6 Must-Visit National Parks Near San Diego

6 Must-Visit National Parks Near San Diego

After basking in the sun on the beach and exploring the many restaurants, lounges and shops in downtown San Diego, you may find yourself looking for a different kind of attraction. Luckily, there are many California national parks near San Diego. You can reach most of these parks in seven hours or less, and they offer the chance to experience wildlife sightings, beautiful scenery and other exciting outdoor adventures.

1. Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is about 160 miles northeast of San Diego and gets its name from the iconic trees that make up the park's diverse landscape. Since this is the closest national park to San Diego, you can reach the park in under three hours.

As you make your way through the park, you will see many unique towering rock formations that are the result of millions of years of erosion. If you happen to be at the park later in the day, you may be lucky enough to view one of the park's many stunning sunsets.

2. Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park is about 200 miles north of San Diego and consists of five islands off the coast of Southern California. To get to the park, you will take a scenic drive through Orange County and Los Angeles before arriving at Ventura. From Ventura, you will take a ferry to the islands.

Since the national park consists of multiple islands, you will have a different adventure on each island you visit. Regardless of which island you choose to explore, you can find stunning ocean views and plenty of wildlife, such as seals and birds.

3. Death Valley National Park

If you are looking for something extreme, Death Valley National Park is a great choice. Located close to 280 miles from San Diego, the national park is home to some of the country's hottest temperatures and epic desert scenery.

Death Valley National Park has over three million acres of land to explore and is a great location to try activities such as hiking, stargazing and photography. Check out the salt flats of Bathwater Basin or take a scenic drive along Artists Drive for some unforgettable views.

4. Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park offers the best in desert flora and fauna. This park is worth the 400-mile trip to see life in the desert which includes towering saguaro cacti and desert scrub brushes.

One of the best things to do in Saguaro National Park is to hike on the 165 miles of trails. Two of the most popular trails are the Valley View Overlook Trail and the Signal Hill Trail.

5. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is a nature lover's paradise with towering trees and hidden waterfalls. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is about 325 miles from San Diego, and during the drive, you will pass through popular destinations like Santa Ana, Anaheim and Los Angeles.

One of the top attractions at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is the General Sherman Tree, the largest living single-stem tree. There are also waterfalls to explore such as Tokopah Falls and Moro Rock which is a great place to take in sweeping landscape views.

6. Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park is a newer addition to the list of national parks in California and is around 400 miles from San Diego. This park is large enough that it consists of a west and east entrance and is an excellent spot for hiking and rock climbing.

On the park's east side, you will find caves formed by massive boulders. The west side features a 2.4-mile Balconies Cave loop that is fun to explore with headlamps. Regardless of which side of the park you explore, keep an eye out for the rare California condor bird who calls the park home.

Where to Stay

As you plan your vacation around which of the many national parks you want to visit during your trip to southern California, you will need some place to serve as your home base to return to at the end of each trip. That's where Boulevard / Cleveland National Forest KOA Holiday comes in. 

With spacious campsites and plenty of lodging options like RV Sites, Tent Sites, Extended Stays, Camping Cabins and RV Rentals, the campground offers something for families, couples or even those looking to call the campground home for a couple weeks to a couple months.

In addition to numerous campsite options, there are many different amenities to enjoy such as clean bathrooms, hiking trails and an outdoor pool. As a campground that promotes health, wellness and environmental sustainability, you can feel confident that staying at the campground will help you feel great both inside and out.

Start Planning Your Trip to Boulevard / Cleveland National Forest KOA Holiday Today

Whether you are looking for a weekend away or want to set down roots for a month or two before moving on to the next KOA, the campground is ready to welcome you for a once-in-a-lifetime camping experience. Start planning your Southern California getaway by booking your stay at Boulevard / Cleveland National Forest KOA Holiday today!

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