Step Outside - California WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 Step Outside - California 144 144 Tue, 05 Mar 2024 02:39:24 -0600 10 Best Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in California! California is a hiker's paradise. There are many spectacular trails to explore, some with panoramic views, others with streams that meander through lush forests. But for those of us with four-legged friends, the challenge of finding trails that are both enjoyable and safe can be daunting. To make the search a little easier, here are the 10 best dog friendly hiking trails in California:

This 4,163 acre park is a perfect place to let your pup explore the beauty of nature. With 135 years worth of mining activities to discover, visitors can also catch a glimpse of the area’s past by exploring the remnants of the mining era.

This 366 acre nature reserve offers six miles of trails with elevation changes of around 500 feet, ensuring a great workout for both you and your pup. Your adventure awaits!

This 200 acre park is a great spot for those looking for an easy leisurely stroll with their pooch, as it’s relatively free of elevation changes. Find out why Glendora natives choose to bring their pups here!

This 3,464 acre park offers some spectacular views of Monterey Bay, as well as plenty of trails to choose from. The park is a great destination for those looking for a more challenging hike, as different trails offer various levels of difficulty for you and your four legged friends.

This park is the only “untouched” part of the peninsula range, making it an ideal spot to take in the breathtaking views of the South Bay. With plenty of trails to explore and some great picnic spots, you and your pup will be sure to have a great time.

The Ocean Trails Reserve offers both a great hiking spot, as well as restored or preserved habitat areas for the California gnatcatcher. Spend a day exploring what the Ocean Trails Reserve has to offer with your pup.

This 315 acre lake was closed to recreation for 91 years, so it’s sure to provide a peaceful and tranquil experience for both you and your pup.

This 160 acre park located at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains offers plenty of trails to explore. It is a great spot for those looking to take in some spectacular views of Los Angeles, look out over the expanse with your dog and have an active day out!

This trail is a great option for more experienced hikers and canines, as the terrain is a bit more challenging than some of the other trails listed here. Safely, explore the wonder of Eagle Rock with your four legged friends or experienced hiking buddies.

This 128 acre park located near Laurel Canyon Boulevard is a popular destination for both hikers and dog walkers alike. With a large parking lot, restrooms, and a picnic area, Wilacre Park is a great spot for all looking to explore the great outdoors.

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5 Energizing Hikes in California If you’ve grown bored with easy hikes, it’s time to up the ante. Throughout California, you can find intermediate hiking trails that help you to increase your workout. Some of the best trails in the state’s numerous national parks are short enough for anyone to try, but have intense terrain that is more suitable for a hiker looking for a challenge. Here are just a few of the most energizing hikes in California! 

The Lower Holcomb Canyon hike requires some dexterity as you must boulder hop and be a little adventurous in creating your own trail. Depending on your fitness level and sense of adventure, you can make the hike loop around easily or explore some of the features of the canyon to extend your time outdoors.

Located in the scenic Santa Monica Mountains, this 3.5-mile roundtrip trek is of moderate difficulty. You’ll break a sweat, but you’ll also be afforded views of Balanced Rock and Carlisle Canyon. The oak grove of Split Rock provides a shady area—perfect for setting up a picnic after your adventure. 

The wilderness area of Laguna Beach offers a rare glimpse into seldom seen coastal canyons. Rocky terrain and steep bluffs make for stunning views and a workout that you can’t get at the gym. Come prepared with plenty of water as you walk through the acres of beautiful wildlife.

The Meysan Lakes trails are around Mount Whitney but do not lead to the famous peak. However, you can find some pretty strenuous hiking trails in the area, especially if you plan to visit all three lakes in one day. Check trail conditions and understand what you are getting into before you make your plans. The rewards of this rigorous hike are breathtaking. 

The Mist Trail is one of Yosemite’s most celebrated hikes, thanks to new and stunning views at every twist and turn. Although beginners can start on the trail, they likely won’t finish as the full hike can get take up to five hours. The higher you climb, the more strenuous it gets, which means that you can temper the hike according to your comfort and skill level. Earlier in the day tends to be better if you’re looking to avoid crowds. 

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5 Cool Spots for ATV Off-Roading in California California isn’t all cities and towns. When you need to get out and off the beaten track, you can head to one of California’s numerous ATV off-roading trails. Family fun, buddy trips, and more can be planned around the state’s ATV adventures. Many offer campgrounds so that you can spend the night in an RV or tent after your ride. Here are five cool spots for ATV off-roading in the Golden State. 

