California is the ultimate outdoor playground and home to the best outdoor adventures in the U.S. From deserted lands of Death Valley to massive giants of Sequoia National Park, California has it all to keep outdoor enthusiasts coming back for more.
10 Incredible Outdoor Adventures in California
Things don’t always go the way we plan. This year is the best example. While most of us had to cancel our travel plans, California still offers some of the epic outdoor adventures this summer. Whether it’s a day-long hike in a national park or road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway, staying outdoors is easy in the Golden State. And since the outdoor adventures has always been one of my favorite types of travel, I look forward to exploring California anew. These incredible outdoor adventures are what makes California so unique and special, an alluring destination for travelers from all corners of the world.
HERE ARE THE BEST OUTDOOR ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA THIS SUMMER:
1. Joshua Tree National Park
Whether you’re looking for beautiful desert landscapes or cool glamping experiences, Joshua Tree National Park is here for you. Home to famed Joshua trees, the park is one of the best places to start your California outdoor adventures. Moreover, with abundance of trails for all activity levels, it suits amateurs and professional outdoor enthusiasts alike. Even climbers, boulderers, and highliners are eager to add Joshua Tree National Park to their outdoor adventures in California. The reason behind it is over 8,000 climbing routes and 2,000 rock problems. But above all, watching sunset in the Cholla Cactus Garden is one of the outdoor adventures none of California locals and visitors dare to miss.
2. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
From the desert to a forest, the outdoor adventures in California are as diverse as the state itself. The next place to visit here is Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Also called a Land of Giants, this area has gathered some of the tallest trees, deep canyons, massive mountains, and big caverns. In fact, the world’s largest tree measured by volume, the General Sherman Tree, resides in Sequoia National Park. Additionally, this part of California ensures different kinds of the outdoor adventures that include hiking, camping, ranger-led programs, and even a year-round open museum Giant Forest Museum.
- 5 Things You Should Know before Visiting Sequoia National Park
- 20 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Sequoia National Park
3. Yosemite National Park
Hands down my favorite outdoor adventure in California is Yosemite National Park. Home to some of the best destinations such as the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome, the place is the ultimate outdoor playground for hundreds of thousands adventure seekers. Yosemite Village is another all-time favorite in the park that offers year-round access to some of the famous cliffs and waterfalls. Thus, from day hikes to bicycling and waterfalls chasing (my favorite outdoor activity), Yosemite tops all possible adventure bucket lists in California.
4. Lake Tahoe
Only after I visited Lake Tahoe last summer, I got all the hype about this Northern California treasure. Located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe allures with its pristine location and crystal clean waters. This is a place to perfect your kayaking and paddling game, hit the trail, or ski down the hill in winter. But regardless of the time of your visit, be sure to include Emerald Bay State Park in the list of your outdoor adventures in California.
5. Mammoth Lakes
Summer or winter, Mammoth Lakes gathers big crowds of the outdoor enthusiasts. From hiking to boating and all kinds of winter activities, the place knows how to satisfy your adventurous spirit. Moreover, at Mammoth Mountain you can enjoy California winter wonderland well into the summer months. Additionally, irresistible lakes near Mammoth Lakes take care of the outdoor adventures in California that have little to do with snow. Lake Mary, June Lake, and Mono Lake come to mind when thinking about this region of the Golden State
- A Guide to Visiting Mammoth Lakes, California
- Top 5 Lakes Near Mammoth Lakes You Can’t Miss
- How to Visit Mammoth Mountain
- Visiting Mono Lake – South Tufa Area
6. Big Sur
When it comes to road trips across California, the legendary Pacific Coast Highway with its famous Big Sur wins over other epic routes. This iconic stop on the coast of California is a bucket list destination for the outdoor enthusiasts all over the world. Thanks to its winding turns, panoramic views, and seaside cliffs, Big Sur is regarded as one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. If this is not enough, then McWay Falls, the Bixby Bridge, and Pfeiffer Beach will surely convince you to check out this outdoor adventures’ paradise in California.
7. 17-Mile Drive
Once you decide to explore California coastline, be sure to combine your Big Sur outdoor adventure with the incredible 17-Mile Drive. This scenic road on the Monterey Peninsula takes you through a forest of cypress trees to a rocky coastline. It’s a place where you can find such California attractions as Pebble Beach, the Lone Cypress, and Seal Rock. On the downside, the roadway is privately managed. Therefore, expect to pay fees upon your entry.
8. Lassen Volcanic National Park
Steaming fumaroles, clear mountain lakes, picturesque meadow… You can wholeheartedly rely on Lassen Volcanic National Park to provide you with the unforgettable outdoor adventures in California. Home to Lassen Peak, one of the largest plug dome volcanos in the world, it’s a great weekend destination to bring your family and enjoy scenic views.
9. Channel Islands National Park
Unlike for the other outdoor adventures in California on this list, driving is not enough to get to Channel Islands National Park. Located off the coast of Santa Barbara, the place consists of 5 islands. Thus, you need to boat (usually guided boats are available) or fly (the most expensive option) to your next outdoor destination. Once on the islands, you’re free to hike, kayak, and explore hidden caves all day long. Camping is also available, but be sure to reserve your spot in advance.
10. Death Valley
Death Valley is arguably one of the most unique outdoor adventures in California. From salt flats to sand dunes and sandstone canyons, the place boasts some of the diverse landscapes in the state. However, make sure to consider weather conditions before visiting Death Valley. Extreme summer heat caused fatalities in the past.