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Five California State Parks to Visit This Fall

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We are fortunate in California to have 280 state parks, the largest state park system in the country. Together, these protected lands cover more than 1 million acres.

Today I have some recommendations for the best parks to visit this fall as the weather gets cooler and nicer. The parks system recently launched a digital passport program to encourage people to try to visit each one. (You can use a mobile app to track your visits and earn badges.) You can also check vehicle passes for most California state parks at your local public library.

Jorge Moreno, a spokesman for the state parks department, advised travelers to check the weather and the condition of a park before leaving home. And please don’t disturb the wildlife or take any plants.

Stay safe and have a good trip.

Hiking trails through Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park in the Sierra Nevada foothills, about a two-hour drive northeast of Sacramento, offer spectacular views of orange and yellow fall leaves. During the Gold Rush, the park was the site of California’s largest hydraulic gold mine, which created an artificial canyon where visitors can now see stunning exposed rock strata tinted with pink, ocher and sandy white. There is also a ghost town in the park with a museum and several buildings have been restored as historical exhibits.

Spend a day hiking, biking, or horseback riding in 670 acres of open space in western Los Angeles County at Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park. The park’s strange and intimidating sandstone rocks are not to be missed.

Along California’s windswept northwest coast, Humboldt Lagoons State Park is part of the largest lagoon system in the United States. The park is home to more than 200 species of birds, as well as black bears, Roosevelt elk, and bobcats. Visitors can also often spot whales, dolphins and sea lions offshore. There are plenty of water activities and a campground accessible only by hiking or paddle boarding.

Admire the fall colors of the vines of Napa Valley Wineries en route to Robert Louis Stevenson State Park. (Stevenson, the author of “Treasure Island,” honeymooned there in 1880.) At the park, you can hike five miles to the summit of Mount St. Helena for stunning views of the bay area. On a particularly clear day, you can see the summit of Mount Shasta, about 200 miles away.

Along the Colorado River on California’s southeastern border, Picacho State Recreation Area is a secluded park that offers a year-round desert escape. You can enjoy a peaceful afternoon of fishing or canoeing in this picturesque section of the river. The park can reach up to 120 degrees in the summer, so fall is a great time to plan a more comfortable visit.

Today’s tip comes from Bill Hildebrand, who recommends a visit to Tomales Bay in Marin County:

“We had a wonderful day last weekend at Tomales Bay. We bought fresh oysters and chipotle butter at Hog Island Oyster Co. in Marshall, drove to a nearby waterfront park and grilled the oysters on a small propane grill. Ground fires are not allowed in many California parks due to the risk of wildfires. Looking out at the sun glistening on the water and forest surrounding the bay, I was reminded that we live in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We will share more in future editions of the newsletter.


What are the best things that have happened to you so far this year? What were your victories? Or your unexpected joys, big or small?

Tell me at CAToday@nytimes.com. Please include your full name and the city where you live.


More and more young South Asian Americans are planning weddings that celebrate their dual identities, blending old and new traditions to create a vibrant culture — and with it a thriving industry.

In Los Angeles, Aisha Rawji, a Native American fashion designer and native Angeleno, began selling bridal wear at her South Asian boutique, called Kynah, in 2020. Drawn by the interplay between her Indian roots and her childhood American, Rawji stocked his shop with parts. from South Asian designers who showcased unconventional cuts and colors and held photo shoots at iconic locations like the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His business struck a chord with South Asian Americans who felt the same tug between identities, and within a year his business took off.

This trend applies to many in the wedding industry, including henna artists and party planners. As my colleague Priya Krishna recently wrote in the Times, more and more South Asian American couples are personalizing and modernizing their special days, whether it’s writing personalized vows — which are not traditional in Muslim weddings – or mixing playlists featuring Bad Bunny and Bollywood.

It’s “almost a way for American-born Indian children to stay in touch with their roots,” said Elizabeth Priya Kumar, a wedding planner in New York. She added: “For some of us, there may be no reason to return to India because there is no one left for us in India. »

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