Northernmost – our family road trip to the Coastal Redwoods

About a year ago I got the idea in my head that my children should see the Coastal Redwoods. Not the Sequoias (which the got to live amongst in January of last year) but the “REDWOODS, redwoods. The tall ones, older than Jesus, redwoods.”

I developed a game plan. Looked at airfare, train schedules etc and settled on an epic road trip. I had warm fuzzy feelings of my first trip to the red woods when I was the same age that my oldest is now and recalled all of the awesome sights we got to see along the way. I have been up again (several times in recent years) and have been spoiled enough to have a friend fly me up and book all of my hotels etc for me as well as point out some sights and spots I would miss if I was just the average visitor.

So I planned.

I planned and planned and planned and planned (because let’s face it I love lists) and created an itinerary Clark Griswold would have been proud of. After we were done and back home (feeling like we had been through the most epic, incredible whirlwind) I’m finding myself having moments of intense gratitude for the incredible memories we made and the amount of time we got to spend together.

Our schedule might be a bit hectic for some or maybe not jam packed enough for others but I wanted to share it in case you ever wanted to visit Northern California’s coast AKA some of my “this is my happy place” places.

I was originally going to post day by day entries but my living in the moment side of my personality got the best of me and I took scads of pictures instead. those who know me should not be surprised by this.
So in the vein of being a lazy “blogger” I will go down the list of our stops and comment where I feel like talking and for those crazy about lists like I am I made the trip discoverable on Roadtrippers (you’ll notice on Roadrippers I have us starting and stopping at Disneyland, we live in Orange County so I wanted to provide a natural starting and ending place without giving everyone our home address). Also for the names of the hotels we stayed it you will find them on the Roadtrippers itinerary as well. I call them Supernatural hotels (yes like the TV show) they’re not fancy but in most cases provided free breakfast, a kitchen and a pool. and just in case i didn’t have reception I also hand wrote a list with day by day events plotted out…
I swear I’m not a type A personality…

Seriously, you should see my bathroom.

Day 1

The Jelly Belly Factory

1 Jelly Belly Ln, Fairfield, CA, 94533

The tours are awesome and free!  

 photo (1)  


Vegan Paradice (it’s spelled wrong on purpose)

846 Texas street, Fairfield, CA, 94533

Was a little iffy about going here due to some reviews on Yelp but the owners are friendly, the food is great and the prices are decent. who cares if the ambiance isnt “fancy”. Kap and Co had McDonalds… 

Hotel in the Fairfeild/Napa area

Day 2
 Charles M. Schultz Museum

2301 Hardies Ln, Santa Rosa, CA, 95403

This was a vacation highlight for everyone. The whole museum is interactive, nostalgic, open, airy, friendly and wholesome. Just like the Peanuts gang. If I lived nearby I would buy a membership in a heart beat.

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Ukiah Brewing Company

A little overpriced but has great food and cold drinks in a relaxed atmosphere. a welcome respite from the road and sandwiches.

Drive-Thru Tree Park 

Leggett CA, Leggett, CA, 95585

Total tourist spot and it’s part of the fun. it’s like an introduction to what you’re about to experience in the forest.

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Hotel in Fortuna, California

Day 4

Ferndale, CA 95536, USA

Ferndale Cemetery

Ocean Ave. at Craig St., Ferndale, CA, 95536

One of my favorite places ever. In the fall you can see the top of three steeples and beautiful foliage. 



811 I St, Arcata, CA, 95521

A stop for groceries for the campground.

Los Bagels Inc

1061 I St, Arcata, CA, 95521

Another stop but this time for Slug Slime. A favorite seasoning of mine. 
 127011 Newton B Drury Pkwy, Orick, CA, 95555
My favorite campground ever. I hesitate to write about it because I seriously get selfish about this place. Short hiking trails that are easy for the kids, campfire ranger led talks, showers, flush toilets and you feel like you’re sleeping on Endor. win win win win win win win win win. Did I mention that there are elk that live in the Prairie? *swoon*
 photo 1
photo 1 (3) photo 2 (1)
Can you see me?

The Trees of Mystery

15560 US Highway 101 N, Klamath, CA, 95548

I don’t have anything really nice to say about The Trees of Mystery. The place is awesome in a kitschy way, but for a family of 5 to ride the tram it seems a little pricey…  
Day 5

Fern Canyon Hike

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Orick, CA, 95555

Another favorite. Hearing the kids literally gasp when they say this place was a moment in itself. Another easy hike when you start from the parking lot trailhead. You do have to drive through a small ravine to reach it.

fern canyon

photo 5 
Day 6

Beachcombers Coffee
363 Trinity Street, Trinidad , CA, 95570

This coffeehouse has wonderful coffee and doesn’t use disposable cups of any kind. Another happy place


Point Arena Lighthouse Museum 

45500 Lighthouse Rd, Point Arena, CA, 95468


photo 1 (2)

Surf Motel At Gualala 

39170 S. Hwy One, Gualala, CA, 95445

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Day 7

Marin Headlands

Mill Valley CA, Mill Valley, CA, 94941

The last time we were in San Francisco George didn’t get a chance to really “see” the Golden Gate Bridge so we went to one of the best viewing locations.

Hotel in the Monterey area

photo 5 (1)

El Cantaro Vegan Mexican Restaurant

791 Foam Street, Monterey, CA, 93940

Good food, decent prices, half rude service and half polite service. The sweet potato dessert was sssssooooo good.

Day 8

 Monterey Bay Aquarium

886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA, 93940

Loved bringing the kids here. One of the best aquariums ever.

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47540 California 1, Big Sur, CA, 93920

An old favorite, just stopped for coffee though.

 Limekiln State Park (Day 8 and 9)

Highway 1, Big Sur, CA, 93920

We usually stay at Pfeiffer but this campground was a really nice surprise and one I had been wanting to try. We weren’t able to reserve a specific site when i made the reservations but the ranger was AWESOME about getting us one of the larger more secluded ones. Easy hiking trails, a creek running below our campsite, redwoods to the beach in a minutes walk. it was beautiful.

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limekiln hike



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Day 10

Friends of the Elephant Seal Rookery

Cabrillo Highway, San Simeon, CA, 93452

 Stop and watch the elephant seals, swim, play, sleep and bark.

Village Bean
2320 Main street, Cambria, CA, 93428
Solvang, CA, USA
then we’re home!
 photo 2 (2)

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