Beaches, Desert, Mountains, And Everything In Between

It is hard to define California as a state. Geographically, it boasts awe inspiring mountains, beaches, forests, and deserts. It covers the cultural gamut as a technology mecca, cinema cornerstone, hippie hotspot, all with plenty of small town charm.

One’s experience of California is more expressive of what you choose to do rather than what the state has to offer. While we occasionally wander into urban areas, we mostly stick to wilderness areas. Let me share a few tips.

Things To See In California

Drive Highway 1
Take a selfie in front of El Capitan
Camp among the red woods
Build a bon fire on Dockweiler Beach
Hug a Joshua Tree
Walk the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
Swim in Lake Tahoe
Dig through Glass Beach

Visiting Parks In California

While California’s metropolitan areas contain a great density of humanity, wilderness is never that far away. California hosts nine National Parks.

Channel Islands National Park
Death Valley National Park
Joshua Tree National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Pinnacles National Park
Redwood National Park
Sequoia National Park
Kings Canyon National Park
Yosemite National Park

Hiking In California

California is a hiker’s dream.
It a host of the Pacific Crest Trail. You can hike up El Capitan. Or test your limits explore Death Valley in the summer. The terrain is so varied that it is hard to give generally guidence for hiking in California. Keep in mind that, as an outdoor destination, California’s iconic trails can be heavily trafficked. Some, like Mount Whitney, require permits in advance. Granted, we focus on the more accessible routes.

Camping In California

If you intent to camp at a developed campsite in California, plan ahead. Popular regions may have space for the last minute camper, but at a steep premium in private campgrounds. For the most part, if it is a campground on public land (a National, State, or County Park) it will likely be booked up months in advance.

For urban campers, Los Angeles and many other counties in California have banned overnight parking in common sites like Walmart and even city streets. A stealth camper may manage, but even visiting friends and family can be complicated if you have an obvious camper and hope to park it on the street. Be aware of local laws. Those tickets are expensive.

With all that in mind, I’m sure you can understand why we gravitate to the less populated and undeveloped boondocking options across California. There are amazing options across the state but you have to be flexible. Popular places like Yosemite are just too touristy to support boondocking.

The Dog Problem

There are a lot of complaints around California’s dog policies. Metropolitan areas in California tend to be very dog friendly. But the wilderness areas are mostly reserved for wild animals, not domesticated ones. It is a point of frustration for dog owners but an important precaution in supporting wildlife that already has the challenges of living in undeveloped pockets hemmed in by highways. If you are a dog (or any other pet) owner, it is important to be conscious of dog friendly areas and the wildlife that these policies are meant to protect.

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Lexi lives in a truck camper down by the river.