Read about all of my favorite Death Valley spots here
Redwoods National Park
National MonumentsCalifornia also has 11 different National Monuments. Some are 1,000’s of acres and some are just a small piece of land, but all of them encompass a beauty that makes California unique. I have only travelled to a couple of them, but have left the full list here for you to enjoy and will update more as I get to visit more of them. Check them out below.
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Monument
Muir Woods is the closest spot to see redwood trees in the San Francisco area. The monument area is situated in a lush canyon, where you can stroll among the giants on a dozen or so miles of trails. The area technically extends all the way out to the coast as well, including the fantastic Muir Overlook, which is a very popular spot for travelers on Pacific Coast Highway. Read about both of these spots below.
Carrizo Plain National Monument is a preserved area over 50 miles long and 15 miles across. It is the largest native grassland still remaining in California and it paints a picture of what the area would have looked like before humans settled it. Painted Rock also sits in the middle of the park and it is one of the best collection of rock art in California. The San Andreas Fault runs along the east portion of the park, making some impressive mountains that you can look up at. The area is best visited during the spring when the wildflowers are at full bloom.
Lava Beds National Monument
One of the most unique of all California's National Monuments, Lava Beds has over 700 lava tubes throughout its 40,000 acres. The park has developed trails to at least 20 of them and they are all so unique that it makes for an amazing place to explore. It is really out of the way when you are driving around California, but it is worth it to see. Here are the places I have explored in the park.
California Coastal National Monument
These are the rest of the National Monuments, I have not visited any of them yet but you can see them below.
Fort Ord National Monument
"Fort Ord National Monument encompasses a sweeping landscape of vivid beauty and rich biodiversity in the heart of California’s Central Coast. In addition to its biological wonders, the area is notable for its historical significance, including its role in the Spanish settlement of California and in the military training of generations of American soldiers. The monument, which was designated in 2012, is a world-class destination for hikers, mountain bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts who come to enjoy the area’s history and scenic landscapes."
Charrizo Plain National Monument
"The Carrizo Plain is a large enclosed plain, approximately 50 miles long and up to 15 miles across, in southeastern San Luis Obispo County, California. It contains the 250,000 acre Carrizo Plain National Monument, and it is the largest single native grassland remaining in California. It includes Painted Rock in the Carrizo Plain Rock Art Discontiguous District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2012 it was further designated a National Historic Landmark due to its archeological value. It is one of the easiest places to view surface fractures of the San Andreas Fault which traverses below the plain."
Giant Sequoia National Monument
"The monument includes 38 of the 39 Giant Sequoia groves in the Sequoia National Forest, amounting to about half of the sequoia groves currently in existence. This includes one of the ten largest Giant Sequoias, the Boole Tree. Its two parts are around Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks."
World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument
"Valor in the Pacific encompasses nine sites in three states associated with World War II: The Attack on Pearl Harbor, including the USS Arizona, Utah, and Oklahoma memorials in Hawaii; the Aleutian Islands Campaign on Attu Island, Kiska Island, and Atka Island in Alaska; and the Japanese American internment at Tule Lake War Relocation Center in California."
National Historic SitesHere are the national historic sites in California. Most of them I have not been able to visit yet but here is the list so that you can visit them.
- Eugene O’Neill
- Fort Point
- Manzanar - Read about my time at Manzanar here.