Article Summary: National Parks Near Fresno
National Parks Near Fresno! There’s so much more to the Golden State than California Raisins. In this article, More Than Just Parks gives you some exciting vacation destinations within a day’s drive of Fresno.
I’ve been to so many of these amazing places since retiring from teaching in 2018. Did I mention that I taught history? I spent a lifetime teaching about the history behind these momentous sites. Then I got to see them firsthand. And now I’m sharing the stories of these incredible places with you. It doesn’t get any better than that!
Although it’s in the heart of California’s most productive agricultural region, Fresno is also a sophisticated city of gorgeous gardens and parks, with a vibrant creative community and one unforgettable (and underground) attraction you won’t find anywhere else. It’s also the Central Valley’s largest city.
It’s also home to some amazing national parks that are within a day’s drive (or less) of the city.
So, What Is A National Park?
We get asked that question a lot because there’s a difference between a “national park” and a “national park site.” To help you understand that difference you might want to check out our article titled: What Is A National Park Really?
If you’re planning a trip to the Fresno area then one book that I highly recommend is: Greater than a Tourist: Fresno California, USA: 50 Travel Tips from a Local by Nicole Lopez.
Now let’s go ahead with 7 reasons why you’ll want to hop in your car and make a day’s drive from Fresno to one of these truly amazing places.
Table Of Contents: National Parks Near Fresno
National Parks Near Fresno
- Best National Parks Near Fresno
- More National Parks Near Fresno
- National Parks Near Fresno FAQ
- Meet The Parks Brothers
- Map Of National Parks Near Fresno
- Further Reading
- We Hope You’ll Follow Our Journey
Best National Parks Near Fresno
1. John Muir National Historic Site
Distance From Fresno: Two hours & 45 minutes via CA-99 N.
The John Muir National Historic Site was established in 1964 to commemorate the life and work of naturalist and conservationist John Muir.
John Muir was born in Scotland in 1838 and immigrated to the United States with his family in 1849. He spent much of his life exploring the natural world, and became a passionate advocate for the preservation of America’s wilderness areas.
Muir Played A Key Role In The Creation Of Several National Parks
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Muir played a key role in the creation of several National Parks, including Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. He was also the co-founder of the Sierra Club, a grassroots organization dedicated to protecting the environment.
The John Muir National Historic Site was established in 1964 to preserve Muir’s home and the surrounding property. The site includes Muir’s Victorian mansion, as well as the surrounding gardens and orchards. It also features exhibits and interpretive programs that highlight Muir’s life and work, and the role he played in the American conservation movement.
Today, the John Muir National Historic Site is a popular destination for visitors who are interested in the history of conservation and the life of John Muir. It provides a unique opportunity to learn about the man and his legacy, and to experience the beauty of the natural world that he worked so hard to protect.
2. Muir Woods National Monument
Distance From Fresno: Three hours and 21 minutes via CA-99 N & I-580 W.
If you like the great Redwoods of California then you’ll love exploring Muir Woods. The park contains 6 miles of trails. There is a 1/2 hour loop, a 1 hour loop, and a 1 1/2 hour loop as well as longer hikes on trails that extend into surrounding Mount Tamalpais State Park.
Situated just off California’s coastline and named for the legendary conservationist, Muir Woods National Monument is home to some of the most beautiful stands of old-growth redwoods on the planet.
Now, I must say, compared to the redwoods you’ll find in Redwood National & State Parks, or the Sequoias you’ll see at Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, these specimens leave something to be desired. However, they’re still worth a visit, especially for nearby San-Franciscans.
Getting into the national monument requires advance reservation so be sure to check in prior to visiting. Once you’re there just follow the Main Trail (yes, that’s its name) which takes hikers through the grove.
Along the way you’ll see bridges which cross to the other side of the loop allowing hikers to do a .5, 1, or 2 mile loop.
3. Point Reyes National Sea Shore
Distance From Fresno: Three hours & 38 minutes via CA-99 N & I-580 W.
Resources: Where to Stay
Point Reyes National Seashore is a 71,028-acre protected area located on a peninsula in Marin County, California.
It features diverse landscapes including beaches, cliffs, forests, and grasslands, and is home to a variety of wildlife including whales, seals, and elk.
The park also includes historic sites, such as the Point Reyes Lighthouse, as well as opportunities for activities like hiking, camping, and kayaking.
