In a city as cosmopolitan as Los Angeles, diversity adds to its charms where you can camp on an almost deserted island or take a dip at the beach than explore a great museum or an enigmatic cave. Let’s explore those natural gems:
4730 Crystal Springs
Griffith Park is not only one of the best parks in Los Angeles, at 4,511 acres it is the largest. You can jog, run, walk or cycle on more than 50 miles of paths that meander slopes adorned with forests . If what you want is a high altitude walk, you can climb the 1,625 to its highest point: the top of Mount Hollywood where its name appears in huge white letters, forming one of the most photographed signs in the world.
The park has a series of attractions such as an old L.A. zoo , three new train centers where you can see some old ones and even take a walk with your children in one of them, and even its observatory , which is an icon of LA.
Channel Islands National Park
An island is probably not what one thinks of when talking about a national park, but that is precisely what Channel Island is all about , a small archipelago that became a National Park of the United States in 1980, when Congress decreed that it had to protect its unique ecosystem. It is called “Galapagos of North America ” due to its unique nature, beautiful landscapes and because it is home to more than 2,000 species of animals (145 endemic). Some are found nowhere else on the planet , like ‘Island Fox’.
It is a perfect place for camping, among wild flowers and in front of impressive views. January through March is gray whale season and you might even get to see migrating whales swimming along their 10,000 mile migration route. It is also perfect for diving and snorkeling and kayaking to its sea caves . If you do, you can see there one of the largest and deepest sea caves in the world (nearly a quarter-mile long and 100 feet wide, with a 160-foot entrance ceiling) and even explore its picturesque lighthouse. It is precisely because of all these beauties that this is one of the best parks in Los Angeles.
Abalone Cove Shorline Park
5970 Palos Verdes
Rancho Palos Verdes
A major California ecological preserve is in this park, home to two beaches, stunning tide pools, and rock formations. If you walk along the path called Abalone Cove Trail, you will have an unforgettable encounter with the Californian coast, and that is precisely the main attraction of this park: its coastal promenade . Despite everything, many venture to take a dip , and enjoy it despite the fact that the water here is usually quite cold.
Venice Beach Skate Park
1800 Ocean Front Walk
If you want to visit a concrete park with a history of triumph , go to Venice Beach . The park, which was designed by local skaters and at a cost of $4.5 million, was opened in 2009.
Set against the sea, the 16,000-square-foot Venice Beach Skatepark features two bocce balls, a winding track, a ledged course, rails, and sets of stairs . Even if you don’t skate, this place is worth checking out , just for the experience and to see some of the amazing the agile skaters pull off on each stretch. A suggestion: before visiting it, try to watch the documentary “Dogtown and Z Boys”, it will help you better appreciate the history of the park.
Lake Balboa/ Anthony C. Beilenson Park
6300 Balboa Blvd.
When it comes to places to picnic with the family, Lake Balboa/ Anthony C. Beilenson Park remains one of the best parks in Los Angeles. It has a large area with tables to eat, BBQ grills, several sports fields, trails for walking, riding a bike, and -very important- a play area for the little ones and even an area to fish! What’s more: they even allow to bring your dog.
Its paths are relatively flat, ideal for the older ones who leave fascinated with the exuberant forests and the tranquility of the the place.
Point Fermin Park
807 West Paseo Del Mar
On its 37 acres that combine perfectly landscaped lawns with Wuthering Peaks and ocean views, Point Fermin Park even has the luxury of a small amphitheater , perfect for annual events like the San Pedro car show and Shakespeare by the Sea, which they have become a tradition.
Its fascinating surroundings have led cinematographers to frequently shoot their plots there, such as ” 500 Days of Summer ” and ” Chinatown “. Be sure arrive early and take advantage of the incredible picnic area: with individual tables and quite separated from the others. They face directly to the sea, granting you a VIP seat to its impressive view.
Malibu Creek State Park
1925 Las Virgenes Rd.
Called “the crown of parks in the Santa Monica Mountains,” Malibu Creek State Park has more than 7,000 acres of rolling plains of tall grasses, oak savannahs, and spectacular peaks. No wonder many call it ” The Yosemite of Southern California .”
Here you can in admire trees such as the Savana oak, sycamores and redwoods. One of its most beautiful spots is Rock Pool, a natural pool surrounded by volcanic rock that you can only reach after walking, horseback riding, or pedaling your bike for a mile. Here you can climb the cliff walls, including the wall where Planet of the Apes was filmed. But that is not the only movie that was filmed here, the park is so spectacular that it has been the scene of more than 100 productions.
700 Exposition Park Drive
This is a state-of-the-art park, which is why its 160 acres are home to a collection of museums that include the California Science Center , the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History , and even a rose garden.
If you go, don’t forget to take a photo in the coliseum ( Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum ), the only one that has hosted two Summer Olympic Games (those of 1932 and those of 1984). It has been the setting for presentations by various US presidents and world leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., César Chávez and Nelson Mandela. That’s why it was declared a California and National Historic Landmark and why it’s also on our list of the best parks in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles has a diverse range of parks -Griffith Park, Santa Monica State Beach Park, Universal Studios Hollywood, Runyon Canyon Park, and Topanga State Park are among the top options to explore. Whether you’re looking for hiking, picnicking, or simply enjoying the outdoors, LA’s parks offer something for everyone.