By Minah Ha
[2 ½ minute read]
Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula
Growing up in Southern California, I was privileged enough to be driving distance away from many popular national parks. Every winter and summer break, my family would take a trip to a new national park. During the winter, we would stay in hotels or motels and explore the parks during the day and during the summer we would go camping. Camping and exploring national parks is a fun activity for families or friend groups to take part in over a long weekend or vacation, so here are my top three national park choices that I highly suggest you visit while you’re in California!
1. Yosemite National Park
This is one of the most popular national parks in California. It boasts beautiful mountains and waterfalls. The campsites in Yosemite fill up fast, so the best time to book them is in February or March if you want to camp around June. The best place to camp within Yosemite is in Yosemite Village because of its proximity to the best hiking trails and sightseeing locations. Some of their most beautiful hiking trails are the Vernal and Nevada Falls trails. These trails take you to a beautiful spot where you can get very close to the waterfall and if you go earlier in the summer, you will get soaked by the waterfall. The park is very family-friendly and has hiking trails suited for younger children.
2. Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is known for its gigantic trees. The biggest one yet is called the General Sherman Tree and it’s something that must be visited if you end up going to Sequoia. The park is about 3 to 4 hours away from Los Angeles. This place is also best to visit during the
months of May to June because the weather is perfect for hiking. Sequoia is also home to various wildlife species and you might be able to see some bears and deer! If you want to get more done while you’re up there, Sequoia is also only an hour and a half away from Kings Canyon National Park, a park with mountains and waterfalls that are beautiful to visit at sunset.
3. Channel Islands National Park
This national park is just off of Long Beach, California. It is comprised of five different islands and you have to take a boat to get to this destination, but once you get there it is completely worth it! Channel Island has activities for everyone, whether you’re interested in snorkeling, scuba diving, bird watching, or hiking. There’s plenty of wildlife there that you can observe and it is a beautiful place to visit with friends or family for a weekend.
Regardless of where you are, it is important to spend time in nature, go outside, and get some fresh air if you can. Spending time in a socially distanced outdoor environment can improve your mood and brighten up your day, so consider visiting some of these places in the great outdoors!
Minah is a USC graduate who majored in Global Health. She is from the San Fernando Valley and loves to camp, hike, and read random Wikipedia facts. She speaks Korean and is learning how to speak Spanish.