Turlock Lake State Recreation Area is exactly what its name implies: a small lake that is perfectly suited for recreation. It’s a great spot for swimming, fishing, boating, or just a picnic.
Railtown 1897 State Historic Park is a train enthusiast’s utopia. The charming site has been used as a set for many Hollywood movies, and it’s easy to see why. A ride on the old #3 engine feels like a ride back in time, which is perhaps why it was the very engine used in Back to the Future Part III.
Fort Tejon State Historic Park has been used to stage reenactments of battles and frontier life. Even without the performers, the grounds and buildings take the visitor back in time.
Tule Elk State Natural Reserve is a large fenced-off grassland in the middle of the Central Valley. It provides a glimpse at what the landscape looked like before it was taken over for agricultural use. What it didn’t provide us with were any glimpses of were Tule Elk, but we did see a log that we thought was an elk, but was actually a log.
Antelope Valley Indian Museum contains a beautiful collection of artifacts from native peoples throughout the Southwest. It is also a museum of a museum, containing some rooms as they were organized by the original collectors in the 30s and 50s, representing some of the cultural biases of their day as well as the artifacts themselves.
Often, a visit to one of California’s state historic parks offers a chance to glimpse the lifestyle of an important figure in our history, but few are as fascinating as Pío Pico, whose life spanned some of the most turbulent times in California history. He reluctantly became governor of California when the territory changed from Spanish to Mexican rule, and he was governor when California changed hands again, this time to the Americans. It was at this time that he retired to his charming adobe rancho in Whittier.
The stunning Santa Susana Pass between the Simi Hills and the Santa Susana mountains contains trails that have been used for thousands of years by native people, and for dozens of years by filmmakers looking for the perfect spot for a Western.
We’ve been to a lot (a lot) of state beaches on this project, but nothing quite compares to Morro Strand. The well-preserved dunes, covered in lush native vegetation, are home to a dazzling array of birds. This gives way to a vast stretch of soft sand, all crowned by the impressive Morro Rock.