The Great Outdoors: The Best Places to Visit On Veterans Day

The Great Outdoors: The Best Places to Visit On Veterans Day

By Oliver Jenkyns November 04, 2019

The leaves have started to change colors, the scorching heat of summer is behind us, and the brisk air of change is blowing in the wind. While most of our vacation days have been used up (or are being saved for the winter holidays), there is a slight glimmer of hope for experiencing autumn in the great outdoors: Veterans Day is right around the corner, and it’s the final free national park day of 2019. 

There are endless adventures waiting to be had in California's national parks. 

With so many places to visit—such as the redwood forests of Northern California, the rugged deserts of Southern California, and the sandy coastline in between them—there’s nothing better than free entrance to the national parks. Whether your travels take you to Yosemite National Park or Mojave National Preserve, protected lands await. Best of all, Veterans Day is a federal holiday, so you might not need to worry about taking time off. So grab your camping gear, buckle up, and drive out to California’s preserved lands.

National Parks in California

There is something incredibly magical about the national parks in California. Wander by waterfalls, hike amongst the hills, and stop to stargaze while you're there.

While there is so much federally protected land throughout the state, there are eight destinations that stand out for their designation as national parks. For a vacation like no other, head to:

  • Channel Islands National Park, Ventura
  • Death Valley National Park, Death Valley
  • Joshua Tree National Park, Twentynine Palms
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park, Mineral
  • Pinnacles National Park, Paicines
  • Sequoia National Park, Tulare and Fresno Counties 
  • Kings Canyon National Park, Tulare and Fresno Counties
  • Yosemite National Park, Sierra Nevada


National Park Service Sites

Whether your adventures take you along the beaten path or off of it, you're likely to run into one of California's protected lands along the way.

For even more adventure, find time to visit other regions protected by the National Park Service. Whether you’re cruising down Route 66, having a weekend getaway in San Francisco, or finding your way from Coronado to Los Angeles, there’s almost always a nationally recognized place on the way.

  • Alcatraz Island, San Francisco
  • Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego
  • California National Historic Trail
  • Castle Mountains National Monument, Barstow
  • César E. Chávez National Monument, Keene
  • Devils Postpile National Monument, Sierra Nevada (near Mammoth Lakes)
  • Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site, Danville
  • Fort Point National Historic Site, Presidio of San Francisco
  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco
  • John Muir National Historic Site, Martinez
  • Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail
  • Lava Beds National Monument, Tulelake
  • Manzanar National Historic Site, Independence
  • Mojave National Preserve, Barstow
  • Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley
  • Old Spanish National Historic Trail
  • Point Reyes National Seashore, Point Reyes
  • Pony Express National Historic Trail
  • Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Monument, Concord Naval Weapons Station
  • Presidio of San Francisco, San Francisco
  • Redwood National and State Parks, Del Norte and Humboldt Counties
  • Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park, Richmond
  • San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, San Francisco
  • Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Thousand Oaks
  • Tule Lake National Monument, Tulelake
  • Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, Whiskeytown


While some parks offer free admission all year, nearly a dozen of California’s national parks that typically charge an entrance fee participate in a handful of free National Park days. Find out which ones are included by reading “From Yosemite to Joshua Tree, See California's National Parks For Free”.

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