california coast

California Coast Featured Destination:

Redwood National and State Parks
Crescent City, California

American folk singer Woody Guthrie started his song, "This Land is Your Land," a musical travelogue, in California at the redwood forests. The song immediately invokes the impressiveness of the world's tallest trees and North America's landscapes, both of which you can experience at Redwood National and State Parks.

You won't be able to resist the urge to ramble and roam across this chain of parklands, starting north at Jedediah Smith Redwoods and continuing south to Del Norte Coast Redwoods, Prairie Creek Redwoods and Redwoods National Park, to see ancient forests of trees 30 stories high, standing on a carpet of rhododendrons, ferns and mosses.

The trees are stellar, for sure, but dramatic coastlines beckon, as well. Gray whales pass the Klamath River Overlook on their way south to warmer waters, while sea lions laze along the rocks and a diverse collection of seabirds soar above.

Best Time to Visit:

If you plan to hike or camp among the trees, it's best to visit the parks mid-July through early September. This time of year is popular with other outdoor lovers, but the forests get soggy in winter with frequent rains.

What to Do:

While standing at the base of a 300-foot tall tree in Tall Trees Grove is an absolute must-do, the drives in Redwood National Park are spectacular. Navigate your car along U.S. 101 as it turns onto the Redwood Highway, a 78-mile stretch of road from Eureka to Crescent City that shows off thrilling Pacific Coast views and staggering redwood scenery. The National Park Service recommends driving along Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, just off the 101 and south of Klamath. The scenic 10-mile road goes through the old-growth forest, leading straight to prairie land and the stomping ground for resident elk. Get Directions

Other California Coast Destinations:

  • Tidepools at Heisler Park Reserve. View the fascinating marine ecosystems that exist within tidepools, and see sea urchins, anemones and starfish in their natural habitat. During extremely low tides, visitors can explore closer to Bird Rock - a bird sanctuary at the Reserve. Get Directions
  • Big Sur. California condors, cougars, sea otters, grey whales and many other species coexist in this stunning region of California's coast, where mountains meet the open sea and nature abounds. Get Directions
  • Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary. Ranked one of the top diving destinations in the world, this marine sanctuary has spectacular wildlife viewing, stunning geological features, and over 100 shipwrecks submerged just off its shores. Get Directions
  • Natural Bridges State Beach and Monarch Grove. From October to February, nearly 100,000 butterflies live within Monarch Grove - a must-see spectacle. The beach is famous for its natural bridge and is ideal for shore bird watching as well as viewing seals, otters, and whales swimming along the coastline. Get Directions
  • Santa Monica Mountains. Surf along the coastline, choose from over 500 miles of hiking trails, or search for wildflowers and wildlife in this ecologically and geographically diverse area, known as one of only five regions in the world with a "Mediterranean" climate. Get Directions

Explore the California Coast:


TRAVEL NORTH AMERICA: Alaska-St. Elias Range | Aleutian Islands | Appalachian Mountains | Black Hills and Badlands | California Coast | Canadian Prairies | Coast Mountains | Costa Rica's Parks and Beaches | Everglades | Florida Coast | Glacier National Park | Grand Tetons | Great Basin Desert | Great Plains | Kodiak Island | Labrador, Canada | Mid-Atlantic Coast | Mississippi River | Sierra Nevada Mountains | Yellowstone National Park | ALL TRAVEL LOCATIONS

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