Ocotillo Wells has over 85,000 acres to explore. You can camp but be sure to check the website for the rules and the supplies that you can and can’t bring into the area. While fans love the Wild West, comforts like clean bathrooms stocked with everything you need are also appreciated. Spend the day or night to enjoy the natural beauty. And be sure to be respectful so that Ocotillo Wells can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Just miles from the Mexican border, Heber Dunes is a favorite for ATV riders and other off-road vehicles. You can’t camp but you can play in the dunes from dawn until dusk. Winding trails and different types of sand dunes mean that you’ll have plenty of space to explore for a day. You can also find classes on safety and rules of the off-road. You’ll also find community events and other activities that come up during holiday weekends and other fun things to do at Heber Dunes.

Hollister Hills is filled with various ranches to take out your ATV.  Have a picnic or campout and enjoy panoramic views and amazing trails. The Upper Ranch sits on 800 acres and has about 24 miles of trails to explore. Watch out for wildlife and be cautious. The stunning views and few crowds make it a favorite spot to enjoy. Maps and clearly marked trails make it a place to experience nature safely.

As the third largest unit of California State Park’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division, Hungry Valley is one of the more accessible SRVA spots for the city of Los Angles. Just a short ride north of the city off the I-5, Hungry Valley is an easy weekend getaway for when you need to get away but the kids are still in school. The vast variety of trails means that you can be a beginner or an experienced rider and find a trail or two to experience.

Located near Oroville, Clay Pit is a small but prime spot for riding motorcycles, ATVs and 4x4s. The pit is left over from the days of building the Oroville Dam. It’s a prime spot for beginners or teaching kids. There aren’t many jumps or different types of terrain, so it’s easier to get acclimated to the area.

*Note: Age restrictions, special licenses, and other requirements for off highway vehicles vary from state to state. Before heading out on your OHV, please consult your local regulations.

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5 Amazing Dirt Motorcycle Trails in California The expansive state of California has tons of terrain, trails, and areas for dirt biking. California offers both public and private motorcycle trails for dirt biking, making it one of the most popular places in the world for the sport. Make sure you have all the necessary permits and requirements for any dirt biking you do in government managed areas. Here are five awesome spots. 

The Mojave Desert has many places to ride and it is a convenient day trip from many parts of Southern California. The Jawbone Canyon store can point out where to find great trails as well as help you with supplies like diesel and food for your ride. The Mojave is peaceful and inspirational so you can get some great photos and see some great things as you explore. Make sure to stay within the designated areas as you don’t want to cause harm to the fragile ecosystem there. 

Stonyford has tons of trails to explore and be sure not to veer off the path or you’ll face serious fines. There are watering holes, steep trails, and plenty of beautiful sites to discover. Trails are marked and rated and even experienced riders will enjoy the challenge of some of the steeper and higher trails.  

Catch a race or sign up to hit the track at Competitive Edge. You can also take a class or campout for a quick getaway. There are four tracks open to the public and you’ll find maps and information are easy to access. Tracks are nicely maintained and updated. It’s fun for all ages although waivers are required for minors. 

The Perris Raceway offers a well-maintained flat track that is watered via hoses and kept nicely for the fans that visit the raceway throughout the year. There are jumps and the terrain is smooth and the spot has favorable reviews from riders. You can also catch or join a race or two.

The Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area is situated in the hills of Alameda. The surrounding nature is breathtaking, and the area boasts 1,300 acres of space to ride. The terrain varies, according to its website, with areas of dry rocky washes, rolling hills, and steep, rugged canyons. 

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5 Exhilarating Jet Skiing Spots in California Jet skiing is a true thrill—wind in your hair, water spraying, and catching awesome waves. Not only is jet skiing fun, but it has great health benefits as well, such as improved coordination. One of the best places in the country to tear it up on the water is in beautiful, sunny California. Soak in the scenery and enjoy your day outside at these five exhilarating jet skiing spots in the Golden State. 

With over 11,200 acres including the park, Castaic Lake is Southern California’s largest reservoir formed by Castaic Dam in the beautiful Sierra Pelona Mountains. Open daily, except on Christmas Day, from sunrise to sunset, you’ll have no trouble finding something to do. Boating, fishing, wakeboarding, jet skiing, kayaking, and sailing are just a few of the activities that will delight water lovers Land lovers can enjoy picnics on the beach, hiking, horseback riding, and simply basking in nature. Vehicle entry fees, boat launch fees, and camping fees apply, so make sure to plan in advance. 

