Best National and State Parks to Visit Near Los Angeles

Photo credit: Randy Le

If you’re planning to visit Los Angeles this year, you should definitely plan to venture outside the city to explore some of the surrounding natural beauty. There are several state and national parks to visit near Los Angeles that are easily accessible by LAX airport car hire. These are a few of the most treasured parks that you can drive to in the area:

Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park is easily accessible from Los Angeles, and it usually takes about an hour and a half to reach the base in Ventura. When you arrive you can hop aboard a ferry run by the National Parks Service, and it takes about about an hour to reach the islands by ferry. Anacapa and Santa Cruz are the most popular islands. If you plan to hike, make sure that you are well-equipped because the trails can be rugged and challenging. You can also kayak, fish, camp, snorkel, bird watch, and scuba dive in this area.

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park is a place of extremes, as it is one of the hottest, driest, and lowest places on earth. Therefore, visiting in winter or early spring is your best option. Prepare to be awestruck by the desert’s vividly beautiful colors, and Zabriskie Point is one of the best vista points at sunrise or sunset. The landscapes change with nearly every turn you make in the park, which is known for exquisite scenic drives, hikes, and climbs. You can set up camp in Death Valley at one of several campgrounds, air conditioned lodges, the Furnace Creek Inn, or the Panamint Springs Resort.

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is about a three hour drive from Los Angeles, yet definitely accessible if you’ve booked a cheap LAX Airport car rental. This park is famous for its trees with outstretched branches, but also features blooming deserts, cactus gardens, and rock formations. Spring is the best time to visit this park because everything is in bloom and the temperature are more comfortable. There are nine campgrounds within the park for tent camping, although only Black Rock and Cottonwood provide running water.

 
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