Southern California has more to offer than famous faces and Hollywood hills. Leave the crowds behind to visit two of the finest national parks in the country.
Joshua Tree National Park
At the border of San Bernadino and Riverside counties lies Joshua Tree National Park. Roughly the size of Rhode Island, the park includes parts of both the Mojave and the Colorado deserts. The creosote bush dominates the eastern side of the park, while the western side is covered in native Joshua trees. The Little San Bernadino Mountains line the southwest edge. At a glance, Joshua Tree might appear bleak and barren, but up close you’ll see a remarkably complex ecosystem. This is also a popular destination for stargazing because of its impressively dark skies.
Channel Islands National Park
Channel Islands National Park comprises five of the eight Channel Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Located off the coast of southern California, these isolated havens provide a getaway from the densely populated mainland. Santa Cruz Island is the largest of the five. Covered in caves, coves, cliffs, and sandy beaches, the 2000 census showed an official population of just two people! The island is also home to the infamous Devil’s Peak.