Imagine flying across the water with the wind and water in your hair and heart pumping with excitement on your own one or two-person jet ski. That’s what you’ll experience when you go on a jet ski adventure between Marina del Rey and Paradise Cove in central California. Originally a salt marsh fed by fresh water from a nearby creek and a popular duck hunting area, the marina is now a harbor for pleasure craft and small boats.

To witness some of the most breathtaking beauty in California, make a stop at Big Bear Lake. The smooth, shimmering blue waters make for a perfect day on a jet ski. Don’t have your own? Don’t worry. Big Bear Marina boasts an impressive fleet, including WaveRunners. Rates range from $100-$130 per hour, depending on what time you decide to hit the waters. Make a stop in Big Bear Lake Village after a great day to experience the quaint shops, boutiques, and cute restaurants. 

This location is truly paradise. Stop by Balboa Water Sports at Newport Beach Harbor, rent your ride, and jet ski the day away. According to the website, it doesn’t matter your level of experience, no matter what, “they are certain to treasure the experience that awaits them.” Reach up to 60 mph on the back of a Sea Doo, which can accommodate two riders. 

Southern California offers some of the most breathtakingly beautiful sights in the country, and San Diego really is the crown jewel. To experience the area to its fullest, head to San Diego Bay Adventures. Here, you can rent jet skis for some of the most reasonable rates around—and a wetsuit is included! Take one of their several jet ski tours available, one of which is a “Sunset Tour.” This tour include dinner, and captivating sights. 

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5 Beautiful Scenic Hikes in California California has many different natural wonders to explore. With forests, deserts, cityscapes, beaches, and more, you can hike your way around just about any area in the state. From famous spots and scenic views to beautiful natural wonders, you can find it all in California. Here are five beautiful scenic hikes in the Golden State. 

Between the towns of Eureka and Orick in Humboldt County is Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, home to a number of trails of varying difficulty. The Rhododendron Trail comes to life in the spring when the blossoms it is named for are in bloom. A favorite amongst photographers and artists, the trails flowers light up amongst spots of green in stunning natural light. 

The Hollywood Sign that hangs above the city may not seem accessible, but intrepid hikers have discovered that you can get close to the historic letters by following the Hollyridge Trail. The Hollywood sign is a famous marker in movies and can be spotted on the freeway and city streets below. The hike is an example of California’s unique combination of urban and natural wonders.

The Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the largest in California. The Slot hike is possibly the most famous in the region and while parking can be tricky, the result is well worth it. Unique rock formations have created what is informally known as Slot Canyon, with other-worldly beauty that makes for breathtaking photos and great memories.

Located on the least traveled parts of Route 66, Amboy Crater is actually one of the continent’s youngest volcanoes. You can hike along the rim and stare down into cavern, one of California’s amazing natural wonders. Along the way, you’ll spot stunning mountain ranges and some really old and beautiful scenery. Other trails lead to stunning geologic points of interest like Afton Canyon’s rainbow hues. 

In the spring, the poppies bloom into life and lend brilliant colors to the soft rolling hills that make for easy hiking trails. The colors change daily and each season is a little different than the last, which brings back hikers year after year. The reserve is home to animal life and offers facilities such as picnic tables so that you can picnic before or after your hike and there’s also a center filled with information and paintings. 

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ATV Off-Roading Adventure at Johnson Valley OHV Area Although it feels fairly desolate with its desert terrain, Johnson Valley is close to nearby towns so that you can make a trip of your ATV off-roading adventure. The unincorporated community in San Bernardino County is bordered by mountains on one side and the high desert on the other, so you can explore both Big Bear and the Mojave. Check out how to spend a weekend off-roading in California’s Johnson Valley and the surrounding area. 

Before you start your day of adventure, you must stop to check out Calico Ghost Town. This town is one of the few remaining in California, and not far from the Johnson Valley area. It can be a nice spot to stretch out your legs and relax before you hit the trails. 

Before you hit the trails, fill your belly with a hearty meal at the Slash X Ranch Café. The Slash X Ranch is known for filling meals and also hosts events and fundraisers for off-roading enthusiasts. Open only on weekends for cold beer and hot food, Slash X is a decades-old family business known for their delicious chili cheese fries.

Johnson Valley is one of the best spots for off-roading in America and is local for much of Southern California. Johnson Valley hosts major off-roading events each year including the “King of the Hammer” competition. At the Johnson Valley community center, you can get maps of the off-roading area, which is very expansive and has welcomed families looking for off-roading adventures for years. You can camp at Johnson Valley, and millions of visitors do each year. Johnson Valley has a variety of terrain, from spots that resemble a rough lunar landscape and are rocky enough to rip metal off your vehicle, to canyons, washes, lakebeds and plenty of trails and offshoots.

