Onward, exploring California’s nine national parks!

The General Sherman Tree, largest tree in the world, attracts a crowd in Sequoia National Park.

Kings Canyon National Park, sister to Sequoia, offers stunning vistas like this one!

Seven weeks ago, we began a tour of our Golden State’s nine national parks, starting with Pinnacles National Park, south of Hollister, CA.   Some of the best, most iconic and the second-oldest of all the US’s national parks are located in California, and most of them are just hours away from anywhere in Northern California!

So far, we have profiled Pinnacles, Yosemite, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.  Can you name the other three (they are coming up in the next few weeks!

Are your kids able to name all nine of the national parks in California (spoiler alert; answers below)?  As noted earlier, someone who gets six right is a “parks expert”, seven, a “parks guru”, eight, a “parks wunderkind” and all nine – they should become a “park ranger”!  Remember, we are talking national parks; you can’t count national monuments, sea shores or the like!  These lands were set aside, beginning with Yosemite, in an effort to preserve their hallowed natural wonders for generations to come!

Grab those calendars (these hallowed landscapes get very busy during summer school vacations, so book lodging or camping soon!) and begin planning to see all of these splendid treasures this late spring or summer.    Some can be seen on a long day-trip; though to do them justice, you need more than one day.

All these parks offer camping and relatively inexpensive lodging nearby, so frugal travelers can make the journey without breaking the bank.  They are particularly kind to seniors (with a Federal Senior Pass available at each park for nominal cost, you get free park admission and save ½ off on federal campground fees).  Several of the parks are close to one-another; hence you might manage to see two or three on one longer exploration!

Along the journey, you will find “how to get there, what to see, what to bring and what’s nearby” tips on all these grand lands.

Enjoy the ride and get busy exploring California!

Here are California’s nine national parks:
1. Channel Islands National Park
2. Death Valley National Park
3. Joshua Tree National Park
4. Kings Canyon National Park
5. Lassen Volcano National Park
6. Pinnacles National Park
7. Redwood National Park
8. Sequoia National Park
9. Yosemite National Park

Others national properties like these don’t count (though they can be equally dramatic and fulfilling…):
1. Point Reyes National Seashore
2. Cabrillo National Monument

Enjoy the journey!  For other travel ideas and inspiration, see my travel blog: blogs.esanjoaquin.com/valleytravel; to contact me, tviall@msn.com.

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