Celebrate Your Parks
Today is Earth Day, and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate than spending a beautiful day visiting California’s parks and beaches. To help you get going on your Earth Day festivities, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite spots to spend time with Mother Nature.
HELEN PUTNAM PARK, PETALUMA
Located just south of Petaluma, Helen Putnam is the perfect spot for horseback riding, cycling and features trails for beginner and experienced hikers alike. A bonus for springtime visitors: the 216 acres of the park bloom with wildflowers during the season.
ALSTON PARK, NAPA
A favorite of dog owners, Alston Park is a 2.5 mile loop trail in Napa noted for its views of Napa Valley, off-leash enclosed areas for both large and small dogs, and occasional hot air balloon spotting. Bring a furry friend or go it alone—it’s enjoyable either way!
Just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, Mt. Tam is the highest peak of the Marin Hills, and its 50+ miles of trails within the park make it a favorite amongst local hikers and cyclists. If you’re looking to make it a longer trip, get there early. Camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
For stunning views of the Bay, visit Grizzly Peak in the Berkeley Hills. The summit borders Tilden Regional Park, and is a favorite at sunset. Pro tip: bring a sweater! The hills can get windy.
With a botanical garden, a lake, hiking trails and even a carousel, Tilden has something for everyone. Located between Orinda and Berkeley, there are multiple trails to tackle, both long and short. But do your research prior to visiting, as many trails do not allow dogs.
REGIONAL REDWOODS PARK
Don’t let the name fool you: there are more than just Redwood trees here. Among the 1,830 acres, spot evergreens, grasslands, and the animals that inhabit them. This forest is hidden outside Downtown Oakland, but your Uber driver can follow Redwood Road to get there easily.
ASILOMAR STATE BEACH
To take in one mile of rocky coasts and sand dunes, visit Asilomar in Pacific Grove, near Monterey. Its clear waters and white sand are a highlight, and it’s a great place for a nature walk.
SEACLIFF STATE BEACH, APTOS
There are plenty of beaches in an around Santa Cruz, but Seacliff is a rare gem. Lying at the end of a long fishing pier, you’ll find the SS Palo Alto, a concrete ship with a past life as an amusement park and dance club.
SAN LORENZO PARK, SANTA CRUZ
Whether you’re looking for a spot to picnic and play for the day, or set up camp for the weekend, San Lorenzo has it all. It’s also home to the annual Earth Day celebration, which gives it a well-deserved spot on our list.
MCKINLEY ROSE GARDEN, SACRAMENTO
More than 1,200 roses reside in this Sacramento Park, covering 1.5 acres. Take a walk, bring a book, or just sit down and relax. However you choose to spend your time here, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.
CASWELL MEMORIAL PARK, RIPON
Located near Ripon along the Stanislaus River, this park covers 258 acres and is home to many endangered species. Camp, hike, fish or take in the gorgeous forest of oak trees at this state park.
SAN LUIS RESERVOIR, GUSTINE
Take a trip out to Gustine, where you can take in one of California’s largest reservoirs alongside beautiful scenery. The state recreation area offers camping, parking, boating and picnicking opportunities, but fans of fishing will be especially pleased with the variety of species.
LOS GATOS CREEK TRAIL
Welcoming walkers, runners, cyclists, skaters, and even pups, this spot passes through San Jose and Los Gatos and is home to many gaggles of geese. A note for fitness buffs: equipment is planted at various points throughout the trail, so keep your eyes open!
LONG RIDGE OPEN SPACE PRESERVE, NAPA
Choose one of 10 trails at this lush park outside of Cupertino and Saratoga, with a range of difficulty levels. Fans rave about the scenery, and love that it’s connected to other regional parks so you can easily extend your hike.
Go for a run, walk or hike at this popular Palo Alto trail. Roundtrip, you’ll complete about 4 miles, taking in views of the Peninsula along the way. And you can’t miss the Dish – a radio telescope used by the University to communicate with spacecrafts.
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