After your day in the desert, head to the mountains. Big Bear isn’t far and is pretty easy to find after a day of exploring. Teddy Bear Restaurant is a home-style cash-only spot with a breakfast-all-day menu and a children’s menu. They’re open until 11 p.m. every day of the week. 

Johnson Valley offers plenty of rural campgrounds, but if you want something a little more contemporary, then head up to the Lodge at Big Bear Lake. The rustic cabin set up has all the modern amenities and a prime location right on the edge of town. There’s even a sauna to soothe aching muscles after a long day on the trails.  

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5 Great Hiking Trails in California Hiking is a great way to spend time with your family and teach children how to explore and appreciate the natural world. Because little ones have little legs that might easily tire, new hikers often do best on short hikes. The following areas are some of the best hikes in California that both avid hikers and tiny tykes can appreciate. Look for short loops, nature centers and other learning spots that the whole family can enjoy.

Griffith Park is the perfect spot for a family hike. The wilderness area features numerous different paths to take, including short loops. Take your pick and end up at a nature center. Or make your way to the famous observatory to learn about space and stars. There are also numerous vantage points that showcase the entire city through the trees. Make a day of it and have a picnic in a specially set area or take a stroll through the nearby zoo after a day observing wild animals. Other kid-friendly attractions include pony rides, a carousel, Travel Town and more. 

Bring the kids along to the White Point Nature Preserve in San Pedro. The nature center provides an excellent starting point and resource for teaching kids about the importance of environmental protections. Trails go through the natural landscapes of California, offering occasional ocean views. Teach kids about flora and fauna as you explore some of the highlights of the nature preserve including paths, to tide pools filled with ocean dwelling creatures. Or take one of the many “easy” paths that even small kids can navigate in part on their own.

Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park have trails that showcase geological formations as well as archaeological and paleontological sites. Take a hike that goes through a historic point of interest from one of the Native American tribes in the area. You’ll find caves to explore, events and programs that cater to kids and adults, and much more. Spend a day or an hour to discover some of the beautiful lands and rocks in California. Be sure to bring sunscreen as well as cover ups to protect against the sun and brambling terrain. 

You don’t have to climb Half Dome to appreciate the natural wonders of Yosemite. The Glacier Point hike is a short loop that makes it easy to cover as a family because you can carry or walk with young new hikers. Enjoy the view and experience being in one of the world’s most celebrated natural areas. You can also camp and drive to the hiking point or stay in Yosemite Village, depending on how rough and rugged you feel like being.

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Two years ago when my Canon 24-70mm lens broke in Yosemite, I was discouraged to only have a prime 50mm and 85mm in the bag. Now, they’re both go-to landscape lenses which consistently produce tack sharp images and I couldn’t imagine shooting without them. . . . . . #bevisuallyinspired #shotzdelight #folkcreative #ourplanetdaily #theoutbound #liveoutdoors #thegreatoutdoors #adventureculture #travelstoke #awakethesoul #nomadstories #adventureoften #wanderout #lastingvisuals #modernwild #thewanderco #mthrworld #awesome_earthpics #fantastic_earth #earthfever #exceptional_pictures #lensbible #earthoutdoors #visualsofearth #wondermore #canonphotography #glacierpoint #yosemite #mountainstories #northdome

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Thousand Oaks is a known as a family-friend suburb and one of the reasons is Wildwood Regional Park. All the kids that go to the local elementary schools spend a night in the wilderness area, learning about the wildlife in the area including rattlesnakes, coyotes and owls. Even before the exciting campout, you’ll find families heading to locally known highlights in the park, like the easy walk from the parking lot teepee or the park caves and waterfalls. If you find yourself wanting a hike between the crowded canyons of Los Angeles and the beaches of Santa Barbara, you can find easy trails in Wildwood.

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7 Best Winter Cabin Camping Spots in California National parks, mountain escapes, and even the beaches of California offer rustic and charming cabins in which to rest. Cabin camping provides the opportunity to enjoy the wilderness that surrounds you, but also escape to a comfortable bed and modern conveniences at the end of the day. However you envision your cozy cabin, you can find one in California. 

Tucked into the food of Ventura County’s highest mountain, Topa Topa, this beautiful KOA spans 76 acres and features several cabin camping accommodations perfect for a winter stay. Their Studio Pine Cabin is an excellent option and can sleep up to four people. The space features gorgeous views of nearby orchards, a comfortable loft, and a full bathroom. 

