California is considered to be the skateboarding mecca. Almost every city has its own skatepark, and nearly every skatepark is unique, with its own set of features that promise you a legendary skate. If you enjoy riding bowls, transitions, or street obstacles, take a look at the 12 best skateparks in California you should visit.
Having originated in California, skate heritage continues to draw skaters from all over the world. The iconic Venice Beach Skatepark competes with parks such as Lake Cunningham, Tanzanite, and Curt Pernice. However, there are plenty more legendary bowls to be found in The Golden State.
Since the 1960s, California has been at the root of skate culture. The temperate climate and Golden State atmosphere entice skaters from across the globe to brave the bowls of California’s legendary skateparks. To best immerse yourself in California’s skate culture, get to know the must-see skate parks.
- 1 The 12 Best Skateparks in California
- 1.1 1. Lake Cunningham Regional Skate Park, San Jose
- 1.2 2. Tanzanite Skate Park, Sacramento
- 1.3 3. Curt Pernice Skate Park, Ripon
- 1.4 4. Alameda Skatepark, Alameda
- 1.5 5. Vans Skatepark, Orange
- 1.6 6. Vans “Off the Wall” Skatepark, Huntington Beach
- 1.7 7. Venice Beach Skatepark, Venice Beach
- 1.8 8. Houghton Skatepark, Long Beach
- 1.9 9. Caruthers Skatepark, Bellflower
- 1.10 10. Cherry Park Skatepark, Long Beach
- 1.11 11. Stoner Skate Plaza, Los Angeles
- 1.12 12. Encinitas Skate Park, Encinitas
- 2 Conclusion
The 12 Best Skateparks in California
What began as a fad in the late 1950s and early 1960s has evolved into a global phenomenon and a multibillion-dollar business recognized worldwide. However, California retains the soul of skateboarding, particularly in its many skate parks and massive terrain parks with undulating concrete hips, bowls, and lips, as well as rails, boxes, and pipes.
With hundreds of parks that dot the landscape from north to south, it can be a challenge deciding where to take your board. However, these are the 12 best skateparks in California that you should visit.
1. Lake Cunningham Regional Skate Park, San Jose
Its size and location on the shores of Lake Cunningham set it apart, with approximately 68,000 square feet and massive bowl and street sections. The best part is that California Skateparks did not waste a single square foot without adding something significant.
This skatepark is four times the size of the average California skatepark and four times the stoke! It has a giant cradle, the tallest vert wall, a full pipe, and a variety of bowls for skaters of all abilities. It also has a large street section with various stairs, handrails, ledges, and rails of varying heights to accommodate different skill levels.
This Park’s admission fee is unique since most skateparks in California are free to use. Skating costs are $10, and parking costs are $6. You must fill out their waiver form online before visiting, and helmets and protective pads are protocol. This skatepark does not open on Mondays and Tuesdays, which is helpful to know if you’re flying in from out of state or driving to San Jose.
2. Tanzanite Skate Park, Sacramento
With only 16,000 square feet, Tanzanite may not win any awards for its small size, but its design by legendary skatepark builder Wally Hollyday punches far above its weight class in terms of options per foot. Three cool bowls offer various aerial options, ranging from a simple beginner dip to a more advanced depression with multiple depths, in-pool transitions, and exciting lips.
Tanzanite’s street section, on the other hand, really shines, with multiple stair sets, ledges begging to be hit, and rails desperate for grinds. Overall, the Tanzanite Skatepark is a fantastic facility! It provides riders with numerous opportunities to ride a variety of vert and bowls.
The skatepark also has a fantastic street section with numerous ledges and stairs. The Park’s large ramps and flow go downhill in both directions. This is the ideal skatepark for any rider, regardless of wheel type—furthermore, the small bowl to anyone learning to skateboard in a skatepark.
3. Curt Pernice Skate Park, Ripon
Curt Pernice Skate Park was named one of the best in California by Thrasher magazine. The Park, located in Ripon, about 80 miles east of San Francisco, is famous for its epic pool. This concrete behemoth takes up most of the 30,000 square-foot space and can compete with any other in the state or beyond.
