State Parks COVID-19 Resource Center
Updated: Nov. 20, 2020
Welcome to the California State Parks COVID-19 Resource Center. State Parks has created this online resource to serve as a one-stop center to find information on park closures and modifications and resources available to partners. Additionally, you will find information on complimentary broadcast-style home learning programs for K-12 students from various park locations across California. Please check this COVID-19 Resource Center webpage regularly, as it will be updated with new information as it becomes available.
The State of California recognizes the benefits of the outdoors during this challenging time of COVID-19. As such, State Parks is working with local officials on a phased and regionally-driven approach to increase access at park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved.
The stay-at-home modifications do not mean things are going back to normal. Governor Newsom’s Stay-at-Home Order asks Californians to stay close to home, maintain physical distancing, wear a face covering and avoid congregating with others outside their immediate household. The operations of the park system have been modified to provide an outdoor experience that reduces the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and modifications at each park may vary. Consequently, the public is advised to plan ahead—check the webpage of their local outdoor destination before leaving home to find out if it is open, what new guidelines are in effect and if parking is available.
State Parks has increased access to campgrounds, some visitor centers and museums only when in compliance with State and local public health orders are met. Most guided tours, some campgrounds, and some indoor facilities like museums and visitor centers remain closed until further notice to prevent overcrowding and maintain physical distancing.
For more than 150 years, State Parks has provided opportunities for people from all over the world to connect with families, friends and communities in the nation’s largest state park system. This is the first time in the history of State Parks where safety measures such as vehicular access closures, full closures and cancellation of reservations have been implemented at this large of scale and in response to a pandemic.
State Parks thanks visitors for their partnership as we collectively enable responsible recreation that protects the health of visitors and the dedicated parks staff.
In the following section, you will find a summary of what is closed and open, guidelines on how to responsibly recreate in California's State Park System and the safety measures State Parks has implemented to date.
FULLY CLOSED: Some State Park Units to the Public (View List) – The full closure means there is no public access at these public outdoor spaces on a temporary basis to protect public health from the COVID-19 pandemic. All restrooms are closed, and there are no parking facilities open for visitors, recreational boats or off-highway vehicles. No form of activities is permitted (including sunbathing, walking, jogging or watersports).
Vehicular Access at Some State Parks and Beaches is Temporarily Closed; Limited Vehicular Access Available at Remaining State Parks – Some state parks and beaches have no vehicle access, meaning no parking facilities and parking on roadways is prohibited. Remaining state parks and beaches have limited vehicle access available.
Some High Public Use Indoor Facilities – including museums and visitor centers – have been closed until further notice to prevent overcrowding and maintain physical distancing.
Some Campgrounds Across the State Still Remain Closed Until Further Notice – Affected reservation holders will be contacted by ReserveCalifornia via email and provided with a refund. Cancellation fees are being waived. Reservation cancellations and refunds will be automatic. As such, visitors do not need to take any action. However, please note that due to the volume of visitors affected, the refund process may take some time. State Parks appreciates the patience of the public as it moves through this process.
Park units with limited campground availability.
- Park Units with Increased Access – State Parks is working with locals on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access to park units only where compliance with state and local public health ordinances has been achieved. View the list of parks with increased access here.
- Reopened Campgrounds: At this time, State Parks has reopened campground sites at 83 park units and with new camping guidelines. The department is collaborating with local officials on a phased and regionally-driven approach to increase access at park units where compliance with local and public health orders can be achieved. Click here to learn more on how you can responsibly camp in California’s State Park System during COVID-19 and which campgrounds are available.
Governor Newsom’s announcement on the limited Stay at Home Order curfew currently does not have any operational impacts to camping in California’s state parks. Campsites have standard quiet and curfew hours. Additionally, current guidelines within the State Parks System do not allow visitors to congregate with others outside their immediate household.
Here are some visitor guidelines State Parks has implemented to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors:
- Plan Ahead – Prior to leaving home, check the webpage of the park unit you plan to visit to find out if it is open, if parking is available, if camping reservations can be booked and what visitor guidelines are in effect.
- Stay Safer at 6 feet – No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. Your guests should only include those within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings, picnics or parties. Visitors are being asked to leave if there are too many people to allow for the required physical distance.
- Boating: Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to other recreators.
- Off-highway Vehicle Recreation: Do not ride next to others or pull up next to someone else as it could put you in close proximity to others. Stage 10 feet or more from each other during unloading and loading.
- Keep Clean – Be prepared. Not all restrooms are open to the public. in some cases, restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/handsanitizer and pack out all trash.
- Camping: If you are camping in an RV, please use the restroom in your own unit. This will help redice the use of the shared restrooms at campgrounds.
- Stay covered – The state requires you wear a face covering when you cannot maintain physical distanicng of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times. For more details, please visit www.covid19.ca.gov.
State Parks will continue to monitor visitation and physical distancing across the State Park System and if unsafe conditions develop, park units may close again.
To date, State Parks has temporarily implemented the following safety measures:
- Closed some parks fully, meaning all vehicular access, trails and restrooms within these parks are closed.
- Some state parks and beaches have no vehicle access, meaning no parking facilities and parking on roadways is prohibited. Some state parks and beaches may have limited vehicle access available.
- Some campgrounds are still temporarily closed. Most campgrounds have started to reopen with modifications using this phased and regionally driven approach.
- Some museums and visitor centers have started to reopen with limited capacity modifications using this phased and regionally driven approach, meanwhile some remain temporarily closed. Visitors are advised to visit the individual park webpage for additional information.
- All events were canceled. New event cancellations or requests to postpone already-approved events are not being accepted at this time.
The department is working with locals on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access to state park units only where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. The reopening of state park units will be made with little advance notice.
State Parks understands that outdoor enthusiasts have questions and concerns about the safety measures the department has implemented in the State Park System to slow the spread of COVID-19. It is important for us to keep you informed of our actions. As such, we have developed frequently asked questions (FAQs) – view here. If you do not find the answer to your question, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- September 15: California State Parks Reopens Some Campsites in San Luis Obispo County Beginning Saturday, September 19
- September 3: State Parks Advises Californians to Plan Ahead This Labor Day Weekend Amid COVID-19 and Wildfires
- August 6: California State Parks Closes Camping at Turlock Lake State Recreation Area to Reduce Spread of COVID-19
- July 1: State Parks Implements Safety Measures to Reduce Density of Visitors over the Fourth of July Weekend
- May 20: California State Parks Advises Public to Recreate Responsibly this Memorial Day Weekend and Summer
- View More Press Releases...
Online Home Learning Programs - In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students (PORTS) is offering new broadcast-style Home Learning Programs for K-12 students from various park locations across California. Connect with a PORTS program today!