Vasquez Rocks Natural Area is a 932 acre park outside of Santa Clarita in the Sierra Pelona Mountains. Located along the San Andreas Fault, these sandstone rocks were formed 25 million years ago. Tataviam Native Americans lived in grass hut villages here and considered the site sacred. The rocks were named for Tiburcio Vasquez, a notorious bandit who used the area as a hideout in 1874. Hollywood has filmed here since the 30's including The Flintstones, Star Trek and Planet of the Apes.
Heritage County Park in Old Town was created to preserve San Diego's Victorian Architecture. Italianate, Stick-Eastlake and Queen Anne styles are all represented through six historic homes and the Temple Beth Israel Synagogue. This uncrowded park is the perfect place for an afternoon stroll. A short trail above the Christian House take you to an overlook with great views of the city.
El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park preserves one of the four original presidios or military districts of Alta California. Founded on April 21st 1782, its primary purpose was to protect the mission and settlers against local attack or foreign invasion. It was also the primary government and cultural center from Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo. Today, the presidio operates as a State Park Museum that offers a glimpse into the past with original and restored structures.
Presidio Park in San Diego marks the spot of the first European settlement of the Western United States. Founded in 1769, the Presidio or military fort was established here to protect the land from invasion. Abandoned in 1835, it decayed for 75 years until local civic lead George Marston purchased the land for preservation. He donated the land to the city where a Museum to honor Mission Founder Father Junípero Serra was built. The museum is open today and provides sweeping views of the city in an idyllic setting.
Mentryville Boomtown was named after Charles Alexander Mentry who drilled California's first successful oil well here in 1876. It was the world's longest continually operating well that lasted until 1990. Today, it is a park run by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy where Charles' historic home and barn still remain beneath the Santa Susana Mountains. Trails lead to historic ruins as well as canyons of chaparral and coast live oak.
Santa Barbara Shores County Park preserves what the wild coast here has looked like for thousands of years. Easy trails wind to sandy beach with views of the Channel Islands while the Santa Ynez Mountains provide a beautiful backdrop. The park is also home to the Goleta Monarch Butterfly Grove each winter from November to February where thousands of butterflies come to roost. The highest amount ever recorded was 48,000!
Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park preserves 2,500 acres of canyons, streams, coast live oaks, grasslands and chaparral in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains. Red Rock Canyon is the most scenic feature of the park and provides striking contrast to the rolling green hills in the Spring. More than twenty trails of varying skill levels make this a park for everyone to enjoy.
With its swaying palm trees framing the scene, Surfers Point Park is a great place for a beach stroll in Ventura. Between the Pier and Emma Wood State Beach, it is an inviting place where surfers flock and everyone is welcome.
Desert Christ Park features brilliant sculptures depicting the life of Jesus Christ in the Mojave Desert. They were sculpted by Antone Martin in the 1940's as a way to promote World Peace. Dedicated on Easter Sunday in 1951 and featured in LIFE Magazine that same year, the park is open to all visitors everyday from sunrise to sunset.
The Mission Rose Garden is a must-see in Santa Barbara. Located directly in front of the Mission, the garden contains more than 1,500 varieties of roses and makes for a perfect stroll in this peaceful city.