The Point Reyes Lighthouse

Up and down the state, California is full of natural beauty and wonder. So the EnviroVoters staff has recommended some of their favorite parks, beaches, and nature spots that are perhaps a little less famous and less crowded than Yosemite and Joshua Tree but no less majestic.

Check out our staff suggestions for hidden outdoor gems in California to visit this summer:

Kings Canyon National Park, because it’s the home to many majestic sequoia trees, including Redwood Canyon – the largest remaining grove of sequoias in the world and the General Grant tree, the second largest sequoia in the world.” – Ameen Khan

Zabriskie Point in Death Valley, Emerald Bay State Park in Lake Tahoe, Alamere Falls hike in Point Reyes National Seashore, the American River. Sitting at one of the many parks in Sacramento with some music and a book!” – Melissa Romero

“My favorite place to be outdoors is a tie between Sonoma County – hiking and biking around Point Reyes National Seashore, and around the foothills of Bodega Bay is incredible – and the Coastal Redwoods. Love those two parts of the state!” – Elise Fandrich

“My favorite hike: Medicine Buddha Retreat Center.” – Tammy Chan

“My favorite hike is at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont.” – Sarah Lyons

Lands End at the northwestern corner of San Francisco has been my favorite local hike ever since I moved to the Bay Area over a decade ago. The short, flat hike offers quick glimpses of the iconic golden bridge at every turn with stunning views of the rocky ocean (and sometimes shipwrecks depending on the time of the day) on one side and hillsides on the other covered with native plants. I’ve brought visitors old and new here to soak in the views, explore Sutro Baths, and sometimes offered them unexpected history tours. Did you know a little-known case in Sutro Baths in 1897 was a precursor to the national Civil Rights Act of 1964?” – Veda Banerjee

Claremont Loop!” – Matt Abularach-Macias

Lake Chabot!” – Mary Creasman

“Growing up in Southern California, I would drive to Point Dume in Malibu to hike up the hill, admire the incredible view at the top, and check out the rocks and shells on the other side. In the Bay Area, my go-to spot was Tilden Regional Park in the East Bay, where I’d hike, go for runs, and grill Top Dogs in the picnic area.” – Jonathan Kuperberg

“For those who love being in the water you can snorkel or (preferably) scuba dive in the gorgeous underwater Casino Point Dive Park off Catalina. But for those who prefer to stay a little drier, there’s amazing whale watching practically year round off California’s coast. I particularly recommend the whale watching around the Channel Islands, and you can enjoy one of the most underrated National Parks while you’re out there!” – Mike Young

“A perfect location to visit for hiking, a great view, the observatory, or the LA Zoo is Griffith Park. There is something for everyone in the family to enjoy.” – Danielle Graham

Steckel Park, Santa Paula. Ventura has this great advertising campaign saying “Heal your Inside, Outside” and for me this park is such a hidden gem. With great hiking trails, fresh water streams, amazing bird watching, and seeing the joy in the faces of mostly Santa Paula locals enjoying the outdoors with their families make this park a truly a hidden gem!” – Oscar Garcia

Shopping Basket

We hope you can join us on Friday, May 31, 2024 in Los Angeles for an evening of music, drinks, and small bites at LA’s coolest party as we celebrate this year’s Badass in Green Honorees! Through April 26, we are running our Earth Week Special — buy one ticket, get another one free.