San Francisco is home to a little bit of everything. When we think of San Francisco, we imagine visiting the Golden Gate Bridge or taking a trip to Alcatraz, but this city has more to offer. San Francisco boasts numerous parks that showcase nature’s best views. From mountains and forests, to lagoons and waterfalls, everything is just a few kilometers away. Take a trip to these parks and see precisely why San Francisco is called the Golden City.
Approximately 3 hours away from San Francisco, Lake Tahoe is home to many state parks that travelers can explore. If you’re a nature lover and enjoy outdoor activities, you can go hiking at South Lake Tahoe. You can take a hike to Cascades Falls or take the Fallen Leaf Trail and walk along the lake’s shoreline.
Pro tip: When visiting California’s national parks, it is best to fly to the city and rent a car from there. Going by car will allow you to travel at your own pace and you’ll have a more comfortable trip, especially if you have kids traveling with you.
The drive to the national parks can take 3-4 hours, but you can always stop at different lodgings between parks. Traveling on a budget? Don’t worry, because there are lots of accommodations available at various price points.
Yosemite National Park
The Yosemite National Park is best known for its deep valleys, scenic waterfalls, and its ancient giant Sequoias. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, the park does not fall short of attractions that travelers will love.
When you’re visiting the park, don’t miss out on seeing the Yosemite Falls. If you’re feeling adventurous, you take a hike to the top of the Falls. It takes 8 hours to reach the summit, but the view makes it all worth it.
Another attraction travelers should not pass up on is the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. The grove is home to Yosemite’s iconic Sequoia trees. With the oldest Sequoia exceeding 3,000 years old, Mariposa Grove shows how nature’s beauty has withstood the test of time.
Pro Tip: The park is suitable for the whole family! It has trails catering to children, the elderly, and the disabled. Yosemite also offers lodgings so you can enjoy the great outdoors in comfort.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Two hours and 18 minutes away from Yosemite is Sequoia & Kings Canyon, National Park. The park’s main attraction is the General Sherman Tree, the world’s biggest living tree. Standing at 275 feet and 103 meters all around, General Sherman is sure to take your breath away.
Travelers can also explore Mineral King Valley. The valley showcases a beautiful view of dense forests and colorful landscapes that visitors can explore through a variety of Mineral King Trails.
Pro Tip: Because it is colder in the winter, it can be difficult to visit due to the snow and lack of access to the trails. We recommend visiting national parks between May and October for a better experience.
If you don’t want to visit these awesome parks on your San Francisco trip maybe you want to travel even further.