The inaugural California State Parks Week is coming up and with dozens of activities to commemorate the first-of-its-kind event — and hundreds of parks and beaches that California residents have access to — here is what explorers should know.
California State Parks Week will kick off on Tuesday, June 14, and will run through Saturday, June 18, offering a series of in-person and virtual events at parks and beaches across the state, all the way from Shasta to San Diego.
“State Parks is excited to welcome the first-ever California State Parks Week, which celebrates the oldest state park system in the nation,” Armando Quintero, director of California State Parks, said in a March news release. “California’s state parks are as unique and diverse as the state itself. They help preserve and protect the state’s natural and cultural history for generations to come. I hope this week gives everyone a chance to visit the outdoors, enjoy its beauty and find their own connection with California’s great outdoors.”
While many activities throughout the week are free to the public, some events cost to attend and others require an RSVP before attending. Entrance fees will not be waived for the festivities. The events follow themed days throughout the week, including a kids career day and a day devoted to health and wellness.
Below, we have highlighted some of the events held each day. You can find a full breakdown of the virtual and in-person events and locate one near you by clicking on the hyperlinked themes.
Tuesday, June 14: Land Acknowledgement Day
- Explore Land of the First People (San Diego): Visitors are encouraged to check out Iipay ~ Tipay Kumeyaay Mut Niihepok, Land of the First People, at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. You can RSVP for this free event by clicking here.
- Interpretive Hike focused on Washoe and indigenous peoples (Tahoma): Explore the Ed Z’Berg Sugar Pine Point State Park with this half-mile interpretive hike that dives into the history of native people. This event is free and wheelchair accessible.
- Native American basket weaving class (San Clemente): Learn the basket-weaving ways of the original Native Americans who occupied the land at this event held at San Clemente State Historic Beach Cottage. RSVP for this free event here.
- Ancient Land, Sacred Mountain (Big Sur): This nature walk brings guests to Andrew Molera State Park to learn about the plants, animals and cultural history of the area. This event costs $10 per vehicle and tickets can be purchased here.
Wednesday, June 15: Kids Career Day
- Junior Archaeology and Junior Geology (Bridgeport): Has your little one ever dreamed of visiting remote lands to discover ancient treasures or to study the history that can be found within rocks? Learn the basics of archaeology and geology at Bodie State Historic Park with this free event that is open to all from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Meet a State Park Interpreter at Point Lobos (Carmel-By-The-Sea): Do you have questions about what it’s like to be an interpreter at a California State Park? This program offers kids the chance to ask questions during the live-streamed event, which will be held from a kayak in Whalers Cove. You can register for the virtual event here.
- My Fun Future in the Outdoors (Solana Beach): Learn about everything from lifeguarding to park maintenance during this event in San Diego’s North County. Employees will share their favorite things about working for a California State Park and answer any questions about the parks system. There’s also a kids coloring contest for attendees!
- Hearst Castle Careers (San Simeon): This virtual event allows inquisitive children to explore some of the lesser-known jobs connected to this historical treasure, maintained by the California State Parks.
- Junior Ranger Program (Calistoga): Explore nature, learn to identify animals, and check out the plants at Ritchey Creek in Bothe- Napa Valley State Park. This program will also feature a guided hike with a ranger who is ready to answer questions about the role and how to protect the California State Parks.
Thursday, June 16: Health and Wellness Day
- Tai-Chi at the Beach (Huntington Beach): Kick off your morning with a free tai-chi lesson at Huntington State Beach. Be sure to set your alarm clock, though, because this event begins at 7:30 a.m.
- Kayak Tour (Goleta): Take in the views of the Gaviota coastline and explore the kelp beds during this free kayak tour event at the Refugio State Beach. While the event is free, spaces are limited so attendees are expected to RSVP ahead of the day.
- Yoga at the Historic Cottage Patio (San Clemente): Feed your soul with this free session of yoga at San Clemente State Beach Historic Cottage Visitor Center. If you are interested in taking part, you can RSVP for the program by clicking here.
- Walk Through a Gold Mine (Grass Valley): Not for the faint of heart, this two and a half-mile hike will take visitors through the Empire Mine State Park with views of the Prescot Hill Mine, Betsy Mine, Conlon Mine, and Daisy Hill Mine. RSVP for this event here.
Friday, June 17: Stewardship Day
- Keep Wildlife Wild (Oceano): This event at the Oceano Dunes includes free activities on best practices to keep wildlife and plants safe and healthy.
- Tin Can Beach History (Huntington Beach): Learn about what it takes to break down and degrade trash and participate in a short beach cleanup effort during this program at Huntington Beach.
- Open House in the Butterfly Garden (Dana Point): Held in the Butterfly Garden at the Doheny State Beach park, this event is all about plant restoration and learning about pollinator plants and their impact on the environment.
- Half Moon Bay Coastal Habitat Restoration (Dunes Beach): Learn about habitat restoration and help to restore dune and bluff vegetation during this stewardship program. This event focuses specifically on fighting the effects of climate change on natural habitats.
- Make Native Plant Sea Balls (San Clemente): “Create more native habitat in your own backyard” through this event, which allows attendees to make seed balls with wildflower seeds. The event is free and open to all ages.
Saturday, June 18: Partnership Day/Volunteer Day
- Summer in the Redwoods: A Celebration of Community and Inclusion in California State Parks (Orick): Celebrate the inclusive history of representation in the California State Parks with this event that is also put on by the National Park Service and Save the Redwoods League. Multi-lingual interpretive programs are available and the event will include a resource fair, food, music and more activities.
- Victims of the Code, Duels and Duelists of Early California (Benicia): Thanks to “Hamilton,” the general public knows a thing or two about duels. But do you know about the history of duels in California? This program provides guests with a background on the often-deadly process and the legality of it.
- Become a San Juan Bautista State Historic Park volunteer (San Juan Bautista): Time traveling is possible when you become a volunteer at the San Juan Bautista State Historic Park. Opportunities to volunteer include blacksmithing, tortilla making, historic card playing, and more! RSVP for this event here.
- “Thank You, Volunteers” Public Walk (San Diego): Take a beautiful two hour hike through Torrey Pines State Natural Preserve with this free event. The hike is described as “easy to moderate” and you will be immersed in the experience with facts about the history of the site.