Outside of Yosemite, you’ll fall in love with Far Meadow. Pets are allowed and there are log cabins and A-frame cabins to choose from. Teepee tents are available for bigger parties and you can explore many of the region’s most majestic features that you don’t find staying in the bigger park.

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Lake Arrowhead is a scenic woodland filled with trees and cabins. Pine Rose cabins are the perfect setting for a rustic chic wedding or other special event. There’s a pool for summer stays and hot tub open year-round as well as other modern amenities that bring the cozy cabins into the present.

If you want to camp out but don’t want the fuss of packing and pitching a tent, then check out the cabins at Avila/Pismo Beach KOA. Located across from a petting zoo and close to the area’s natural wonders, including a state beach and sand dunes. You’ll find conveniences like laundry facilities and wine country only a short drive away.

Not far from Lake Tahoe, Sorensen’s Resort is not far from skiing and lake activities as well as other ways to enjoy the scenic beauty of Tahoe. The cabin resort includes amenities like a full-service restaurant and a wood-fired sauna and more. Take a workshop or attend an event, there is always something to do, even in the rural surroundings.

The Rustic Cottages of Lake Tahoe offer a glimpse of history as the vacation resort dates back several decades. Outfitted with romantic iron bedframes, the cabin-style cottages offer spacious accommodations in a whimsical setting as well as access to the pool and beach.  

winter is here!!!!!! . . . #GoTinspired #throwback (28weeks Jachin inside 😍)

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This KOA in Weldon, California, is open all year and features several cabin accommodations that the whole family will enjoy. The deluxe cabin features a beautiful shaded deck, a full kitchen, two full bathrooms, a living room, two separate bedrooms, and can sleep up to six people. Unwind with a warm fire after a long day in the great outdoors.  

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5 Awesome Trail Running Spots in California California’s temperate climate means that you don’t have to wait for the seasons to change to enjoy running in the great outdoors. Trail running has many benefits, whether you are training for a marathon or just looking to get out of your neighborhood and try something new. More and more people are getting into trail running as a way to burn more calories than street running and to help connect with nature. For safety, be sure your shoes are meant for trail running and bring along a buddy if you find yourself exploring new areas. And then check out some awesome trail running spots in California! 

The area between the mountains and Malibu Beach is filled with lots of trails that are perfect for exploring because they allow for a mix of running and hiking. Locals never get tired of exploring new routes, some of which are really long and best for experienced trail runners. Other areas are shorter and flatter and make for good training for beginners.

Runyon Canyon has a reputation for being a celebrity favorite, but it’s also popular with regular runners that love the feeling of being out in nature while enjoying stunning cityscape views. The canyon isn’t very big, but there are a variety of trails to take so that your run can be as short or long as you have stamina for. 

Golden Gate Park has plenty of paved spots, grassy areas, and things to do and see, but what you may not know is that there are also dirt trails that are perfect for running. Many locals enjoy finding new paths to take and the view that is constantly changing from city to rural, all in the same park. Hit the trails and be prepared for changing terrain as some spots are rougher than others.

Toro County Park is the location of the Toro Trail Run event, but you can run the park at any time without the pressure of a race. There are over 20 miles of trails to discover and you can find smooth paths that go up and down, making it a prime spot for training or exploring. There is a fee to enter the park, so it may be best for weekend trips and training if you’re looking to mix up your regular routine.

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) follows the entire state of California and West Coast. Find a spot to start and then explore one of the best and most famous trail running spots in the world. PCT is a favorite with hikers and backpackers looking for new challenges but it also makes for good runs and hikes even just for the day. Be sure to use caution as the trail goes through rough terrain and may be subject to varying conditions. 

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Camping Done Right: 5 Essential Outdoor Stores in California California’s plethora of wide open spaces, stunning beaches, tall mountains, and other natural wonders make it a prime spot for camping. Whether you are new to the outdoors or need to replace some old gear, you can find an excellent camping gear retailer in California. In addition to many big-brand name stores, you can find outstanding independent retailers or California-only chains. Check out some of the essential places to stock up on everything you need to spend time in the great outdoors, whether you’re looking to explore beaches or mountains.

