Want to see the green side of the Golden State? All month long, Earth Day celebrations showcase the beauty and diversity of the California landscape, with activities that run the gamut from coastal cleanups and wildflower walks to upcycled fashion shows. Whether you’re planning to navigate mountain roads or hit the SoCal shores, here are 12 eco events to check out across the state—including seven taking place on April 22, the anniversary of the first Earth Day held in 1970.
Breathe in the mountain air while enjoying live music, a student “trashion” show, a climate change exhibit, and booths with hands-on activities and giveaways. Held at The Village at Palisades Tahoe resort, this festival is one of the largest Earth Day celebrations in the region. This festival is just one of 20 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day in Truckee-Tahoe, where sustainable travel is a year-round focus. Other ideas include learning about the history and culture of the Wahsoe Tribe, volunteering in the community, utilizing a free shuttle, and shopping local.
April 22: Earth Day Festival at Courthouse Square
Have fun and do your part to protect the planet at this free, zero-waste event in downtown Santa Rosa. Bring the whole family for kids’ crafts, food from local vendors, multicultural entertainment such as taiko drummers and Irish step dancers, a honeybee workshop, composting demo, and a beer garden.
In the urban oasis of Golden Gate Park, this free Bay Area festival offers activities ranging from a vegan chefs’ showcase to environmentally focused art programming. A lineup of global musicians, green revolution speakers, and interactive workshops where attendees can build a bike or silk-screen T-shirts round out the day’s entertainment.
A kids’ zone, food trucks, local art, and a green car show are highlights at this free Central Coast environmental fair. Pack your hiking boots—the family-friendly event is taking place this year at Laguna Lake Park, one of the top spots to see wildflowers in San Luis Obispo County.
The next generation is leading the charge at the waterfront aquarium’s Earth Day celebration, presented by its teen climate council. Expect booths and activities that aim to educate, including an environmentally friendly fashion presentation featuring upcycled apparel.
Families can gather for a fun-filled Earth Day at the largest remaining estuary in Southern California. The free community event features food trucks, arts and crafts, live music, and an educational scavenger hunt at Upper Newport Bay’s Peter & Mary Muth Interpretive Center.
Proving that one day can make a difference, the Creek to Bay Cleanup removed 74,000 pounds of litter last year across San Diego County. It’s one of the largest single-day environmental action events held in San Diego and it returns this Earth Day with volunteer opportunities at dozens of inland and coastal sites. Register in advance for a site near your hotel, then grab a bucket to rid the landscape of dangerous debris ranging from cigarette butts to plastic waste.
California has more national parks than any other state, and on April 22 visitors can access all of these bucket-list destinations for free. The waived entrance fees are part of the National Park Service’s National Park Week. Spend a starry night in Death Valley, catch wildflower blooms in Joshua Tree, or see sequoias in Yosemite. Don’t miss special events and activities hosted at individual parks during the nine-day celebration.
Celebrate Earth Day by arriving at the Oxbow Commons festival on two wheels—your green mode of transport will be rewarded with a free bike valet. Then gear up for an afternoon filled with educational crafts and games, face painting, food and beer offerings, and live music. Before the event, you can also join a volunteer crew for the Earth Day Napa Community Cleanup project at sites throughout the city and in Yountville.
As one of the largest public Earth Day events on the West Coast, this annual festival features an impressive slate of more than 200 exhibitors, an eco-marketplace, and a car show with the latest electric vehicles and e-bikes. Make a pit stop at the plant-based food court and beer garden before posting up at the main stage for two days of music and family-friendly entertainment.
Visit the Los Angeles Zoo any weekend in April to check out its conservation-themed events and special animal feedings. Whether you step into the shoes of a wildlife biologist to save endangered California condors, sample all-natural honey, or attend the Earth Expo for no-waste activities, there’s no shortage of nature-driven entertainment during the five-week celebration.
Ready to roll up your sleeves? You can help protect the Golden State from the impacts of climate change during one of 11 Earth Day volunteer opportunities taking place up and down the coast. From trash cleanup challenges in Old Town San Diego to vegetation restoration in China Camp State Park near San Rafael, visitors can find distinct experiences unique to each region’s landscape and needs.
All month: Celebrate Earth Day in Truckee
As one of the most sustainability-minded destinations in the state, Truckee-Tahoe does not disappoint visitors looking to engage in the spirit of Earth Day. Find out about 20 ways to celebrate here, learn just what a sustainable Truckee gift card is and where you can get one here, and explore sustainable Truckee programs and sponsorships here.