It was established as a National Seashore in 1962 to preserve its natural and cultural resources for future generations.
More National Parks Near Fresno
4 & 5. Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
Distance From Fresno: Two hours via CA-180 E & Generals Hwy.
Imagine a 2-For-1 Special. That’s right! Two national parks for the price of one!
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks had 1.2 million visitors in 2020. Sequoia National Park was established on September 25, 1890, making it our country’s second oldest national park.
Kings Canyon was established fifty years later on March 4, 1940. Together, these two parks offer a truly unique experience for travelers looking to experience some of America’s most amazing natural wonders.
Together, these two parks contain the world’s largest and second largest trees. They’re truly a land of giants. Huge mountains, rugged foothills, deep canyons, vast caverns, and the world’s largest trees exemplify the diversity of landscapes, life, and beauty at this two amazing parks which are side by side.
RELATED: LEARN EVERYTHING THAT YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THESE TWO PARKS. CHECK OUT 15 GIANT SEQUOIA & KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS FACTS YOU DIDN’T KNOW
The Tallest Trees In The World
Of course, you’re going to want to be sure to visit the two stars of these two parks. The General Sherman Tree is the world’s largest tree, measured by volume. It stands 275 feet (83 m) tall, and is over 36 feet (11 m) in diameter at the base. It’s located in Sequoia National Park.
The General Grant Tree is located in Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park. The General Grant Tree is the second-largest tree in the world, standing 267 feet tall, and nearly 29 feet wide at the base.
6. Yosemite National Park
Distance From Fresno: One hour & 14 minutes via CA-41 N.
In 2020, Yosemite had 2.27 million visitors. Yosemite is not America’s oldest national park though it was first protected eight years before the creation of Yellowstone–America’s oldest national park. The park is best known for its waterfalls, but you can also find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.
In 1849, Yosemite Valley, located in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, began to receive many tourists to the region. They came because of the California Gold Rush. As a consequence, conservationists appealed to President Abraham Lincoln to make Yosemite Valley a public trust of California.
Yosemite is famed for its giant, ancient sequoia trees, and for Tunnel View, the iconic vista of towering Bridalveil Fall and the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome. In Yosemite Village are shops, restaurants, lodging, the Yosemite Museum and the Ansel Adams Gallery, with prints of the photographer’s renowned black-and-white landscapes of the area.
National Parks Near Fresno FAQ
California boasts nine national parks—more than any other state—and each has its own unique appeal. Death Valley is the biggest, the hottest, and the most foreboding.
Why Trust Us About National Parks Near Fresno?
We’re Jim Pattiz and Will Pattiz, collectively known as the Pattiz Brothers (and sometimes the Parks Brothers) and we absolutely LOVE the national parks.
You should probably know that we don’t just make this stuff up out of thin air. We’ve spent our entire adult lives exploring and filming America’s national parks and public lands.
We’ve worked with the National Park Service, the Department of Interior, USDA, and the U.S. Forest Service for years creating films on important places and issues. Our work has been featured in leading publications all over the world and even some people outside of our immediate family call us experts on the national parks.
Meet The Parks Brothers
Map Of National Parks Near Fresno
List Of National Parks Near Fresno
- John Muir National Historic Site
- Muir Woods National Monument
- Point Reyes National Sea Shore
- Sequoia National Park
- Kings Canyon National Park
- Yosemite National Park
- 9 EPIC CALIFORNIA NATIONAL PARKS (Beautiful Photos + Video)
- 15 (STUNNING) Things to Do in Redwood National Park
- An Expert Guide to REDWOOD NATIONAL PARK (Epic Video + Photos)
- 10 [EPIC] Things to Do at Pinnacles National Park (Expert Guide)
- JOSHUA TREE National Park: A (Very) Helpful Guide with Photos + Video
- 20 (BEST) West Coast National Parks – Ranked by Experts
- Why DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK is Worth the Trip (Photos + Video)
- 15 EPIC HIKES in JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK (+ Photos)
We Hope You’ll Follow Our Journey
Our goal here at More Than Just Parks is to share the beauty of America’s national parks and public lands through stunning short films in an effort to get Americans and the world to see the true value in land conservation.
We hope you’ll follow our journey through the parks and help us to keep them the incredible places that they are. If you’re interested in joining the adventure then please sign up below!