Behold massive sequoias, ancient forests, peaceful beaches, and tasty brews in this northern California wonderland. Experience awe with a trip to Redwood National Park. The expansive area—which is actually a clustered network of national and state sites—is home to stunning giants that grow over 350 feet tall. Go beyond the obligatory tree-hug photo with these bright ideas for exploring nature’s majesty.
Drive the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway
This 10-mile road cuts through the heart of an old-growth forest in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Herds of Roosevelt elk roam the woods and are easy to spot right from your car’s windows. If you want a more immersive experience, hop out and go for a hike at one of the many trailheads, including Big Tree Wayside and Ah-Pah.
Hike to Fern Canyon on James Irvine Trail
Enter prehistoric wilderness on this 9-mile roundtrip hike. The densely verdant forest served as the backdrop for a number of scenes in Jurassic Park 2, including the untimely demise of dino-hunter Dieter Stark. Don’t worry, you won’t encounter any velociraptors as you make your way along redwood growths and through the 50-foot-deep canyon dripping with ferns.
Ride Trees of Mystery
“Hi there, friend! Welcome to the Trees of Mystery!” bellows a 50-foot-tall Paul Bunyan statue as you arrive at this unique attraction. The Trees of Mystery features a 0.8-mile interpretive trail, more than 50 wooden chainsaw-carved sculptures, and the main attraction, the SkyTrail gondola ride, which provides a Bunyan-esque perspective of the forest from 130 feet above the ground.
Stay at Gold Bluffs Beach Campground
Where else can you spend all day in a lush, towering forest and turn in at night on a beach’s soft sand? The Gold Bluffs Beach Campground is nestled among sand dunes and offers 25 campsites with fire pits and picnic tables. If you prefer a more luxe experience, book a room at Garberville’s Benbow Historic Inn, or choose among seven Victorian properties that together make up Eureka’s Carter House Inns.
Sip a flight of hoppy brews
Lost Coast Brewery has been Humboldt County’s hops mecca since it opened its doors in 1990 pouring the malty Downtown Brown. The brewery now serves more than half a dozen styles, and it ships the good stuff all around the world. Stop in for a flight and stay for dinner at the adjoining restaurant.