23 Units in California maintained by of National Park Service include 9 National Parks


In a somewhat confusing and complicated overlay of federal parks operations in conjunction with California's very own state parks system, the National Parks Service maintains both National Parks in California, and non-National Parks. See the list of California's National Parks. Irreplaceable treasure of national and international interest and significance, these monuments, forests, trails, buildings and other spots are popularly visited by Californians, US and international tourists. When California State Parks system threatens to shutter some operations funded by the National Parks Service, the issue of who owns what comes into play such as occurred in 2009 during significant budget cuts to the California State Parks. The federal system issues mandates to keep the parks they fund open, or lose control over the lands.


Below is a list of lands, points of interest and parks maintained by the National Parks Service in California.


Alcatraz Island - San Francisco, CA
One of California's most popular attractions, the Upper Prison of Alcatraz Alcatraz Island offers a close-up look at the infamous federal penitentiary long off-limits to the public. The site of the first lighthouse and US fort on the West Coast, the island is accessible by boat tours from San Francisco. There are many docent led, themed tours of gardens at the natural side to the Rock which is complete with tide pools, bird colonies, and bay views. There are even some hosted camp-overs, ghost-focused tours and other such excitement the public loves, at this beloved national park attraction.

Cabrillo National Monument - San Diego, CA
Cabrillo National Monument at Point Loma's popular mountain top vista includes a Statue at on overlook Plaza. Cabrillo climbed onto the Southwestern-most tip of the US lands onto shore in 1542. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was the first European to set foot on what is now the West Coast of the US. There an intimate movie theater with documentaries shown throughout the day, a gift shop, and interesting points of interest and historical facts at this hilltop attraction. It is a great spot for a photo op.

California National Historic Trail
Located at Lake Tahoe near Carson Pass in the Sierra-Nevada Mountains, the long and winding road offers a glimpse into what rocked the world with the discovery of gold in California. With more than 250,000 people rushing to find the gold fields & rich farmlands of California during the 1840's and 1850's, the greatest mass migration in American history created the foundation for today's California. Over 1,000 miles of trail ruts and traces can still be seen, providing reminders of the early American travelers and settlers to California.

Channel Islands National Park - Ventura, CA
Five islands in the Pacific Ocean off the Coast of Central California near Santa Barbara and Ventura--Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara--provide a place for tourists to visit by boat or boat tours.  It has been over 1,000 years that this ecological significant region of the Pacific has formed, hosting endangered birds, animals, plants, and archeological points of interest. Channel Islands National Park is one of the most rustic, authentic spots to visit and view coastal California. Santa Cruz Island is called the Galapagos of California.

Death Valley National Park - Death Valley, CA
Would you like to see the hottest place in the U.S.? How bout the lowest point in the U.S.? And what about the driest spot in the nation? Death Valley is it! Cotton-top barrel cactus at Hell's Gate amazingly manage to survive the hottest, driest, lowest spot complete with sand dunes, snow-capped mountains, and 3 million wilderness acres!

Devils Postpile National Monument - the Sierra Nevada near Mammoth Lakes, CA
Winter has arrived at Devils Postpile Established in 1911 by presidential proclamation, Devils Postpile National Monument protects and preserves the Devils Postpile formation, the 101-foot high Rainbow Falls, and pristine mountain scenery. The formation is a rare sight in the geologic world and ranks as one of the world's finest examples of columnar basalt. Its columns tower 60 feet high and display an unusual symmetry.

Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site - Danville, CA
Eugene O'Neill changing the music rolls in his player piano called Rosie in 1941 - Yale Beinecke Library Photo America's only Nobel Prize winning playwright, Eugene O'Neill, chose to live in Northern California at the climax of his writing career. Isolated from the world and within the walls of his home, O'Neill wrote his final and most memorable plays; The Iceman Cometh, Long Day's Journey Into Night, and A Moon for the Misbegotten. Reservations are required to visit this site.

Fort Point National Historic Site - Presidio of San Francisco, CA
Fort Point National Historic Site is located at the south anchorage of the Golden Gate Bridge. From its vantage point overlooking the spectacular Golden Gate, Fort Point protected San Francisco harbor from Confederate & foreign attack during & after the U.S. Civil War. Its beautifully arched casemates display the art of the master brick mason from the Civil War period.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area - San Francisco, CA
View of the Marin Headlands from the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge. Golden Gate National Parks chronicle two hundred years of history, from the Native American culture, the Spanish Empire frontier and the Mexican Republic, to maritime history, the California Gold Rush, the evolution of American coastal fortifications, and the growth of urban San Francisco.

