5 Must-See National Parks in California

The National Parks Service maintains 23 separate units in the state of California, though the following five national parks are some of the most spectacular.

For road trips to any of these national park, try organizing your trip online, so as to keep maps, directions, and pictures all in one place.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a United States National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Sierra Nevada mountains in east-central California. Yosemite is internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, and biological diversity.
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Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park encompasses nearly 800,000 acres of the Mojave and Colorado Deserts, conserving two separate desert ecosystems at different altitudes. The name of the park is derived from the distinctive Joshua Tree, a tall-growing variety of the yucca genus that grows prevalently within its boundaries.
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Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Although technically they are two separate national parks, Sequoia and Kings Canyon generally operate as a single unit in many ways. The combined area of these two parks is 865,952 acres with most of that area being wilderness backcountry.
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Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park is located in the Northwest tip of California. It protects several groves of massive redwood trees (some of the highest in California), which can live for 2000 years, grow to heights of up to 367 feet, and be as wide as 22 feet at the base of the trunk.
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Channel Islands National Park

This isolated chain of islands just off the Southern California coast boasts pristine natural splendor. Half of the Channel Island National Park’s 49,354 acres are underwater and the area is home to 2,000 species of plants and animals.
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