national-public-lands-dayWant to visit a national park, monument, or forest without paying to get in? Then grab your hiking boots and head out tomorrow (Saturday, September 24th) for National Public Lands Day!

This annual day of service allows visitors to check out the beauty of California’s national parks and monuments for free. Incidentally, this year also marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, so there’s no better time to get outside and enjoy the view! Check out our list of the top 5 parks we’d love to visit this weekend to plan your adventure. We’ll see you on the trails!

  1. Yosemite– Yosemite National park features nearly 1,200 square miles in which visitors can enjoy camping and hiking through deep valleys, ancient sequoias, glorious meadows, vast wilderness, and much more.This expansive park is home to thousands of wildlife and plant species, and virtually every visitor falls in love with Yosemite Falls, which at 2,425 feet ranks as the tallest waterfall in North America. If you have time to make the 315 mile journey from Los Angeles to Yosemite National Park, it promises to be an adventure you’ll never forget!
  1. Joshua Tree-The Mojave and the Colorado desert both collide just east of Palm Springs to create the stunning Joshua Tree National Park. The picturesque park known for its unique Joshua trees is a relatively short drive outside of Orange County, making it an easy day or weekend trip. Adventure sports enthusiasts are sure to love the world class rock climbing and mountain biking Joshua Tree offers. Naturalists also flock to this local Southern California retreat for the bird watching, horseback riding, wildflower viewing, and stargazing.
  1. Sequoia and Kings Canyon– These dramatic national parks lie side by side in the southern Sierra Nevada mountain range, and range in elevation from 1300 feet to nearly 15,000 above sea level! Discover the underground world of Sequoia National Park on a tour of a marble cavern, or take a guided horseback tour through the foothills of Kings Canyon.Overnight camping and backpacking is the most popular activity here, but rock climbers and photographers will also have plenty to keep them busy!
  1. San Francisco Maritime– A visit to this National Historical Park is more like a journey back in time. Located in the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park offers visitors incredible sights of historic ships and the chance to cruise San Francisco Bay aboard the 1891 National Landmark scow schooner Alma! Make sure to check out the area’s incredible history at The Maritime Museum and soak in all the beauty of the Aquatic Park Cove and Beach.
  1. Muir Woods– This redwood lover’s paradise is actually a California National Monument, as well as a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Besides the incredible array of flora and fauna, Muir Woods is also known for its rich cultural history. Indeed, in May 1945 United Nations delegates that were meeting in San Francisco traveled to Muir Woods to honor the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt with a special memorial.