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Southern California is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, the place to spend time at national parks and explore the great outdoors. You’ll find several national parks and landmarks across the region, as well as historic parks and recreation areas where you can soak up the sun and see monuments.
The Mojave National Preserve is one of the most-visited areas in this region, the perfect place to enjoy an outdoor excursion and explore the diverse desert area. This preserve provides a variety of outdoor recreation activities, including hiking, dune rids, and horseback riding. It’s located near Needles and you could easily spend an entire day here exploring the desert.
Don’t miss the chance to explore California’s Channel Islands, one of the most relaxing designations on the central California coast. The Channel Islands National Park is the perfect destination to go kayaking, swimming, diving, and whale watching. If you’re visiting during the months of December through April, look forward to catching blue whales in the ocean and seeing sea lions, seals, and exotic birds around the area.
Take a tour of the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument and park to see the preserved office and Chavez Gravesite firsthand. The site encompasses 116 acres of land and celebrates the life of the famous Civil Rights leader. it’s one of the most-visited historical attractions in the Central Valley of California and you’ll find several exhibits that tell the story of the former leader. Head to the Memorial Garden to see roses in full bloom year round. Learn about the life of Chavez through a series of short films and see several art exhibits.
Joshua Tree National Park is a haven for hiking enthusiasts and offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy an outdoor adventure. It’s easily accessible from Interstate 10 and State Route 62, the perfect place to go on a guided walking tour and see some unique rock formations. If you’re visiting from October through May, be sure to pay a visit to the Black Rock Nature Center to learn more about the region. Trek across the impressive landscape and backcountry roads, hike through the walking trails, and go on a rock climbing adventure all in one day.
Other points of interest for outdoor adventures around Southern California include the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and Cabrillo National Monument. Southern California is also home to a number of state parks and recreation areas where you can enjoy the sunshine and water activities. Make your way to Malibu Creek State Park for a day of hiking along 15 miles of trails. This is also a popular spot to go horseback riding or birdwatching for the day.
If you’re renting dirt bikes for the day, head to the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area for easy access to Arroyo Grande and five miles of beautiful beaches. It’s the only state park that allows for driving on the beach and you can head out to the ocean to enjoy some swimming and surfing activities. Go horseback riding along the coast for the ultimate experience.
Southern California is also blessed with several historic parks, including the Fort Tejon State Historic Park, Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, and the La Purisima Mission State Historic Park. Head here to learn about old battlefields, see historic monuments, and discover California’s citrus history.
If you’re in the mood for a day at the beach, make your way to San Diego or Los Angeles to soak up the sunshine and enjoy some beach volleyball. You’ll find dozens of beautiful beaches across the region and around Orange County. Pack a picnic and enjoy a few hours of people watching, shopping for souvenirs, or swimming in the ocean. Many beaches are lined with great restaurants and beach bars so you’ll also find plenty of social activities in these regions.