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Turn Your California Vacation into a Voluntourism Opportunity

by Eugenia Lazaris

Jan 24, 2023

© Engdao Wichitpunya | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

There is no shortage of exciting adventures to keep family travelers’ energy high when California is involved in a trip. That said, for a vacation with a purpose that lets families enjoy the Golden State while also teaching about giving back, consider linking up with California State Parks Foundation to turn your trip into a voluntourism vacation. By mixing anywhere from a few hours to several days of volunteering into your itinerary, the family not only gets to experience California’s natural beauty but also can reap the many great rewards stemming from giving your personal time to improve the world around you.


The foundation offers volunteer workdays throughout the year at parks across the state, letting you choose just the right activity and destination to work with your itinerary. From planting milkweed in February at Los Angeles State Historic Park to removing invasive plants from Garrapata State Park in Carmel-By-The-Sea in March, there are plenty of ways to see California’s beautiful landscapes and diverse wildlife, all while helping to keep its state parks looking their best.


Some national parks even get in on the California voluntourism action, like Yosemite. This is not only one of the most popular national parks in the country, but it also offers some of the most interesting volunteer opportunities with its Drop-In Volunteering program. While most parks require a regular commitment from volunteers, this program lets you stop in for a single day and do your part. Opportunities include Apple-Picking Day in August to clear the apple orchards and prevent unwanted bear visits. Another volunteer opportunity is Yosemite Facelift, a five-day volunteer event in September to help clean up the park.


Volunteering doesn’t just let you explore a destination up close and personally. It also teaches respect for nature, respect for those who do the hard work of caring for and maintaining it, and the importance of doing things selflessly for the betterment of the world around us. Volunteering is also a great way to make new friends and meet people from other walks of life.


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