Welcome to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, popularly known as California State Parks.
Our “Frequently Asked Questions” are here to help you find the information you need faster than you can email or call us with your questions. If you cannot find the answer to your question(s) below, please feel free to connect with us.
Thank you for loving California’s natural and cultural resources.
Reservations can be made online through ReserveCalifornia™ at www.ReserveCalifornia.com or (800) 444-PARK (7275). Camping and lodging inventory becomes available each day for a period of six months in advance.
If this is your first time making a reservation, please be advised that our parks are loved by many within and outside the state of California. Due to demand, reservations for popular locations such as coastal beaches and campgrounds or cabins in the redwoods can be booked months in advance. Plan, do your research, and have alternate parks in mind in case your first choice is booked. One alternative is to visit a fully booked park during the day, but have lodging elsewhere nearby.
California is the second largest park system in the world with 280 units and the largest state park system in the United States. Off-highway motor vehicle recreation, boating activities, horseback riding, on and off-road cycling, hiking, camping, rock climbing, tours, school group enrichment and special events are just some of the activities enjoyed in our parks and through the recreational programs supported by California State Parks.
For more facts, such as where you can find the tallest tree in the world or the oldest continuously used Chinese Temple in California, click here.
- For reservation sites, plan ahead.
- Determine where you want to camp and be flexible.
- Consider non-reservation sites, less busy days and less popular camps.
- Remember the holiday rush. The closer you make a reservation to a holiday (Memorial Day, Fourth of July or Labor Day), the further north and inland you may need to go.
- Consider cancellations. Check periodically online for cancellations or contact our Customer Call Center at (800) 444-PARK (7275). While cancellations are rare and no waiting lists are available at the moment, cancellations do occur.
- Consider visiting the park for a day.
- Visit us in April, May, September and October. This is considered our “Shoulder Season”. It is a good time to enjoy California’s state parks as the weather during these months is usually good.
- Please leave the campsite in good condition. The camper who follows you will appreciate it. Remember to pack it in, pack it out.
Detailed information on these tips can be found here.
California State Parks strives to make its parks as accessible as possible and is in the process of a multi-year project to upgrade facilities to meet Americans with Disability Act requirements. In other locations, state parks provides accessibility with specialized equipment such as a beach chairs. For information about accessibility in parks, click here. For additional questionsemail email@example.com call (916) 445-8949.
Drones are technically allowed in state parks, state beaches, state historic parks, state recreational areas and state vehicular recreation areas except where prohibited by a district superintendent’s posted order. However, most districts have posted orders banning drones as California State Parks works on a statewide policy. Superintendents can grant waivers from posted orders for scientific and academic research, media and other purposes. For more information about drone use, click here.
Possibly yes. The carrying and possession of firearms in California’s state parks is generally prohibited, and is only allowed per Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Section 4313.
Exceptions to this regulation are granted in the California Penal Code Section 25900 pertaining to law enforcement and retired law enforcement personnel, and PC Section 26010 for citizens with Carry Concealed Weapon (CCW) permits. However, any restrictions placed on the CCW by the issuing agency would also be applicable in California’s state parks. For example, if the CCW is only valid in the CCW holder’s city of residence or county, it would not be valid in a state park unit located outside the city or county of the holder. Some CCWs also prohibit carrying in “parks” and this would include state park lands, if that is the case.
Natural scenery, plants and animal life are the principal attractions of most state parks. They are integral parts of the ecosystem and natural community. As such they are protected by federal, state and park laws. Disturbance or destruction of these resources is strictly forbidden.
Fires are permitted only in facilities provided for this purpose. This is necessary to prevent disastrous fires. Portable stoves may be used in designated areas. It is the responsibility of every visitor to use extreme caution with any burning materials, including tobacco. All fireworks are prohibited.
Noise from engine driven and/or electric sources, which can disturb others, may be operated only between the hours 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. within state park units. Loud disturbing noise is prohibited at all times, as well as disturbing visitors who are asleep between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
For more key rules and regulations to protect our parks and visitors, click here.
California State Parks is working to provide guidance to our park managers on how to enforce electric bicycles at our 280 park units across the state. Each park is unique so a statewide policy on e-bikes is not feasible. Currently, trails in the state park system are open to pedestrians only unless otherwise designated by the park’s superintendent for equestrian or cycling. This would be on a trail by trail basis, which we understand can be confusing to visitors. We are working to provide more specific guidelines that will provide the public access, where feasible, to our bike trails but at the same time, protect California’s beautiful, iconic landscapes.
Permits are required to film, video or photograph for any commercial or potential commercial purpose in a state park. The initial permit is with the California Film Commission, which can be handled online on the Commission's website.Commission staff will then help you coordinate with local state park staff for a second permit issued by the park. There may be fees to recover costs to state parks. For more information, please click here.
Below you will find various ways you can connect with us:
firstname.lastname@example.org | (800) 777-0369 | TTY Relay Service: 711
1416 9th Street, Sacramento (95814) or P.O. Box 942896, Sacramento (94296)
Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW)
email@example.com | (888) 326-2822
For Aquatic Invasive Species inquiries, including the treatment of water hyacinth and Egeria densa, please contact AIS@parks.ca.gov
Off-Highway Motor Vehicular Recreation Division (OHV)
firstname.lastname@example.org | (916) 324-4442
Office of Historic Preservation
email@example.com | (916) 445-7000
State Park Districts
District Office Contacts
- California Boating and Waterways Commission
- California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission
- California State Historical Resources Commission
- California State Park and Recreation Commission
Small Business/DVBE Advocate
P.O. Box 942896, Sacramento (94296-0001)
Inaccurate Website Content
If you discover any information on our pages which you believe to be inaccurate or outdated, please send an email to the webmaster.