One of the quick trips that I like to take out-of-state visitors to see is the Joshua Tree National Park. It’s about a two-hour drive for Los Angeles and offers a view of California’s topography and botanical variety in one trip. No one has ever said, “How boring,” and usually it’s oohs and aahs at the scenery.
Entrance fees at National Parks – parks owned and operated by the federal government – usually run from about $10 to $80 depending upon what type of pass you buy; though some folks – military, disabled, for example, can get in free. However, in honor of the 100 year birthday of the National Park Service, there will be entrance fee–free dates for everyone in 2016:
- January 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- April 16 through 24: National Park Week
- August 25 through 28: National Park Service Birthday
- September 24: National Public Lands Day
- November 11: Veterans Day
There are a couple of National Parks within a short drive time from Los Angeles:
For those willing to drive longer and further, these are the other parks in California:
Death Valley National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lava Beds National Monument
Muir Woods National Monument
Pinnacles National Park
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
Yosemite National Park.
For the truly adventurous, you can see the nationwide National Parks that will be free on the days indicated at http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparksbystate.htm
Please check with each park for operating hours and event schedules.