Skip to Content

Top 6 State Parks In California To Visit This Winter

Share The Article

Last Updated

California is a gorgeous state on the west coast that is home to all manner of scenery, from sparkling beaches to giant redwood trees. A visit to one of the local state parks is an amazing way to experience it for yourself – here are six state parks to visit this winter that won’t disappoint.

Top 6 State Parks In California To Visit This Winter

1. Anza Borrego Desert State Park

This gorgeous park is located in southern California, about an hour and thirty minutes outside of San Diego. Its desert location makes winter one of the best times to visit. While temperatures can soar well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, a winter visit will mean you can expect to be looking at a much more reasonable range of 60-70 degrees during the day.

The park is home to some unique draws, including gorgeous palm tree oases. It also offers a wide variety of hiking trails that are suitable for most skill levels. Heading to the nearby town of Borrego Springs can offer some additional activities, including checking out art galleries and local shops.

anza borrego park

2. Humboldt Redwoods State Park

This California state park is home to some of the largest trees in the country – the iconic redwood trees. You’ll want to carve out at least a little time to drive down the Avenue of Giants – a 32-mile road lined by the giant trees implied in its name.

If you’re looking for a quick hike or only have limited time to spend in the area, the trail through Founder’s Grove is a little over a mile and an excellent choice. For those wanting to spend more time exploring the area, Burlington Campground is open year-round; temperatures can get chilly at night, though, so you’ll want to bring a warm coat and sleeping bag.

Top 5 Travel Insurance Plans For 2023 Starting At $10 Per Week

Easily Earn Points For Free Travel

Humboldt Redwoods State Park

3. Red Rock Canyon State Park

Not to be confused with Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Nevada, this stunning California park is home to jaw-dropping, colorful rock formations. Sitting at the southern edge of the Sierra Nevadas, this is a great choice for winter exploration, thanks to mild temperatures – usually hovering in the low 60s. The park is home to a variety of hiking trails, as well as wildlife – this is a great choice for both photographers and hikers alike.

Red Rock Canyon State Park

4. Pfieffer Big Sur State Park

If you’re looking for some awe-inspiring scenery, look no further than Pfieffer Big Sur State Park. This beautiful park features scenic views of not only the ocean but also a stunning cove that features a sparkling waterfall. It should be noted that there isn’t access to the beach directly from the state park itself – the cliffs in the park make for beautiful views but also make approaching the water unsafe.

There’s still plenty to do, though, including a variety of trails. If you’re looking for a quick way to get some fresh air, check out the .7-mile nature trail. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, the 3-mile-long Buzzard’s Roost offers both decent elevation gain – 750 feet or so – and beautiful ocean views.

Pfieffer Big Sur State Park

5. Crystal Cove State Park

This serene state park is not only home to a gorgeous beach but also some unique historical elements in the form of a series of coastal cottages that are among the few remaining examples of coastal development from their time period.

It may be a bit chilly to do much swimming with a winter visit – temperatures hover in the low 70s in the winter – however, you can look forward to a far less crowded park while exploring the shore, backcountry trails, and the historic district.

Crystal Cove State Park

6. Prairie Creek State Park

Humboldt Redwoods isn’t the only state park to see some gorgeous redwood trees. Prairie Creek State Park is home to not only some beautiful, ancient trees, though, but also a wide variety of opportunities for outdoor activity and some truly otherwordly looking scenery. You may find Fern Canyon familiar looking, for example, thanks to it being featured in one of the Jurassic Park movies.

Prairie Creek State Park

↓ Elevate Your Travel↓

Sign Up Now For Travel Off Path Premium! No ads, VIP Content, Personal Travel Concierge, Huge Savings, Daily Deals, Members Forum & More!

✈️Join Our Travel Off Path Community Forum: Where travelers unite, ask questions, share experiences and even find like-minded travel buddies!


Enter your email address to subscribe to Travel Off Path's latest breaking travel news, straight to your inbox.

This article originally appeared on

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.