We visited Redwood National & State Parks in Northern California in July. This was my first time there and it was amazing on so many levels. We stayed in the north end, but it was very easy to drive to and explore other areas of the parks. Take a look at 10 things you must do if you take the kids to the Redwoods.
1. Stay Near the Park. As always, stay in a hotel or at a campground close to the park. We stayed at the Quality Inn & Suites Redwood Coast in Crescent City. It was basic at best, but it had a free hot breakfast, a coin laundry and a basketball court out front, so it definitely met our needs. It was also only about a five minute drive from the Crescent City Visitor Center.
2. Get Prehistoric in Fern Canyon. Movie-goers will love a hike through Fern Canyon, one of the locations in Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World. It’s a little bit of a trek to reach Fern Canyon, but you’ll enjoy the dense forests and greenery when you reach the parking lot. There are some great easy hikes into the canyon too.
3. Wrap Your Arms Around a Really Tall Tree. Sequoia National Park may have the largest trees, but Redwood National Park has the tallest trees, and you’ll find some really big ones at Lady Bird Johnson Grove. You’ll then need to pose for the obligatory arms-around-huge-tree pose like my daughter did.
4. Go Tidepooling at Battery Point Lighthouse. Since we stayed in Crescent City it was just a few minutes’ drive to Battery Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse alone is lovely, but there’s a great beach down below there that’s perfect for tidepooling and hunting around for sea glass.
5. Have a Picnic at Klamath River Overlook. I knew we’d see tall trees when we visited the Redwoods, but I had no idea we’d be privy to such stunning coastal views. Bring a picnic lunch and drive up to the top of the bluff for sweeping views. Keep your eyes open for gray whales in the spring.
6. Become a Junior Ranger. My kids love earning badges and patches at various national parks through the Junior Ranger program. You can pick up an activity booklet at any visitors center inside the park. As a bonus, you can earn both a ranger badge (national) and a ranger pin (state).
7. Drive Through Chandelier Tree. So, Chandelier Tree technically isn’t in Redwood National Park, but if you’re driving to the Redwoods from the south, it’s worth a stop to squeeze your car through this tree at Drive-Thru Tree Park in Leggett, CA. It cost $5 but it was on the way to the park and it was very cool. 🙂
8. Take Lots of Photos. It’s okay, take as many photos as you like. I easily took dozens of photos of the tall trees and coastal beaches. Every view seemed better than the last and worthy of a photo. It’s incredible to look back at the photos and think that we were there. So amazing.
9. Spend the Afternoon at the Beach. It’s not all trees at Redwood National Park. In fact, there are several beaches that are perfect for splashing in the waves and building sand castles. The kids and I had a great time at Klamath Beach. Others worth checking out include Crescent Beach and Gold Bluffs Beach.
10. Stamp Your Passport (Multiple Times). First, buy a Passport to Your National Parks online for $8.95 or at the park visitors center. Inside the park, buy the official sticker for Redwood National & State Parks to add to your passport book. Then, keep your eyes open for cancellation stamps. There are a handful of stamps, including stamps that can be found at the Crescent City and Hiouchi Information Centers.