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Los Angeles State Parks

L.A. State Parks Overview

Los Angeles State Park

California State Parks in Los Angeles include parks, state beaches, recreation areas, wilderness areas and historic parks & homes. Below you'll find a list of popular CA State Parks and ones we personally recommend from the hiking trails of the Santa Monica Mountains to the sands of Will Rogers State Beach. Camping in California is a popular activity with most L.A. campgrounds offering beach camping, RV parks and conveniences like flush toilets, running water and firewood.

An entry fee is required at almost all California State Parks. It may be beneficial to purchase a yearly California State Park Pass if planning to make multiple visits to CA State Parks. Several discounts are available including passes for Day Use, Veterans, Handicapped, Surfing, Seniors and more.

Los Angeles

Santa Monica Mountains photo courtesy of the National Park Service

The Santa Monica Mountains are located between Highway 1 and 101, between Thousand Oaks and Malibu. This is an outdoor playground on the edge of a major metropolitan city. The mountains meet the ocean to the south and rise to over 2,000 feet. Activities include camping, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, bird & whale watching, swimming, surfing, nature walks and picnicking. Four State Parks are contained within the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area including Point Mugu, Malibu Creek, Topanga and Leo Carrillo. The region has been used by Hollywood over the years to film movies such as M.A.S.H. and Planet of the Apes. You can find peaceful creeks and hidden waterfalls in the many canyons that carve the landscape.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Mulholland Hwy and Kanaan Rd
Calabasas, CA 91302
(805) 370-2300

Map  |   pdf Park Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas

  • Point Mugu is located off Highway 1 (PCH) 15 miles south of Oxnard. Point Mugu offers beach camping and plenty of hiking and biking trails. Hike up one of two rivers that leads to open meadows and the Boney Mountains State Wilderness. Trails are lined with oak, sycamore and walnut trees. Activities at Point Mugu include camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, mountain biking and horseback riding. This park is a great choice for camping at the beach.

    Point Mugu State Park
    9000 W. Pacific Coast Highway
    Malibu, California 90265
    (818) 880-0350

    Map  |   Hotel  |   Camping  |   Website  |   Other Ideas

  • Leo Carrillo is located off Highway 1 (PCH) 23 miles south of Oxnard. It offers beach camping and 1.5 miles of beachfront. Leo Carrillo Beach includes a wide sandy beach, tide pools and sea caves. Several nature hikes are available in the adjacent headlands. Leo Carrillo includes a small Visitor Center offering group activities during the summer months. Other activities include camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, and windsurfing. Known by locals as 'Movie Beach', many movies and TV shows have been filmed here including Gidget, Grease, Karate Kid, Rockford Files and dozens more. The sea cave was featured in The Usual Suspects. Leo Carrillo is a great choice for beach camping.

    Leo Carrillo State Park
    35000 W. Pacific Coast Highway
    Malibu, California 90265
    (818) 880-0350

    Map  |   Hotel  |   Camping  |   Website  |   Other Ideas

  • Topanga is located off Highway 1 (PCH) north of Santa Monica. Located in the cliffs and canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains, Topanga features 36 miles of trails through canyons and grassland filled with oak trees. Ocean views and breezes can be had throughout the park. Topanga is popular picnic spot for Los Angeles residents. Activities at Topanga include camping, picnicking, hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.

    Topanga State Park
    Topanga, California 90290
    (310) 455-2465

    Map  |   Hotel  |   Camping  |   Website  |   Other Ideas

  • Century Lake

    Malibu Creek is located off Highway 1 (PCH) in Malibu. It follows the lush creek bed down from the Santa Monica Mountains into Malibu Lagoon. Hollywood has taken advantage of its picturesque beauty making it the location of several movies including Tarzan, Planet of the Apes and several Westerns. Remnants of the set from the television series M.A.S.H. still remain. The beach was used for most of the 60's surf movies like Gidget. Hiking trails lead to small waterfalls and the very popular Tapia Park. Activities at Malibu Creek include camping, fishing, picnicking and hiking.

    Malibu Creek State Park
    Calabasas, California 91302
    (818) 880-0367

    Map  |   Hotel  |   Camping  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Will Rogers is located at the northern end of Santa Monica in Pacific Palisades. Will Rogers offers a large sandy beach with many amenities including concession stands, public restrooms, a playground and 'The Strand'. The Strand is a cement bike path that continues unimpeded all the way to Marina Del Rey. With a few city street connections through Marina Del Rey, it continues all the way to Palos Verdes.

TIP: Will Rogers State Beach was the set of the 'Baywatch' television series. The lifeguard headquarters seen on the show are located here.

Will Rogers State Beach
Temescal Canyon Road & PCH (Pacific Coast Highway)
Pacific Palisades, California 90272
(310) 305-9503

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Will Rogers is located in the Santa Monica Mountains off Sunset Blvd. In the 1930's, Will Rogers was the most popular actor in Hollywood. This was once his home and features a 31-room ranch house, stable, corrals, riding ring, roping arena, polo field, golf course and hiking trails. A Visitor Center contains exhibits and a gift store. Activities at Will Rogers include horseback riding, hiking, picnicking and polo matches held on weekends. Tours of the ranch house are available Thursday-Sunday.

Will Rogers State Historic Park
1501 Will Rogers Park Road
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
(310) 454-8212

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Santa Monica Beach photo courtesy of the National Park Service

Santa Monica is located at the end of Interstate 10 at PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). Situated to the north side of the Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica State Beach is a two mile stretch of white sand beach with picnic areas, volleyball & basketball courts and 'The Strand'. The Strand is a cement bike path that continues unimpeded all the way to Marina Del Rey. With a few city street connections through Marina Del Rey, it continues all the way to Palos Verdes. At the south end of the beach is Pacific Park, a boardwalk amusement park.

Santa Monica State Beach
Interstate 10 and PCH
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(818) 880-0363

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Dockweiler State Beach is located at the end of the Los Angeles Airport (LAX) runway. Dockweiler Beach is a popular beach for picnicking, beach parties and airplane viewing. Three miles of sandy beach includes a picnic area, fire rings, barbecues and concession stands. Referred to locally as "The Strand", a cement bike path parallels the entire length and connects Dockweiler all the way to Redondo Beach. Fishing is good along the jetty on the north end.

Dockweiler State Beach
Imperial Highway & Vista Del Mar
Playa del Rey, California 90293
(818) 880-0350

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


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