ABOUT CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS

California’s state park system represents the best of California. The 280 parks feature unmatched natural, cultural, and recreational treasures and span ancient redwoods, sandy beachfronts, historic sites and monuments, and more. With over 340 miles of coastline, 970 miles of lake and river frontage, 15,000 campsites and 4,500 miles of trails, the parks provide wonderful recreational, educational, and inspirational opportunities for over 67 million visitors a year.

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Fun Facts about California State Parks

1.5 million+ acres

2 million+ archeological specimens

3,000+ historical buildings

Largest California State Park
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park – 600,000 acres–the largest state park in California

Smallest California State Park
Watts Towers of Simon Rodia State Historic Park .11 acres

Oldest California State Park
Big Basin Redwoods State Park – 1902–founded as California Redwood Park

Highest Point in California State Parks
Mount San Jacinto State Park – The view from the top –10, 804 feet–takes in most of Southern California; highest point in State Park System, second highest peak in Southern California.

Lowest Point in California State Parks
Salton Sea State Recreation Area – 230 feet below sea level

Best View of the World in the United States
Mount Diablo State Park. The summit – 3,849′ – offers a sweeping panorama–more of the earth’s surface can be seen from the mountain than any other peak in the world, except Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa.

Coldest Place in California State Parks
Mount San Jacinto State Park – Lowest recorded temperature-12° below zero 1972-73

Hottest Places in California State Parks
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park – Summer temperatures in the range of 120°
Salton Sea State Recreation Area – Summer temperatures in the range of 120°

Driest California State Park
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Some areas average 2″ a year.

Wettest California State Park
Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park – 92.77″ average rainfall
Sinkyone Wilderness State Park – Unofficial 100″ rainfall a year

Plants or Animals Native only to California State Parks
Caswell Memorial State Park – Riparian Brush Rabbit Sylvilagus bachmani riparius
Mount Diablo State Park – Mt. Diablo bird’s-beak Cordylanthus nidularius

Tallest Tree in the World
Humboldt Redwoods State Park – Sequoia sempervirens 368′-369′ tall in the Rockefeller Forest

Tallest Waterfall in California State Parks
McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial SP – Burney Falls–129′

Widest Diameter Tree in California State Parks
Calaveras Big Trees State Park – Louis Agassiz Tree, South Grove–24′ wide
 

There are additional wonderful California state parks that you can visit, which are not participating in the free Green Friday day-use parking pass program. For more information, including features, hours, fees and directions, visit the California State Parks website:

  • Admiral William Standley State Recreation Area
  • Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park
  • Anderson Marsh State Historic Park
  • Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park
  • Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park
  • Azalea State Natural Reserve
  • Benicia Capitol State Historic Park
  • Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park
  • Brannan Island State Recreation Area
  • Burleigh H. Murray Ranch Park Property
  • Burton Creek State Park
  • California State Capitol
  • Candlestick Point State Recreation Area
  • Carmel River State Beach
  • Caspar Headlands State Beach
  • Caspar Headlands State Natural Reserve
  • Cayucos State Beach
  • Columbia State Historic Park
  • Colusa-Sacramento River State Recreation Area
  • Delta Meadows Park Property
  • Emma Wood State Beach
  • Estero Bluffs State Park
  • Fort Humboldt State Historic Park
  • Franks Tract State Recreation Area
  • Fremont Peak State Park
  • Garrapata State Park
  • Gray Whale Cove State Beach
  • Great Valley Grasslands State Park
  • Greenwood State Beach
  • Harmony Headlands State Park
  • Harry A. Merlo State Recreation Area
  • Hearst San Simeon State Park
  • Humboldt Lagoons State Park
  • John B. Dewitt Redwoods State Natural Reserve
  • Jug Handle State Natural Reserve
  • Kruse Rhododendron State Natural Reserve
  • Lake Del Valle State Recreation Area
  • Lake Valley State Recreation Area
  • Lighthouse Field State Beach
  • Little River State Beach
  • Los Encinos State Historic Park
  • Los Osos Oaks State Natural Reserve
  • MacKerricher State Park
  • Mailliard Redwoods State Natural Reserve
  • Manchester State Park
  • Marina State Beach
  • Marsh Creek State Park State Historic Park
  • McLaughlin Eastshore State Park State Seashore
  • Mendocino Headlands State Park
  • Mendocino Woodlands State Park
  • Montaña de Oro State Park
  • Montara State Beach
  • Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve
  • Morro Bay State Park
  • Morro Strand State Beach
  • Navarro River Redwoods State Park
  • Old Sacramento State Historic Park
  • Olompali State Historic Park
  • Pacifica State Beach
  • Pelican State Beach
  • Pescadero State Beach
  • Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park
  • Pío Pico State Historic Park
  • Pismo State Beach
  • Placerita Canyon State Park
  • Plumas-Eureka State Park
  • Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park
  • Point Dume State Beach
  • Point Sal State Beach
  • Railtown 1897 State Historic Park
  • Rancho San Andrés Castro Adobe Park Property
  • Reynolds Wayside Campground
  • Robert Louis Stevenson State Park
  • Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach
  • Salinas River State Beach
  • San Bruno Mountain State Park
  • San Timoteo Canyon Park Property
  • Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park
  • Santa Monica State Beach
  • Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park
  • Schooner Gulch State Beach
  • Shasta State Historic Park
  • Smithe Redwoods State Natural Reserve
  • State Indian Museum State Historic Park
  • Stone Lake Park Property
  • Sutter Butte State Park
  • Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park
  • Tahoe State Recreation Area
  • Thornton State Beach
  • Tolowa Dunes State Park
  • Tomo-Kahni State Historic Park
  • Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
  • Trinidad State Beach
  • Turlock Lake State Recreation Area
  • Twin Lakes State Beach
  • Verdugo Mountains Park Property
  • Ward Creek Park Property
  • Washoe Meadows State Park
  • Westport-Union Landing State Beach
  • Wildwood Canyon Park Property
  • Will Rogers State Beach
  • William B. Ide Adobe State Historic Park
  • Woodland Opera House State Historic Park
  • Woodson Bridge State Recreation Area