The Fourth of July holiday is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends for a relaxing picnic, a beautiful hike, a swim, camping, or exploring historic sites and museums. With 280 state park units, California offers a variety of adventures for everyone.
When celebrating this patriotic holiday, it is important for all of our visitors to enjoy the outdoors in a safe and responsible manner.
Below you will find our top 10 tips the first-time attendee, the most experienced visitor and everyone in between:
- No Fireworks: Visitors to California’s state parks and historic sites are reminded that fireworks are not allowed. Please check our events webpage to see which parks may have fireworks display.
- Heat Exposure: Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and stay hydrated. Make sure to take plenty water.
- Swim responsibly: When swimming in the ocean, be alert to rip currents and sneaker waves. Inland waterways continue to rise as snow melts and can be dangerously cold and swift. Even the strongest swimmers can be stunned by cold water and become incapacitated. Simple actions such as knowing the water conditions (is it too cold or swift?), knowing your limits, wearing a life jacket and simply not entering rivers during spring runoff, can save a life.
- Wear a Proper Lifejacket: Make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard-approved and fits properly. Several public and private entities make life jackets available to the public on a loan basis. View Locations.
- Actively Supervise Children: Appoint a designated “water watcher,” taking turns with other adults. Do not assume that someone is watching children.
- Avoid Alcohol:Operating your boat or an off-highway vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more is against the law. Impaired boaters will be stopped and can be arrested even with lower BAC if the conditions are not safe. Your boat can be impounded.
- Use the buddy system: Hike or swim with a friend or family member. This is key especially if you are bit by a snake, encounter other wildlife or need medical attention. Buddies can seek help for you.
- Fire Safety: Contain your fires to manageable size within the appropriate metal rings or fire pits provided the park. Make sure to check with the park to see if they are any fire restrictions.
- Prepare an Itinerary:No matter what type of recreation activity you will be participating in, leave an itinerary of your trip with a family member/friend with information such as name/age of all participants, travel destination and expected return date. This will ensure law enforcement personnel have a better understanding of your location in the event of a rescue.
- Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation: In many of our OHV parks, temperatures can reach 125 degrees, make sure to stay hydrated. Use proper equipment, tread lightly and stay on designated trails and use caution when approaching curves and hillcrests. Drive with courtesy and carefully.
- Wildlife:View wildlife from a distance. Never feed or touch animals and other wildlife
We hope everyone has a safe and fantastic Fourth of July and entire summer filled with new adventures!
With over 340 miles of coastline, 970 miles of lake and river frontage, 15,000 campsites, and 4,500 miles of trails, California State Parks contains the largest and most diverse recreational, natural, and cultural heritage holdings of any state agency in the nation with 280 state parks. More than 67 million people annually visit California’s state park system. Invent your adventure online at www.parks.ca.gov.
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