By Rachel Puryear
Live in the San Francisco Bay Area, or visit sometimes? Want to get away to a place that feels away from everything, even when you don’t have a lot of time to travel?
Check out the Pinnacles! Situated near Hollister, California, it’s just about an hour and a half from San Jose – making it the closest National Park to the Bay Area.
There’s plenty of scenic hiking, a serene lake, and it’s a great place for bird watching – including the mighty condors!
If you get there early in the morning, especially during the cooler months, you might catch it shrouded in mist. This is an especially beautiful and peaceful time to see the park – well worth getting up early for. Plus, there’s much less traffic and fewer people.
Although the park makes for a great day or camping trip year round, many people find it most comfortable to visit there during the Fall or Spring – due to high daytime temperatures there during the Summer. So now’s a great time to start planning a Fall trip!
If you do camp there, it’s an excellent place for night sky watching (on a clear night), too!
See more about visiting the park here.
Did you know what items people forget most often when they’re going camping? Here’s a quick reminder, with links in case you need to pick these up before you go:
- Suitable heat source: camping heater, extra blankets, portable campfire (no wood needed, but needs a match to light). If it will be chilly, see here about camping in mildly chilly weather.
- Wet wipes, toilet paper and extra towels.
- Extra batteries. If you’d also like to plug in without a power outlet, you can do that easily with a jackery (my husband uses one of these to camp with a c-pap machine).
- Duct tape in case something rips, tools needed to set up tent, and a hatchet if you’ll be cutting wood.
- Cold packs. These can double to keep food cold, and in case of injuries. Packs are less messy than ice, and can be refrozen later. Just don’t forget to grab them out of the freezer before you go.
- Trash bags (see here for compostable ones).
- Can opener/bottle opener combo, ziploc bags to reseal food (see here for excellent reusable ones that we use). There’s nothing like sitting down after setting up camp to pop open a cold one, and…damn. Or carefully picking out canned food to be…unable to open it. Don’t go hungry or thirsty.
- Birth control (if you need it). If the bears and squirrels won’t be the only ones getting frisky in the woods, and pregnancy is possible, be sure to include protection on your checklist.
- Menstrual products (if you use them). Note that if you have a tween or teen child (8+) who might need these, be sure to pack them.
- Extra shoes, extra underwear, a poncho for rain.
Thank you, dear readers, for reading, following, and sharing. Here’s to awesome National Parks.
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