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BellaOnline's California Editor


State and Federal Parks

Guest Author - Barb Conley

All three of our West Coast states offer an abundance of natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities. Visit California, Oregon and Washington State parks as well as federal sites for summer and winter recreation or just plain relaxing.

There are more than 1.5 million acres of land managed by California State Parks, including over 8.6 million feet of waterfront on lakes, rivers and the Pacific Ocean. Parks are located throughout 12 regions ranging from the North Coast to the High Sierra, to the Deserts, to San Diego County, San Francisco Bay Area, and Los Angeles County.
In addition to finding a park by region, the California State Parks website helps you find which parks support a specific activity, for example by Boat Mooring, Lodging, Museums, Beach Wheelchair, Hiking, Off-Highway Vehicles, Bike Trails and so on.

The website also provides information about day-use permits, camping reservations, and several park passes including vehicle day use annual passes, sno-park seasonal permits, disabled discount passes, the Golden Bear Limited Use permit for those over 62 years of age and so on. Visit California State Parks for all the details.

Oregon State Parks
Whether you are looking for a day use park, a traditional campground, a lighthouse tour or a teepee adventure, Oregon State has the perfect park for you. There are hundreds of day use parks, more than 50 parks with year-round and seasonal camping, seven bike-friendly parks and the 130-mile Willamette Valley Scenic Bike Route. Visit Oregon State Parks.

Washington State
Washington State has 121 state parks and recreation areas, some on salt water, some on fresh water, some on islands, some in the mountains. Whether you are into camping, hiking, biking, boating, windsurfing, rock climbing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing or snowmobiling, there is a Washington State Park that’s right for you.

Some parks have tent spaces and RV hookups, while others offer yurts, cabins and even rental homes. Several of the water-side parks have moorage slips or buoys. Many of the parks have interpretive centers and special events. Camping in Washington State Parks is very popular in the summer, so be sure to make your reservations as early as possible.

Visit the Washington State Parks website for information about each park and online reservations. You will also find information about day use permits, discounted permits and annual or seasonal permits for boat moorage and snow parks. Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission.

US Forest Service Permits for Oregon and Washington States
If you are planning to visit US Forest Recreation sites in Oregon or Washington, you may be interested in obtaining a Washington and Oregon Recreation annual pass. Visit the US Forest Service.

National Park Passes
For visits to national parks and federal recreational lands in the West Coast States as well as across the nation, the America the Beautiful pass comes in four versions including an annual general pass and lifetime passes for U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities and/or over the age of 62. These passes replace the Golden Eagle, Golden Age and Golden Access Passports you may know about. Visit National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.

Happy Travels!

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Content copyright © 2015 by Barb Conley. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Barb Conley. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. for details.


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