State Parks COVID-19 Resource Center
Updated: July 13, 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 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.
Guided tours, many campgrounds, and 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.
High Public Use Indoor Facilities – including museums and visitor centers – have been closed until further notice to prevent overcrowding and maintain physical distancing.
Many Campgrounds Across the State 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 (Limited Parking) – 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. To date, limited public parking is available at 196 park units.
- Few Campgrounds Reopened: At this time, State Parks has reopened campground sites at 87 park units with limited capacity 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.
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. Bring soap/sanitizer and pack out all trash.
- Camping: If you are camping in an RV, please use the restrooms in your own unit. This will help reduce the use of the shared restrooms at campgrounds.
- Stay Local – Although businesses around the state are opening up, stay close to home. Parking is very limited or non-existent at park units across the state. Walk or bike to parks in your local neighborhood. Do not travel if you are sick or if someone in your household has had coronavirus in the last two weeks.
- Stay Covered – If your county requires the use of face coverings, please wear one. It is recommended that you carry a face covering in the outdoors in case you cannot maintain physical distancing from others while hiking or going into a public area.
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. Remaining state parks and beaches have limited vehicle access available.
- Most campgrounds are still temporarily closed. Some campgrounds have started to reopen with modifications using this phased and regionally driven approach.
- All museums and visitor centers are temporarily closed.
- 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 email@example.com.
- 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
- April 24: California State Parks Reminds All Californians to 'Stay Home, Save Lives' as Weather Warms Up Across State
- April 10: State Parks Advises Californians to Stay Home and Save Lives for this Weekend's Traditions
- 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!