The state of California has a little something for everyone. Beautiful beaches, untamed deserts, spectacular mountains, and lush valleys. Embracing an outdoor lifestyle is very much a California philosophy. Something else to be found in California? Great parks. While almost every city has a beautiful park or two, here’s a short list of the very best city parks in California.
Griffith Park, Los Angeles
Griffith Park is situated high atop a hillside, overlooking all of Los Angeles in the Los Feliz neighborhood. This large municipal park is at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains and is one of the largest urban parks in North America, covering more than 4,300 acres. It has been referred to as the “Central Park” of Los Angeles but is much larger and more rugged than the well manicured counterpart in New York City.
The park is also home to the Griffith Observatory, which is free to tour. There are also plenty of walking and hiking trails to explore. Within the Park you’ll also find horseback riding, playgrounds, the Los Angeles Zoo, and plenty of places to picnic throughout. (If you are interested in equestrian related activities, be sure to check out these options in the LA area.)
Access to the Observatory is through Griffith Park, which has several entrances along Los Feliz Boulevard. Free parking can be found in the Observatory parking lot or on adjacent roads. The Hollywood Sign can be seen from the Observatory parking lot but there are a lot of hikes that will get you different viewpoints. Just ask a Park Ranger once you are inside the park.
Balboa Park, San Diego
Balboa Park in San Diego is a beautiful and lush and is one of the oldest parks in the United States dedicated to public recreational use, placed in reserve in 1835.
In addition to open space areas, natural vegetation zones, green belts, botanical gardens and walking paths, Balboa Park is home to museums, several theaters, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. There are also many recreational facilities and several gift shops and restaurants within the boundaries of the park.
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Golden Gate Park in San Francisco is one of the most beautiful parks in the state, if not the entire country.
Playgrounds and picnic areas aplenty, Golden Gate Park also boasts an aquarium, Japanese Tea Gardens, Segway tours, a merry-go-round and even buffalo! This park has been featured in numerous movies and TV shows. It is iconic and offers such a variety of attractions, which we expect from San Francisco in general.
There is so much to see and do in California! Do you have a favorite park?