Gear Coop has roots as a climbing equipment store but has since grown to offer gear, gadgets, and more for all types of outdoor activity, including camping. The brick and mortar store has expanded to an online shop but diehards still love going to the store to shimmy up the in-store climbing wall and test items like climbing shoes. The store’s return policy and friendly and knowledgeable staff has created legions of fans that go back for climbing shoes and camping equipment. At Gear Coop, you’ll find everything from Camelbak backpacks, to Marmot jackets, to Granite Gear, which is perfect for a backcountry adventure. 

With locations all over the Bay Area, the Sports Basement is a great place to buy camping gear at reasonable prices. Find everything from stoves and other camping cookware to down sleeping bags, lanterns, hydration packs, and hammocks. 

Orange Army Navy store in Orange is a rare family-owned store that has been in business since 1955. Orange Army Navy offers everything you need for camping and campers appreciate the ability to purchase high-quality used military-grade products. The spot is also popular for offering a wide variety of sleeping bags, camp stoves, and cooking gear. The store carries brands such as Camelbak, Bushnell, and GSI

Last Minute Gear is great for when you randomly decide you want to go camping but don’t have any equipment. The store will even deliver everything you need to wherever you happen to find yourself, for an additional fee. You can buy or rent a variety of camping equipment and the store has a very flexible 24/7 availability policy so that you can augment your camping gear any time you need it—just make an appointment. Choose from excellent brands such as Big Agnes, Marmot, North Face, and more. The unique camping gear model is a hit with people that don’t have enough gear to share with unexpected friends or are first time campers feeling overwhelmed with options.

Outdoor World has three locations from Santa Cruz to Seaside. Not affiliated with Bass Pro Shops, Outdoor World has been serving the Monterey Bay area for nearly 40 years. Although there are a lot of campgrounds and beaches to explore, there aren’t a lot of camping stores and Outdoor World offers every imaginable item for camping from pads and air beds to tents and accessories from known brands like Coleman, Therm-a-rest, and other major players.

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5 State Park Campsites in the West When looking for a campsite in the western United States, it is easy to default to campgrounds in the national parks or national forests—especially if you’re not from the state that you’re planning to visit. But the better-known campgrounds get a much higher volume of visitors, which means you may not get a reservation or, perhaps worse, get stuck in bad site in a packed-to-the-gills campground. One way to avoid such issues is to do some research about state parks in the area. Many are quite close to better-known national parks but don’t attract nearly the same number of visitors. From California's redwood forests to Utah's sweeping canyons, here are just a few of our favorite state park campsites in the West.  

Located midway between Capital Reef and Canyonlands National Parks, Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park offers much of the same type of desert-hoodoo landscape formations, as well as incredible canyoning opportunities, as its neighbors. The campground is not particularly secluded or tree-lined, but it is an excellent gateway to all that the park has to offer. 

Campsite 12 is a tent-only site that is set back a little away from RVs and other campers. The site includes your own shaded picnic table and a brilliant, uninterrupted view of the rock formations that Goblin Valley is known for. Not feeling like setting up and taking down your own shelter? Grab one of the yurts available for rent in the park.

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If you’ve ever been to Hawaii—or planned a trip to Hawaii—you know lodging is not cheap. A great way to avoid exorbitant lodging costs in the Aloha State is to camp. Many of the state’s parks offer excellent camping options and facilities. Those visiting the Garden Isle of Kauai will appreciate the picturesque beauty of Koke’e State Park.

Perched 4,000 feet above the lush vegetation of the Kalalau Valley, with sweeping views out to the Pacific, Koke’e offers several tent camping opportunities in campsites that have been minimally developed. In addition, several cabins are available for rental in the park if you’re hoping for a break from tent camping.

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Lake Cascade State Park in west-central Idaho comprises 86 miles of shoreline along the edge of the eponymous lake. The park is tucked into the region’s wooded mountains near the Payette National Forest. Popular with anglers, Lake Cascade is known as a prime spot for trout and salmon fishing. The surrounding area offers miles of trails for hiking, cycling and birding. The park’s 41 square miles of surface water are ideal for paddling or boating.

Dispersed primitive camping is available at several locations throughout the park. But if you’d like a few more amenities (restrooms, for example), the Blue Heron Campground is tent-only and located on a peninsula that juts out into the lack. Site G is a lakefront site that is set back an away from the other sites, so you have your own little slice of heaven.

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Big Basin Redwoods State Park is just west of—and a world away from—the Bay Area megalopolis in California. It is the state’s first and oldest state park. The park’s main feature, as the name implies, is the ancient, coast redwood trees marching up and down the slopes. Blooms Creek Campground in the park affords the opportunity to sleep among these beautiful giants, which are up to 1,800 years old.

