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Three National Parks Within Driving Distance of Los Angeles

(LA Trend) — Whether you’re craving a beachside escape, mountain getaway, or desert retreat, you’re no more than a day trip away from a secluded nature getaway. Explore the scenic variety California has to offer while taking a much-needed break from zoom calls and online school.

California’s temperate climate allows year-round access to the state’s natural wonders. Be sure to check weather conditions and road closures in the winter months. National and local parks are open for visitors, masks and social distancing are required. Visit the park’s website to secure camping permits and wilderness passes.

Channel Islands National Park

Enjoy a haven of biodiversity on this chain of islands located just a short boat ride from Ventura or Santa Barbara. Five of the eight islands are dedicated as nature persevere and are home to the Channel Islands fox, deer mice, spotted skunks, and the island fence lizard. You’ll also find a collection of flora and fauna plus plenty of songbirds and aquatic life. You won’t be able to see everything in one weekend, plan many return trips to get the full island experience. Enjoy the sea breeze while camping or hiking. Many islands also offer exclusive snorkeling and scuba diving tours of the park’s lush kelp forests.

Joshua Tree National Park

A favorite for photographers and filmmakers, this desert park is just a short drive from the heart of Los Angeles. Enjoy otherworldly views, cacti formations, and some of the best stargazing in the Golden State. Take in the stark beauty of the desert on a variety of hikes—ranging from easy to strenuous—and bring your tent to score a coveted campsite in the park. In non-pandemic times, the park is home to music and art festivals as well as other public and private events. There are also many glamping options nearby for those who are not prepared for cold desert nights.

Sequoia National Park

Take a drive up the coast and wander among the giant redwoods of Sequoia National Park. Visit the General Sherman Tree in the Giant Forest, visit Crystal Cave, or hike the picturesque views from Moro Rock.  Take a winding drive up the mountain and enjoy a weekend away from the city. One of the park’s biggest draws is Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the continental U.S., take a weekend to scale this impressive peak and enjoy breathtaking California views. This generous park has something to suit every nature enthusiast from horse-lovers to bird watchers. Score a camping spot among the trees for the full experience.

No matter if you’re a beach or mountain person, studies show that taking time to enjoy nature can boost your mood. You don’t have to camp or take the weekend off to enjoy the benefits of nature.  A Stanford University study by Gregory Bratman showed that a 90-minute walk in a city park helped boost participant’s mood, attention, and working memory. During these times of continuing uncertainty, take time to recharge in nature.

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