Yelp, the popular review platform, has unveiled its coveted list of 50 must-visit state parks in the U.S., and Northern California boasts three remarkable gems that have earned their spots among the best.
Let’s explore the awe-inspiring beauty and unique features of Wilder Ranch State Park in Santa Cruz, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in Felton, and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.
Wilder Ranch State Park
Claiming an impressive fourth place overall, Wilder Ranch State Park treats visitors to breathtaking coastal views. Its historical significance dates back to the 1800s when it was a dairy ranch. Acquired by the California State Parks System in 1974, the park’s 1897 Victorian home and 1896 water-powered machine shop offer a glimpse into the past.
Thrilling hiking trails and sea caves, including the Fern Grotto Beach accessible via the 2.5-mile Old Cove Landing Trail, add to the park’s allure. Sandstone cliffs tower high above the ocean, and brave adventurers can peer over the edge to witness a natural shelf filled with water from crashing waves.
The park’s wildlife is just as impressive, with sightings of hawks, pelicans, gray whales, seals, and even sea otters reported by enthusiastic visitors like Elite Yelp reviewer Alan F. from Los Gatos.
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Ranking 12th on Yelp’s list, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park beckons nature enthusiasts to explore its 40-acre grove of majestic redwood trees.
Covering an expansive 4,650 acres of forested and open land, the park offers a plethora of outdoor activities to enjoy amidst these giants. As visitors wander through the serene wilderness, they can soak in the splendor of one of California’s most cherished natural wonders.
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Last but not least, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park proudly claims its spot toward the back of Yelp’s top 50 list. Despite facing temporary closure due to significant flood damage from spring storms, the park has since reopened in late May. Now, summer travelers can delight in the park’s enchanting scenery and enjoy its unique offerings.
As Yelp meticulously selected these state parks based on total volume and highest rankings in 2022, it’s clear that these three Northern California treasures have left a lasting impression on visitors. Their stunning landscapes, rich history, and abundant wildlife make them must-visit destinations for all nature lovers and adventurers alike.