Site 153 is a hike-in site that is away from the main campground but close to a water source. It connects to the Blooms Creek Trail, which in turn, connects to many of the other trails in the park.

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Oregon’s Ainsworth State Park lies within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and encompasses spectacular natural features like Horsetail Falls and 620-ft. Multnomah Falls. There are many hiking trails in the park, itself, that take advantage of the fantastic beauty of the Gorge. The park also connects to several trails that lead to other points of interest like the majestic St. Peter’s Dome, which rises 2,000 feet over the river.

The campground at Ainsworth offers six walk-in tent sites that are set back and away from the main campground and connect to trails that allow you to avoid walking through the main part of the camping area. Any one of the sites puts you in the midst of all that the park has to offer but provides the illusion of a secluded site away from civilization.

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10 Best Apres Ski Activities in California After a long and fulfilling day on the slopes, it's time to explore all the other things the area has to offer. Relish the exhilaration of the day with a bite to eat, your favorite drink, or maybe even a trip to the spa. Next time you're in California for a ski trip, check out these great apres activities.

You’ll be off of your skis, but not quite off the mountain at this fun post-schussing hang out. At the base of the infamous Stump Alley run near Chair 2, this favorite spot is famous for their barbecue and smoked tri-tip sandwiches. Comfy lounge chairs make relaxing easy. Sit outside by the fire pits for some al fresco dining and drinking.

A large outdoor patio is just the right spot for people-watching after a day of fun on the mountain. Located at the base of Chair 2, it’s an easily accessible spot to kick off your skis and put your boots up. Known for its burgers, homemade pizzas, full bar, and great views—this is the place to be after getting off the slopes! Kick back, either inside or on the outdoor patio, relax, and enjoy the view.

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Give your downhill skiing legs a break and sit awhile as you slide down the lanes at this tubing park, the largest in Southern California. No special skills required to have a blast as you fly down the hill. Tubes are provided. Afterwards, take a break inside the lodge where a roaring fire and a cup of hot chocolate takes the chill off.

After a long day on the slopes at one of Lake Tahoe’s many mountains, the body will need a little help recovering. Soothe your sore muscles with the 80-minute Apres Ski Recovery: a "tension-relieving treatment which includes a take home soothing balm for joints and muscles." Services also include detox treatments, facials, beauty treatments, saunas, whirlpools, and more. 

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Don’t wear yourself out on the slopes, because the apres activities at the Tamarack Lodge are high-energy and sure to wow you. You’ll be impressed with the live performances, DJs spinning all night long, hand crafted drinks, the delicious menu that ranges from light snacks to hearty meals, and more. The party never stops here, but when you want to, a moonlit Gondola ride down the mountain will cap off the evening.

Soaking in therapeutic pool after a day full of skiing is a gift your body will thank you for. Not far from Kirkwood Ski Resort is this pool complex that has Hot Spring Pools open year-round. The pools are generally open every day, even when it’s raining or snowing. Your sore muscles will definitely feel relieved.

Regain your center and balance at this serene studio with a class that encourages taking a deep breath and relaxing the entire body through simple postures. The studio, in the village, has large windows that offer breathtaking views of the mountain. Classes include Vinyasa Flow, YinYasa, Apres Ski Restorative classes, amongst others. Teachers focus on creating a healthy mind, body and spirit.

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After a day of skiing at Tahoe Donner Ski Resort, spend a little time exploring this downtown area. The town came into being thanks to the railroad and the gold rush, but is perhaps most famous for its proximity to Donner Lake and the infamous Donner Party disaster. There’s plenty to see and do with a diverse selection of places to eat and drink, a vibrant nightlife, plus shopping, museums and historic landmarks to investigate.

Sharpen a different set of edges and lace up a pair of ice skates for a spin around this 9,000-square-foot rink. Or, sit an enjoy a hot toddy or hot mulled cider around the fire pits and watch as skaters perform their best toe loop or axel jump. S’mores kits, available for sale in the evenings, are a fun way to cap the day spent shredding at Northstar ( Free for all, skates available to rent.

Sit outside on the patio and catch the late afternoon sun while enjoying a flight of hand-crafted beer at this local brewery. Skiing June Mountain Ski Area is hard work, so recovery is all about relaxing and this is the place to do it. Nearly a dozen beers are available on tap. If you’re hungry, Ohanas 395 is a food truck right next door with Hawaiian soul food that will blow your mind. 