Skaters can choose from a variety of pyramids, boxes, and rails, as well as step-ups and a fun half pipe. The vibe is laid-back, as welcoming to beginners and tourists passing through as it is to the Park’s hard-core crowd. The surrounding area is beautifully landscaped but devoid of trees, so apply sunscreen liberally before venturing into the concrete jungle.
4. Alameda Skatepark, Alameda
Alameda Skatepark, also known as City View Skatepark, is Alameda’s only skatepark and one of the better outdoor parks in the bay area. It has a fantastic view of the city and some unique features. This is a beginner and family-friendly Park with a fun box, small ledges, and various hips.
There is a good mix of street and vert skating and plenty of riding space for everyone. However, in recent years, Alameda has seen an increase in bikers. Still, if you want to skate alone, this Park can be pretty enjoyable. On a Thursday morning, around 8:00 am, the Park is quieter so you can skate in peace.
However, the transitions in the bowls can be tricky. The coping is sunken in, making grinds extremely difficult. The best part about Alameda is that it has one of the best views of San Francisco that you can get from the East Bay.
5. Vans Skatepark, Orange
Orange’s Vans Skate Park may be one of the best skateparks in the world. It’s not the biggest, but it has many excellent features that you won’t find anywhere else. This Park is frequented by legends and features the legendary Combi Pool. Aside from skating, children can also take skating lessons and have a birthday party at this Park.
Skating at Orange’s Vans Skatepark is now free. Skating used to cost $10, but even that isn’t bad considering all the world-class features and indoor facilities it provides. However, they restrict entry when it reaches capacity, so you should arrive extra early.
Skaters under 18 must wear knee pads, elbow pads, and a helmet, while adults over 18 must only wear a helmet. If you are without a helmet or pads, you can rent them when you check-in—you can even rent a skateboard if you need one.
The Vans Skate Park features a 20,000-square-foot indoor street course with banks, ledges, manual pads, and other features. There’s also a warm-up course for beginners with beginner-friendly obstacles that’s great for learning.
Aside from the combi bowl, transition skaters can look forward to the 80-foot mini ramp! You can grind and bust out tricks without running out of room. The Vans Skate Park Mini Ramp is well worth the visit!
6. Vans “Off the Wall” Skatepark, Huntington Beach
The Vans “Off the Wall Skatepark” in Huntington Beach is an enormous outdoor park with a large Vans store where you can buy apparel, shoes, boards, and other merchandise. What’s best is that there are no entrance fees.
The street course with transitions and quarter pipes on almost all sides creates some serious flow in this Park. The design is also perfect for avoiding collisions, making it suitable for beginners. Street skaters will undoubtedly enjoy practicing runs from beginning to end. It has rollers, stairs, rails, gaps, kickers, and incredible people! You might even see some pros skating at this skatepark on occasion.
A Vans Skatepark would be incomplete without a bowl or two, in addition to the street section. There are three bowls at “Off the Wall Skatepark”! It has a combi bowl, which is a reversed version of the one in Orange, just like the Vans Park in Orange.
Other than the combi bowl, it features two beginner-friendly bowls with easier transitions and roll-in sections, making them an excellent way to skate without dropping in. Visitors must wear a helmet for safety, and children must wear elbow and knee pads. Take note that the Park is reserved for BMX riders on Wednesdays.
7. Venice Beach Skatepark, Venice Beach
Venice Beach Skatepark is one of the world’s most popular skateparks. If you’re in California, used to be a must-see park!
As a skateboarder, you’re probably aware that some of the earliest days of skateboarding began in Venice, and just being in this city will give you chills. Venice Beach Skatepark epitomizes the laid-back Southern California skate vibe.
