After living in Los Angeles for almost a year now, one thing I've learned is just how big California is. The state is truly massive, and it's home to many different types of climates and terrains. Truthfully, even though I'm a wanderluster and want to see everything I possibly can, I've spent little time exploring what The Golden State has to offer. That's why I'm prioritizing the
best spots in California to unplug and spend quality time with Mother Nature.
One of the amazing things about California's national parks, in my opinion, is that many of them
have limited cell service, according to The Los Angeles Times. This means that when you take a vacation to one of them, you can actually take a vacation. No work emails, random phone calls, or social media notifications to worry about — just you, the open air, and your travel buddies.
While there are a million places you probably want to see all over the globe, I highly recommend starting somewhere a little closer to home. California's natural reserves are places I've honestly only seen in postcards, and whenever I get a chance to turn all of my electronics off, I know that these are the places I'll go.
Death Valley National Park
Have you ever seen a picture from California with towering mountains, rolling rainbow-hued hills, and epic sunsets, all in a dreamy desert setting? You probably thought, "I want to go
there." If this sounds familiar, then you've probably seen photos of Death Valley.
This desert valley in eastern California is the
"hottest, driest, and lowest" (elevation-wise) national park, according to the National Park Service. It experiencese extreme weather conditions, but when the timing is right, Death Valley is the perfect place to turn on airplane mode and snap the most incredible pics.
Before your trip, make sure you check out their "
current conditions" page so you know what to expect when you get there. And for serious Instagram inspo, check out their feed. 02
Joshua Tree National Park
Known for being a getaway into Mother Nature for people based in LA, Joshua Tree is an incredible place for a weekend trip. The
park is named after the unique, cartoon-like "trees" that are scattered throughout, but actually, according to The National Park Service, they're not really trees. In fact, they're a member of the Agave family, which really means they're giant succulents.
As the park's website clearly states,
there's no cell service when you get into the park (outside of the welcome areas), which means that whatever amount of time you spend in Joshua Tree is time completely unfazed by the buzzing of your phone.
Before your visit, make sure you learn more about the weather conditions and any emergency alerts on their
If you're the kind of person who wants to go chasing a waterfall, you should 100% head to Yosemite National Park. The park is known for
all of its waterfalls, both big and small, and if you visit at the right time, you might even catch a glimpse of frazil ice (when a waterfall freezes).
The park is perfect for day hikes and short visits. If you're up for camping and overnight backpacking, you can do that here, too. While
there is cell service in some parts of the park, you'll still be able to enjoy your time bonding with Mother Nature. Big Sur is definitely a spot in California not to be missed. Known for beautiful cliff sides and the iconic Bixby Bridge, there is just so much beautiful scenery to explore throughout the area. While you're there, you can check out the tall Redwoods or head to a spa retreat like Carmel Valley Ranch for some serious relaxation.
If you're a frequent traveler and a nature lover, chances are, visiting the world's largest trees is at the top of your bucket list. There's no better place to do this than at Sequoia National Park. It's
home to the General Sherman, the biggest tree in the world, and you can take some pretty epic pictures with all the ones you encounter through your treks. Cell service is pretty spotty, so you can really take some time to appreciate the sheer magnitude of these trees without fear of checking your email inbox. 06
Devils Postpile National Monument
the whole area has a ton of nature to discover, between Rainbow Falls, the San Joaquin River, and the High Sierra, the iconic landmark is the postpile itself. There's a ton of science that went into the formation of Devils Postpile that I don't totally understand, but it's safe to say that the hexagonal rocks would make for a pretty epic photo opp. There is no public wifi, and cell service is limited, so you can really take some time to enjoy spending time in nature — and having an epic photo shoot in the process. 07
California's Lost Coast
If you're looking for a destination that's a little more difficult to get to — that is, a spot that doesn't have much access on the major freeways — you should definitely check out California's
Lost Coast. There's little to no cell reception in the area, so you can spend your time enjoying the beautiful rivers, fields, stunning coastline, and just getting a little peace and quiet.