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5 Awesome Campgrounds for Families in California California has amazing natural features including beaches, mountains and some of the world’s most famous national parks. Childhood is a great time to teach kids about preserving and appreciating the natural world. And what better way to do that than by setting up a tent or parking your RV at a campsite? Luckily, parents from the Golden State have a few standard locations that they swear by. Generations after generations of families head to specific spots across the state to become one with nature. Here are some great family-friendly campgrounds in California.   

Big Basin Redwoods State Park is the perfect spot for a first-time camping trip thanks to the amazingly supersized old growth redwood trees. You can hike from the forest to the oceans on a famous trail or try for something a little easier. Waterfalls, animals and cabins for rent complete the ease of an experience meant to be relaxing and memorable.

If you are looking for something a little more accessible, then Henry Cowell is the way to go. It’s said to be an easy hike to the campground and there are shorter trails and things for tiny legs to experience, while still being surrounded by towering redwood trees. Kids are sure to be further delighted by nearby Roaring Camp Railroad, which includes trains that run on steam engines. Great views for parents paired with activities for kids makes it a prime camping trip for getting away without getting away. 

For parents that don’t want to bother with the hassle of tents and cookouts, the city of San Jose offers residents (and guests from other cities!) a chance to summer camp. There’s a camp store for forgotten items and fishing is available. You get to stay out under the stars and experience the beauty of the Sierra Mountains and Yosemite. 

Both camping and fishing can be found at Lake Hemet. There are also cabins, opportunities for lake swimming, a water park and of course amazing views of the surrounding area. Lake Hemet tends to be a family vacation spot that is not too far from many cities and suburbs in Southern California, and offers plenty of activities so that nobody in the family gets bored. Many of California’s native-born celebrities have fond childhood memories of celebrating birthdays and holidays while camping at Lake Hemet.

Slightly north and west of Santa Monica, on the Pacific Coast Highway is Leo Carrillo State Park. For many local kids, it’s their first camping trip. You can make reservations through Reserve America and bring your own RV or pitch a tent. The campground is located across the road from one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. There are trails on the mountain side and tide pools on the ocean side that are great for getting a glimpse of sea creatures. Named for an actor and preservationist, Leo Carrillo is a great place to learn about respect for the natural world.

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5 Awesome RV Campsites in California RV camping is a great way to bond with friends and family and enjoy the outdoors. RV camping gets you away from the stress of the everyday and can help you explore new places and meet new people without totally giving up all your creature comforts. Saving money, exploring new regions, and trying new things are all possibilities when you travel in an RV. Along the way, spend some time at some of the best RV campsites in California. 

Livermore Valley Wine Country is just moments away from picturesque De Valle Regional Park in the East Bay area of Northern California. Close to the major cities of San Francisco, it’s also not a far drive to the more famous wine regions of Napa and Sonoma. You’ll find plenty to do inside the park with swimming beaches, boating, horseback riding, fishing, hiking, and more activities. There are accommodations for RVs and campers as well as tents. Be sure to make a reservation as the campground is popular with families during the summer months but can also get chilly during the winter. 

Big Basin Redwoods is the oldest state park in California and also home to some of the state’s largest attractions: historic coastal redwood trees. The park is a popular spot to camp so make reservations in plenty of time. During the dry summer months, campfires are not permitted to prevent forest fires, but you can cook in permitted areas. Due to storms, some trails are inaccessible but you can still enjoy the amazing trees, waterfalls, animals, and forest wonders.

Malibu Beach is the only RV park in the area and is close to beach city’s most famous attractions and celebrity hot spots. Campsites are available with both ocean and mountain views. The well-maintained RV park is a favorite with people looking to spend time in the world-renowned region. More expensive than many parks, the showers and bathrooms are said to be worth the higher price—as are the views and close proximity to beaches and events in Malibu.

Pismo Sands is run by a family that loves to RV camp. The award-winning RV park has cottages in addition to parking spots, a pool, paved sites, free but limited Wi-Fi and cable, activities, sports, and other amenities including showers, bathrooms, and laundry facilities. Just moments from the beach, the grounds are well maintained and it’s easy to see why Pismo Sands is one of California’s favorite RV parks. 

Yosemite Pines is just 30 miles outside of the national park. The campsite offers premium pull-through and back-in sites and can be a good option if you find that campsites inside the park are full. You can choose from a variety of hook-up sites that offer power and water in addition to bathroom and shower facilities, picnic tables, and campfire rings. You can take a shuttle into Yosemite National Park and also take the opportunity to explore the small towns around the area. On-site, there are many activities for families including a playground, sports and games, and a gold mine for kids and even a petting farm.

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