One of the barriers to wanting to hike, tide-pool, spend a day at the beach, or do anything nature-like in Los Angeles with any kind of consistency can be the expense. It may seem daunting to throw down $8 to $20 every time you take advantage of what Southern California has to offer. The expense compounded by traffic, multiplied by not being able to guarantee a free parking spot on the side of the PCH, or hiding in a residential neighborhood may make you want to skip over every L.A. Nature post I write. Although I can’t make promises about traffic free days, I can however point you in the right direction about how to get cheaper parking and do a little good.
The following recommendations are for if you want to do any of these things I have mentioned at least once a month.
If you are at all using the Baldwin Scenic Overlook to hike or use those stairs from hell as your personal gym ($6) to look good on over 25 amazing beaches ($12), have a love of wildflowers and want to make the trip to Anza-Borrego to also see Big Horn Sheep and part of the Pacific Crest Trail ($8), want to figure out what the heck a Tufa is ($3), or see where the California Riviera once was ($5) I recommend the annual pass. It can run you $195, which sounds like a lot but you only have to run those steps about once a week or go to the beach twice a month to make it worth while. (If you surf you can be going almost daily)
The California State Park Foundation memberships offer a more a la cart style of annual parking passes, discounts on camping, a membership only publication on day hikes, and more. You get all these great things, plus help preserve California State Parks. These range anywhere from $45 to up and beyond the $195.