11 Places Where You Can Skip The Hike And Still Get All The Views In California
None of the work and all of the reward!
Since southern California is warm and sunny pretty much year-round, you can take a scenic trail trip anytime you want. But sometimes, we don't want to put in the effort to get to the top. Who says hiking has to make you work up a sweat? If you've ever searched for 'easy hikes in California,' we've found easy places where you can skip the hike and still get all the views.
The diversity of landscapes here is unbelievable. You can go to the beach, drive to the desert, and build a snowman in the mountains all in one day. Where do you want to go?
Lower Yosemite Falls
Price: $30 national park entrance fee
Location: Lower Yosemite Fall Trail, California
Why You Should Go: It's only a 0.5-mile roundtrip walk to see a breathtaking 2,425-foot waterfall!
Price: Free parking on Highway 1 or $10 via Falls Trail
Location: Highway 1, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California
Why You Should Go: This scenic drive takes you right to the top of an 80-foot waterfall cascading onto the beach. No hiking required.
Top of the World
Location: Alta Laguna Blvd, Laguna Beach, California
Why You Should Go: You can skip the long route and drive straight to the top, ocean views, rolling green hills, and all.
Crystal Cove State Park
Price: $5 per hour parking fee
Location: 8471 N Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, California
Why You Should Go: This scenic state park offers incredible views of the ocean. You don't have to hike to see it, but there are flat, sand trails to explore if you want. Did we mention the sunsets are to die for?
Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
Location: 1253 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., San Diego, California
Why You Should Go: Enjoy a picnic near sheer cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It's one of the best places to catch the sunset in San Diego. You can drive straight to the view.
Price: $30 national park entrance fee
Location: Yosemite Valley, California
Why You Should Go: This super-easy 0.25-mile roundtrip walk takes you to see some of the best views of Yosemite's iconic Half Dome.
Location: 5202 Glacier Point Rd, Yosemite Village, California
Why You Should Go: You only have to walk 20 steps to get stunning panoramic views of Half Dome, Vernal Nevada Falls, and the Sierra Crest.
Location: Artist’s Drive, California
Why You Should Go: You can drive through 9 miles of beautiful.
Knapp's Castle Trail
Location: Santa Barbara, California (Directions)
Why You Should Go: You can explore old castle ruins overlooking Santa Barbara and the mountains. There’s also a tree swing where you can soar over the city. It's only a 0.25-mile walk!
Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve
Price: $10 per vehicle parking fees
Location: 15101 Lancaster Rd, Lancaster, California
Why You Should Go: These magical poppy fields are so colorful, you’ll feel like you’re in the Wizard of Oz.
Muir Woods National Monument
Price: $15 per person plus an $8 parking reservation per vehicle
Location: 1 Muir Woods Rd, Mill Valley, California
Why You Should Go: You can stop in any of the woodsy scenes and snap the perfect pic. If you do want to explore, there are plenty of easy, flat walking trails.
Editor's Note: The Antelope Poppy Reserve is a seasonal super bloom. The best time to go is during March. Make sure to stay on designated trails and do not trample the flowers. They can take years to grow back. There are ways to take unique photos that make it look like you're surrounded by flowers while you're on the trail.
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.