John Muir National Historic Site - Martinez, CA
John Muir was many things, inventor, immigrant, botanist, glaciologist, writer, co-founder of the Sierra Club, fruit rancher. But it was John Muir's love of nature, and the preservation of it, that we can thank him for today. Muir convinced President Teddy Roosevelt to protect Yosemite (including Yosemite Valley), Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Grand Canyon and MT. Rainier as National Parks.

Joshua Tree National Park -

Between I-10 and Hwy 62 in Twentynine Palms, CAA
Viewed from the road, this desert park only hints at its vitality. Closer examination reveals a fascinating variety of plants and animals that make their home in this land shaped by strong winds, unpredictable torrents of rain, and climatic extremes. Dark night skies, a rich cultural history, and surreal geologic features add to the attraction of this place. Come see for yourself!

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail
Mormon Battalion & the Butterfield Stage route follow the Anza Trail in the Arizona desert north of the Gila River "Everyone mount up!" This became a familiar call from Spanish Captain Juan Bautista de Anza. In 1776, as Americans fought for their independence in the East, Anza led almost 300 people over 1200 miles to settle Alta California. It was the first overland route established to connect New Spain with San Francisco. Walk in their footsteps from Nogales, Arizona to San Francisco, California.

Kings Canyon National Park

In the southern Sierra Nevada in Tulare and Fresno counties, CA
McClure Meadow in Kings Canyon National Park. This landscape testifies to nature's size, beauty, and diversity - immense mountains, rugged foothills, deep canyons, vast caverns, and the world's largest trees! These two parks lie side by side in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of the San Joaquin Valley. Activity varies by season and elevation, which ranges from 1300' to 14,494'.

Lassen Volcanic National Park - Mineral, CA
Crags Lake offers a glimpse into a brief moment in the ancient battle between the earth shaping forces of creation and destruction. Nestled within Lassen's peaceful mountain forests you will find that hissing fumaroles and boiling mud pots still shape and change the land.

Lava Beds National Monument - Tulelake, CA
Blue Grotto cave, Lava Beds National Monument Lava Beds National Monument is a land of turmoil, both geological and historical. Over the last half-million years, volcanic eruptions on the Medicine Lake shield volcano have created a rugged landscape dotted with diverse volcanic features. More than 700 caves, Native American rock art sites, historic battlefields and campsites, and a high desert wilderness experience await you!

Manzanar National Historic Site - Independence, CA
Wooden Sign at Entrance to Manzanar War Relocation Center. Photo by Ansel Adams. In 1942, the United States government ordered more than 110,000 men, women, and children to leave their homes and detained them in remote, military-style camps. Manzanar War Relocation Center was one of ten camps where Japanese American citizens and resident Japanese aliens were interned during World War II.

Mojave National Preserve

Located between I-15 and I-40 near Barstow, CA
castle peaks Singing sand dunes, volcanic cinder cones, Joshua tree forests, and carpets of wildflowers are all found at this 1.6 million acre park. A visit to its canyons, mountains and mesas will reveal long-abandoned mines, homesteads, and rock-walled military outposts. Located between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Mojave provides serenity and solitude from the crowds of major metropolitan areas.

Muir Woods National Monument - Mill Valley, CA
Muir Woods has many accessible trails with views of the redwood forest. "This is the best tree-lovers monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world," declared conservationist John Muir when describing the majestic coast redwoods of Muir Woods.

Old Spanish National Historic Trail
Scenic Stump Spring provided water for trail travelers in Nevada. Take a journey across the Southwest on the Old Spanish National Historic Trail between Santa Fe and Los Angeles for history, culture, and scenic beauty.

Pinnacles National Monument - Paicines, CA
Rock formations near the Bear Gulch Reservoir Rising out of the chaparral-covered Gabilan Mountains, east of central California's Salinas Valley, are the spectacular remains of an ancient volcano. Massive monoliths, spires, sheer-walled canyons and talus passages define millions of years of erosion, faulting and tectonic plate movement.

