How to Recreate Responsibly During California State Parks Week | Cal Parks
Published: June 6, 2024
Park visitor enjoying the views at Emerald Bay State Park, Lake Tahoe.

The third annual California State Parks Week — held this year on June 12–16 — celebrates the amazing diversity of California’s state park system and the people who visit and help protect these iconic places. The best way to celebrate state parks is to spend time in one! Whether you’re visiting a park you’ve never been to before or planning to return to a favorite destination, it’s important that we follow simple steps to enjoy these spaces in a way that keeps ourselves, each other, and the parks themselves safe. Make the most of California State Parks Week and register to participate in one of over 200 events.   

Know Before You Go 

Before setting out to attend an event or visit a park, check the status of the park unit you want to visit to find current park information. Trails, roads, or certain areas may be unavailable due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. June weather can vary, so check local weather forecasts to know how to dress to make sure you are both comfortable and safe from the elements.   

Plan and Prepare 

A group of hikers prepared with sun protection, sturdy shoes and other safety gear.

Although most California State Parks Week events are free, park entrance or day use fees may still apply. Plan ahead and grab one of these passes if you want to park for free. Review the event description and any emails you received from the park to plan out what gear you’ll need. Proper footwear, hats and sunscreen, full water bottles, and extra snacks are always a valuable part of any packing list.  

Play It Safe 

A person canoes using a life jacket.

No matter what activity you choose — from swimming to fishing to horseback riding to bird watching — it’s essential to err on the side of caution and enjoy the outdoors safely. Know your comfort level and plan hiking distances and other physical activities to avoid injury. Let somebody who isn’t attending the event with you know your plans, especially if you undertake longer hikes or are planning to visit a park with limited cell connectivity. Enter water bodies such as rivers or lakes in parks only if and where it is safe and encouraged. Be sure to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when recreating near or in the water. 

Learn more about safety practices for specific activities here: 


Leave No Trace 

Family enjoys time together hiking on a trail.

It takes all of us to care for California’s spectacular public lands. California State Parks protect some of the most iconic landscapes, from redwood forests to picturesque coastlines and pristine waterways. We all have an opportunity to ensure the natural places we enjoy visiting stay healthy and resilient for future generations. Leave areas better than you found them by staying on designated trails and packing out all trash. View wildlife from a distance, leave plants where you find them, and take... lots of pictures!

We hope you have a memorable and safe California State Parks Week this year! To learn more safety tips when visiting a California state park, visit  

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