Is there anything better than summertime in California? However, in the era of the novel coronavirus, many regional attractions remain closed, while others reopen with new restrictions. Have you caught cabin fever yet?
Guess what? You don’t need any money or roller coasters to enjoy fun in the sun, California-style. LA boasts a wide array of parks, and you can find plenty of space to spread a picnic blanket and work on your tan. Here are the top seven destinations to consider as you plan your Fourth of July festivities and family reunions:
1. Palisades Park
With over 25 acres of space, you have plenty of room to spread out and keep your distance. You’ll enjoy breathtaking views with the Santa Monica Mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. If the beaches look familiar, that’s because you probably saw them on the hit television series “Baywatch.”
What can you do if you forget your picnic lunch? You will find a variety of takeout restaurants to choose from located within comfortable walking distance. While you might want to avoid the typically crowded end of the pier, you can find ample quiet corners for small family celebrations.
2. Griffith Park
Do you want ample room to stay away from others? Head to Griffith Park, where you’ll find over 4,000 acres of mountains and canyons to explore. Going hiking can ease depression and anxiety symptoms — two conditions many people are struggling with during the pandemic. Exercise also alleviates mental health symptoms, and with over 50 miles of trails, you can run a full ultra-marathon.
Some of the more popular unpaved roads give you views of the famous Hollywood sign. You can also find tons of privacy where you can let your little ones play in the wonders of nature.
3. Lake Balboa
You won’t be able to rent a boat to go for a ride, but that doesn’t mean you can’t kick back and enjoy the scenic beauty of Lake Balboa Park. While you can’t fish at the Venice Beach and Cabrillo Piers, you can still cast a line in other areas. Make sure you take a mask with you. California mandates wearing masks in public, including when outdoors.
4. Rustic Canyon Park
Are you looking for a hike with heart-stopping views and plenty of shade on hot summer days? If so, head to the Rustic Canyon Trail, where you’ll enjoy 2.4 challenging miles to get your blood flowing. On your trek, you’ll pass the decaying ruins of Murphy’s Ranch, which the owners abandoned after a fire in 1978. The park itself hides away in a quiet neighborhood, meaning that if you want solitude, you will see relatively few others.
5. Will Rogers State Historic Park
If you have a hankering to ride your horse, head out to Will Rogers State Historic Park, where you will find a wide range of hiking and equestrian trails. Like most parks in California, restrictions limit picnic areas and campgrounds. However, you can still get out and enjoy the fresh air and famous California sunshine. Call ahead regarding the accessibility of ranch house tours and see where the legendary actor and radio personality once hung his hat.
6. Point Fermin Park
Are you looking to release the cares of the world in a tree-lined park filled with colorful gardens? Head to Point Fermin Park, one of the few places in America where Monarch butterflies make their winter homes. If you’re a nautical lover, you’ll enjoy photographing the Point Fermin Lighthouse, and you can sometimes spy dolphins and seals from the beach.
7. El Dorado Nature Center and Regional Park
If you’re looking for 100 acres of wilderness in the middle of the city, you’ll find it at the El Dorado Nature Center and Regional Park. You can explore select trees and shrubs hand-selected to thrive in a Mediterranean climate. You’ll find a 2.6-mile loop trail for your exercising pleasure. After your stroll, throw down a blanket by one of the two lakes and enjoy bird songs.