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Watch stunning slideshows and learn fun facts about California's state parks.
California's State Parks
More than Just Pretty Spaces
California is known for many things. Surfing. The Beach Boys. Great wine. A redwood tree so big you can drive through it.
But did you know that California also has the most state parks of any state in the country? The Golden State claims a whopping 278 state parks—from the magnificent Humboldt Redwoods State Park in the north to the spectacular Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in the south, and everything in between.
Since the founding of Big Basin Redwoods State Park way back in 1902, California has had a love affair with its state parks. We hike in them, we swim in them, we celebrate our birthdays and anniversaries in them. Our state parks are a treasured part of our lives.
The Conservancy at Work
For more than 50 years, the Conservancy has been a pivotal force in protecting many of these amazing legacies. We played a critical role in creating Andrew Molera State Park and The Forest of Nisene Marks, and our efforts helped expand Cuyamaca Rancho and Montaña de Oro state parks.
But our role goes far beyond contributing land. With your help, we’ve also continuously supported our state parks with our science, research, management and political support.
Whether protecting 2,000-year-old redwoods at Grizzly Peak, providing habitat for migratory birds at Colusa-Sacramento or safeguarding big-horned sheep in Anza-Borrego—the Conservancy has worked to benefit the state from north to south.
Today, however, our beloved state parks are in danger. Budget cuts threaten to shut down many of our favorite places—forever. But you can help. In November 2010, support the ballot initiative to create a stable source of funding for our state parks. Together we can continue in our efforts to save our parks for our children and our children’s children.
With so many different kinds of state parks to visit and so many things to do in them, you can have as many adventures and create as many memories as you want. No matter where you live in California, there’s an amazing playground just waiting for you to explore.
- Take our beaches, for example. California's state beaches cover one-third of the state’s extensive coastline and have offered the quintessential California experience for generations. Millions of families, surfers and sunbathers have played, ridden the waves and soaked up the sun on the vast expanses of ocean beaches.
- On the other end of the spectrum, our desert state parks are an irresistible magnet for wildflower enthusiasts, photography buffs, campers, hikers and lovers of wide open spaces. Nowhere else can you find a place as breathtaking, as serene, as otherworldly as our iconic deserts.
- Inland state parks are as diverse in their terrain as they are in their recreational opportunities. Miles of rivers and thousands of acres of trails wind through oak woodlands, redwood forests, vast grasslands and more. These are the places to get away from it all—to fish, kayak, bike or birdwatch. These are the places you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
Your State Parks Await
So grab your gear and head outside! Discover what makes California’s state parks so much a part of our history and our lives.
State Parks at a Glance
- 20: Number of state parks the Conservancy helped build
- 162: Number of endangered, rare and threatened species protected by our state parks
- 2,000: Number of days of movie making in California state parks in 2009
- 90,000: Number of acres the Conservancy has contributed to state parks
- Nearly 80 million: Visits that state parks receive each year