Enjoy the Great Outdoors in California State Parks

Governor Brown Proclaimed June as “Great Outdoors Month”

Contact: Jorge Moreno I Information Officer I (916) 653-1986

SACRAMENTO, Calif., – California State Parks invites outdoor enthusiasts to honor “Great Outdoors Month” by visiting the Golden State’s spectacular state parks. Whether it be in the misty Northern California redwoods to the sun-bathed desert in Southern California or the beaches along the coastline, Californians have a diverse topography to choose from.

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. last week issued a proclamation declaring June 2018 as “Great Outdoors Month” in the State of California. In 1998, President Clinton declared the first national Great Outdoors Week to celebrate the country’s natural landscapes and the renewal of mind and body they offer. Since then, the observance has expanded to encompass the whole month of June, which is the perfect time to visit California’s varied landscapes.

“Our state’s scenic landscapes have always been a source of pride and pleasure,” stated Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in his proclamation. “From mountain trails in the High Sierra to a coastline that has captured the hearts of millions, Californians benefit from unparalleled opportunities to enjoy some of the world’s most beloved and spectacular outdoor places.”

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 280 park units organized into 22 field districts throughout the state. Below are just a few state parks outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy this month and year-round. A complete list of park units is available online at www.parks.ca.gov/visit.


  • Carpinteria State Beach: Offers miles for swimming, surf fishing and camping. Located south of Santa Barbara, you can view seals and the sea.
  • Crystal Cove State Park: Known for its rustic setting in contrast to the urban surroundings, the park offers miles of beaches as well as trails on the sloping hills. Located off the Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach, you can find various activities from mountain biking to scuba diving to renting beach cottages.
  • Julie Pfeiffer Burns State Park: The park is located on the rugged coastline and optimizes the Big Sur experience with hiking trails, campgrounds and its most popular attraction, McWay Falls, can be viewed by a short trail.


  • Anza-Borrego Desert State Park: Located in San Diego County, the largest state park offers five hundred miles of dirt roads, 12 wilderness areas, many miles of hiking trails and the wildflower boom in the spring. It was also named an International Dark-Sky Park.
  • Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area: With over 85,000 acres of magnificent desert, the park offers off-highway vehicle recreation, including a 4x4 training area, gas domes and camping.
  • Providence Mountains State Recreation Area: Reopened in 2017 after major infrastructure upgrades, visitors can take tours of the iconic and majestic Mitchell Caverns, hike and view the desert wildlife and vegetation.


  • Big Basin Redwoods State Park: The oldest state park contains nearly 11,000 acres of old growth forest in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The biggest attraction – the ancient coast redwoods.
  • Hendy Woods State Park: Located in the heart of Anderson Valley wine region, the park includes five miles of trails, including the wheelchair accessible Discovery Trail. Some of the giant redwoods you will see are believed to be more than 1,000 years old.
  • Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park: Located north of Eureka, visitors can camp on the beach or near the redwoods, hike 75 miles of trails or bike the 19-mile bike loop. Visitors can also enjoy Fern Canyon or watch Roosevelt elk graze in the meadows.

Recreation Areas

  • Folsom Lake State Recreation Area: Hike, bike, fish, camp, horseback ride or ski in the 19,500 acres of the park.
  • Lake Oroville State Recreation Area: Created by the largest earthen dam in the U.S., when the lake is at maximum elevation, it includes more than 15,000 surface acres of recreation and 167 miles of shoreline. Ideal for boat-in camping, floating campsites, fishing and swimming.
  • Lake Perris State Recreation Area: Ringed by various hills and small mountains, the lake is home to a variety of birds and other wildlife such as mule deer, bobcats, and coyotes. Visitors can rock climb, camp, horse bike ride and enjoy other water activities. The state recreation area is located just 65 miles south of Los Angeles.

Hidden Park Gems

  • Castle Crags State Park: The park is a prime spot for climbing its jutting cliffs and granite spires.
  • Grover Hot Springs State Park: Home to natural hot springs surrounded by pine and sagebrush, visitors can also camp, picnic and hike the trails. 
  • Auburn State Recreation Area: World famous for its rapids at the three fork of the American River, the river’s swift currents are not for beginners.

All visitors are encouraged to explore the state parks in a safe and responsible manner. Learning beforehand about the rules, such as parking or if dogs are allowed can enhance the visitor experience. It is also important to learn the laws for recreating in boats and/or off-highway vehicles. For other tips, please visit www.parks.ca.gov/safetytips.

Subscribe to California State Parks News via e-mail at NewsRoom@parks.ca.gov

California State Parks provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high quality outdoor recreation.