Point Reyes National Seashore - Point Reyes, CA
From its thunderous ocean breakers crashing against rocky headlands and expansive sand beaches through its open grasslands to its brushy hillsides and forested ridges, visitors can discover over 1000 species of plants and animals. Home to several cultures over thousands of years, Point Reyes preserves a tapestry of stories and interactions of people. Point Reyes awaits your exploration.

Pony Express National Historic Trail
Remains of the Boyd Station in the Utah west desert. The Pony Express NHT was used by young men on fast horses to carry the nation's mail from Missouri to California in the unprecedented time of only ten days. The relay system became the nation's most direct and practical means of east-west communications before the telegraph, and it played a vital role in aligning California with the Union in the years just before the Civil War.

Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial - Concord Naval Weapons Station, CA
Checking/packing ammunition? On the evening of July 17, 1944, residents in the San Francisco east bay area were jolted awake by a massive explosion that cracked windows and lit up the night sky. At Port Chicago Naval Magazine, 320 men were instantly killed when the munitions ships they were loading with ammunition for the Pacific theatre troops mysteriously blew up. Reservations are required to visit this site.

Presidio of San Francisco - San Francisco, CA
Walk at Lobos Creek boardwalk For 218 years, the Presidio served as an army post for three nations. World and local events, from military campaigns to the rise of aviation, from World Fairs to earthquakes, left their mark. Come enjoy the history and beauty of the Presidio. Explore centuries of architecture. Reflect in a national cemetery. Walk through an historic airfield, forests, or to beaches, and admire spectacular vistas.

Redwood National and State Parks - Del Norte & Humboldt counties , CA
foggy coast redwood forest Stand at the base of a coast redwood and the huckleberry bushes tower over you. Watch statuesque Roosevelt elk grazing in the prairies. Observe the tail of a female Chinook salmon heave skyward as she makes a nest for her eggs. Whether a morning or night person, you can hear the endangered marbled murrelets' keer across the treetops as they fly from sea to mossy nest.

Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park - Richmond , CA
World War II Kaiser Shipyard Workers, Richmond California Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park, located in the wartime boomtown of Richmond, California, preserves and interprets the stories and places of our nation's home front response to World War II.

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park - San Francisco, CA
Sailors aloft furling a sail on a square rigged ship. Stand on the stern of Balclutha, face west to feel the fresh wind blowing in from the Pacific Ocean. Located in the Fisherman's Wharf neighborhood, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park offers the sights, sounds, smells and stories of Pacific Coast maritime history.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area - Thousand Oaks, CA
Nearby Channel Islands National Park can be seen from ocean overlooks. As the days get longer and start to warm, sycamore shaded canyons, willow edged streams, and cool beaches become favorite spots in the Santa Monicas. In his new documentary, to be aired on public television in September, Ken Burns reveals how National Parks are America's Best Idea. Take a moment to explore and share what makes these unique places so important to the fabric of America.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks  

In the southern Sierra Nevada in Tulare and Fresno counties, CA
McClure Meadow in Kings Canyon National Park. This landscape testifies to nature's size, beauty, and diversity - immense mountains, rugged foothills, deep canyons, vast caverns, and the world's largest trees! These two parks lie side by side in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of the San Joaquin Valley. Activity varies by season and elevation, which ranges from 1300' to 14,494'.

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area - Whiskeytown, CA
Whiskeytown Lake with clouds reflecting in the lake Come and discover your own treasures at Whiskeytown. Shasta Bally Summit Management Shasta Bally Environmental Assessment (EA) is open for review. At present, there are five alternatives being considered in the planning process for the future management of the telecommunications site located on the summit of Shasta Bally.

World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument
USS Arizona Memorial - Construction Spanning nearly all of the Pacific Ocean, World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument preserves and interprets the stories and key events in the Pacific Theater leading up to the U.S. entering World War II, its impacts on the mainland, through to the Peace Treaty in Kyoto Bay, Japan ending the war.

Yosemite National Park - the Sierra Nevada, CA
but a shrine to human foresight, strength of granite, power of glaciers, the persistence of life, and the tranquility of the High Sierra. Yosemite National Park, one of the first wilderness parks in the United States, is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.





Save on Tickets

Discount SeaWorld tickets
San Diego

Discount Legoland California tickets


Discount Disneyland Tickets