Living in Los Angeles, you quickly learn to take advantage of the city’s close proximity to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the country. Whether you’re looking for a day trip or want to escape for a weekend, there are plenty of national parks near Los Angeles that will satisfy your needs.
From coastal parks with pristine beaches to rugged mountain ranges and sprawling deserts, these nine parks offer something for everyone. So get out there and explore!
Jump to it:
- Joshua Tree National Park
- Sequoia and Kings Canyon
- Channel Islands
- Death Valley
- Mojave National Preserve
- Cabrillo National Monument
- Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument
Joshua Tree National Park
- Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is located about 100 miles from Los Angeles just outside of Palm Springs. Joshua Tree is famous for its beautiful, namesake trees which are best viewed in the early morning or toward evening when they catch the sunlight. At night, the stars in the sky above the park are amazing.
The park is large and has a variety of wildlife including coyotes, black-tailed jackrabbits, kangaroo rats, ground squirrels, and the ever-present desert bighorn sheep. In addition to its amazing desert landscape visited by people from all over the world, it is also home to the Joshua Tree National Park visitors center.
Pinnacles National Park
- Pinnacles National Park
Pinnacles is a geologic wonder located about 80 miles from Los Angeles. The rocks here are volcanic in origin, and they have been eroded into fascinating shapes by wind and rain over the years. A unique feature of this park is the Bear Gulch Cave, which has the largest cavern in the park.
Pinnacles is also home to many rock climbers who enjoy the challenging rocks in the park. The most popular attraction in Pinnacles is probably the 400-foot climb to the Balconies Caves which are located on the east face.
Visit Pinnacles for a day or spend an entire week exploring trails and enjoying the scenery!
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
- Sequoia National Park
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is located about 200 miles from Los Angeles near the town of Three Rivers. The giant sequoias found in these parks, which are somewhat unique to this area, are some of the largest trees on earth.
Each year visitors come from all over the world to catch a glimpse of these majestic trees in their natural environment. In addition to its famous giant sequoias, Sequoia National Park also offers gorgeous wilderness scenery including waterfalls and alpine lakes. There are many trails for hikers of all abilities and a variety of camping areas for all types of campers.
Yosemite National Park
- Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is located about 120 miles from Los Angeles just outside of Fresno. Like many national parks, Yosemite was originally a state park before being designated a national park in 1890. Many famous Americans contributed to the creation and protection of this beautiful place including naturalist John Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt.
Yosemite is well known in the United States for its dramatic rock formations, waterfalls, meadows, and glaciers. It is the sixth-oldest national park in the U.S. and one of the first wilderness areas to be set aside by Congress, originally in 1893.
Channel Islands National Park
- Channel Islands National Park
Channel Islands is located about 60 miles from Los Angeles near the town of Oxnard. The islands here are made up of five individual islands, and together they total 213 square miles. This means that Channel Islands is the fifth-largest island group in the continental United States.
While there are many interesting and beautiful things to see and do here, the primary attraction is the diversity of wildlife. The islands are home to over 2,000 species of plants and animals including several endangered species. Channel Islands National Park also serves as a research center for scientists who study the unique California island ecosystem.
Death Valley National Park
- Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park is located about 190 miles from Los Angeles between Barstow and Las Vegas. While its name may conjure up images of a barren wasteland, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, Death Valley is famous for its unique geological wonders and amazing wildlife. Some of its most famous features include Zabriskie Point and Badwater Basin, which both offer incredible views.
Mojave National Preserve
- Kelso Dunes, Mojave National Preserve
Mojave National Preserve is located about 80 miles from Los Angeles between Needles and Ridgecrest in the heart of the Mojave Desert. It covers 1.6 million acres and includes scenic areas like Kelso Dunes which tower almost 500 feet above the desert floor.
Additionally, many historical spots such as mines and Native American trading routes are located here. It is also the third-largest national park in the lower 48 states!
Cabrillo National Monument
- Cabrillo National Monument
Located in San Diego, Cabrillo is only 15 miles from the coast of Southern California. The history associated with this park makes it really unique. For one thing, it has the distinction of being the first place in the Continental United States where a European, Juan Cabrillo, set foot. It is also the site of the first Hispanic settlement in California and one of the best places in all of California to go tide pooling.
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument
- San Jacinto Monument
The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument is located about 80 miles from Los Angeles between Palm Springs and Idyllwild. It’s a great place to see blooming wildflowers in the Springtime, but it also offers some incredible views year-round. Within the monument’s boundary of about 280,000 acres, the towering peaks, lush forests, and open meadows are just some of the features that can be found here.
Discover Everything The Area Has To Offer
Los Angeles is a big city, but it’s also surrounded by some excellent national parks. If you’re looking for an outdoor experience without too much of a drive, one of these nine parks should be perfect!
And if you’re looking to move to or relocate within Southern California, Fisher Real Estate can help. Take our quiz to find out which neighborhood is best for you and start exploring everything the area has to offer!