for you.
Big Sur is an ocean lover’s dream come true. Just south of the city of Monterey, California, Big Sur is a popular tourist site despite being sparsely populated. Jagged cliffs seem to just directly out of the ocean here. Jack Kerouac and Henry Miller are said to have found inspiration here. Redwood-filled state parks can be found nearby.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is one of California’s most iconic parks. We recommend taking the 2.4 mile hike to Mirror Lake, which is positioned just below the popular Half Dome. From the right angle, the Dome can be seen reflected perfectly in Mirror Lake.
Mt. Shasta and the Lavender Fields
‘Mt. Shasta and the Lavender Fields’ sounds a bit like a reggae band’s name, and it could very well be for all we know, but in this case, it’s one of the coolest places to hike in the summer. The mountain is actually a dormant volcano which last erupted in 1786. Surrounding the mountain are fields of lavendar, which are quite the sight to see.
Redwoods National Park
We’re a brand that plants 10 trees for each item purchased, so of course we love trees! Redwoods National Park is an awesome spot to visit if you want to see some big, big, BIG trees. It has some of the more scenic hiking trails in the entire state. The park is exceptionally large, encompassing a total of 40 miles of undeveloped coastline.
Muir Woods National Monument
Muir Woods National Monument, which is a fairly short drive from San Francisco, is a 240 acre area of old-growth redwood forest that has been protected in the name of famous naturalist John Muir. There is an easy, short main loop trail you can take and a much more difficult hike to the top of “Cardiac Hill.” (You’ll get the name if you hike it.
Hawk Hill, located in Marin County, is perfect for a quick nature escape from the city. Located near San Francisco, it’s a popular destination for photographers and hikers alike. You’ll get an awesome view of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Napa Valley is known for its green, rolling hills, hiking trails, and of course, the fine California wine! There are more than 400 wineries throughout Napa Valley and countless other places to see. If you’re looking for nature AND luxury, Napa Valley is right for you.
Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve
Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve is popular for its wildflower season that takes place from March to May every year. It has become a popular destination for Instagram influencers in recent years which makes this a more complicated, difficult place to visit. Pro tip: stay off the flowers. Stay on the designated trails. It’s important to take care of this reserve so it can stay open to the public!