Nowadays, Venice Beach is a mess and not always safe to visit. There are quite a number of people with mental diabilities who can’t get the professional help they need and end up on the street. You should be aware of this before you plan to visit. Anyhoo:
The skatepark design is among the best globally, but its location on the Pacific Coast sets it apart. The snake runs at Venice Beach Skatepark are enjoyable, with mild to steep transitions, and are suitable for beginner to expert bowl riders. It also has a pool section and various street sections inside and outside the Park.
Venice Beach Skatepark can get quite busy in the afternoon, so the ideal time to skate and perfect the features is early in the morning. Even though it is crowded, the locals are very welcoming to visitors, allowing children and adults of all skill levels to take turns with them. Even if you don’t skate, just watching the locals rip the skatepark will get you pumped!
8. Houghton Skatepark, Long Beach
Houghton Skatepark has an excellent street section, but the bowl section and the creative murals throughout the Park are the highlights. The bowl is divided into three sections with varying depths. It also has a vert wall, which is quite exciting to ride. The transitions are easy, but they may be too high for beginners learning to drop in for the first time.
The ideal time to head to this Park is in the morning, when it is empty, especially if you want to perfect its features. However, it is best to visit in the afternoon to understand how the locals use the various elements. You might even see some pro skateboarders, such as David Gonzales, who frequents this Park.
9. Caruthers Skatepark, Bellflower
Caruthers or Bellflower Skatepark is not a well-known skatepark in Los Angeles County, so it is rarely overcrowded. However, it is one of the best skateparks for beginners learning to skate bowls and transitions. The street section is not particularly large, but it contains all the expected features and obstacles.
Caruthers Skatepark is known for its bowl section. It has a clover bowl section that has very smooth and mellow transitions. Simply roll into the bowl and practice riding the transition. Caruthers is the perfect spot to learn how to carve and kick turn, but it also has “flow” if you’re already familiar with riding bowls.
10. Cherry Park Skatepark, Long Beach
Long Beach’s famous Cherry Park Skatepark is a street skateboarding mecca. A-frames, ledges, rails, manual and double pads, and even a fire hydrant are among the many gnarly features. It’s a professionally built skatepark, but it has a DIY vibe thanks to these cool features.
Cherry Park Skatepark is in Downtown Long Beach and adjacent to the Pacific Ocean, but it has a more downtown urban city vibe than Venice Beach Skatepark. Whether you’re cruising around downtown or skating in the Park, it’s always worth the visit. Cherry Park is not ideal for bowl skating because it is designed more like a skate plaza than a traditional skatepark.
11. Stoner Skate Plaza, Los Angeles
This skate plaza began as an illegal DIY spot and is now supported by the Los Angeles City Council. Knowing that the skaters of West LA worked hard to create their spot, you can’t help but admire their dedication! This street plaza is jam-packed with obstacles for skaters of all skill levels, including ledges, stairs, and manual pads.
Suppose you want to improve your street skills, this Park to practice your flips, grinds, and slides. Because of its space, flow, and, of course, the movement that the locals started to get what they wanted, this street skatepark is one of the best in Los Angeles and California!
12. Encinitas Skate Park, Encinitas
The Encinitas Skate Park, also known as Pood’s Park, is a San Diego treasure. This is yet another masterpiece of street skating, but unlike other street-focused parks such as Stoner Skate Plaza and Cherry Park, it also includes a fun bowl section for transition skaters. Pood’s Park is a relatively new skatepark that just celebrated its sixth anniversary.
This skate plaza is 44 acres in size and encompasses a So-Cal atmosphere, with palm trees, planters, benches, staircases, handrails, and other natural city features where you can skate without having to worry about security guards. However, the Park’s aesthetic truly distinguishes it and skating Pood’s Park feels like skating on city streets.
As the skateboarding mecca of the world, California boasts legendary skateparks from the iconic but now notorious Venice Beach Skatepark to Lake Cunningham, Tanzanite, Curt Pernice, and many more. The sunshine and Golden State atmosphere attracts skate enthusiasts from across the globe to brave the bowls of California’s legendary skateparks.
I’m an aged skateboarder and I still shred responsibly. I started skateboarding 25 years ago but also love surfing, snowboarding, or anything that involves a board.