Yosemite National Park
Yosemite has everything an outdoor enthusiast dreams of. Towering rock walls. Check. Gorgeous waterfalls. Check. Backcountry hiking to avoid the crowds. Check.
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is astounding and home to the world's largest tree. Driving in and seeing the giant sequoias will blow your mind, as few things do in this world.
Redwoods National Park
I didn't know what to expect when visiting Redwoods National Park for the first time. Only once you step foot in the lush environment of northern California can you fully appreciate how incredible it is.
Kings Canyon National Park
Most of KCNP is hard to reach, which is why it isn't high on most tourist lists. But if you're looking for epic backpacking routes like Rae Lakes, this beautiful section of the Sierra Nevada range will give you goosebumps.
Death Valley National Park
Your jaw will continuously hit the floor as you explore the park and experience Badwater Basin's unique octagon-shaped salt flats, the Star Wars-like Mesquite Sand Dune, and all of the park's stunning formations and textures.
Channel Islands National Park
Channel Island National Park is a gem just off the coast of Ventura and Santa Barbara. Thanks to boat-only access, it's comparatively empty, which means you are generally free from tourists as you hike or camp on the island chain.