11/25/2010 02:16 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

California State Parks: 169 Ways To Tackle California's State Parks

While America's national parks get the full Ken-Burns treatment, state parks protect vast swaths of the country's natural and historic treasures without much ado and on a (frayed) shoestring budget. One third of California's coastline (280 miles) is covered by state parks, which ensures that a wonderland of pristine beaches, surf spots, scenic views, wildlife habitats, and fragile ecosystems are saved from encroaching development. You can hike though ancient coastal forests, bird watch in wetlands, soak in desert hot springs, visit a 19th-century Chinese temple, explore abandoned mining towns, mountain climb to 10,000+ feet, or sink into an inland sea at 230 feet below sea level. An alarmist note: funding for state parks in California (and elsewhere) is at a crisis point and hours and services are being cut. Use them or lose them! --Written by Megan Cytron, Editor of Trazzler

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