Family-Fun San Francisco to Shasta Lake Road Trip
San Francisco, CA

Be wowed at with science, visit a sea-glass beach, walk across a river, and houseboat a sparkling lake.

Trip length: 4-5 days
Total distance: 485mi/780km

SAN FRANCISCO. Let a butterfly land on your shoulder in the tropical rainforest within the extraordinary California Academy of Sciences , in Golden Gate Park. At nearby Stow Lake , ride the gleaming 1914 carousel or rent pedal boats and race with the ducks. INFO San Francisco Travel Association ; 415/ 391-2000

MILL VALLEY (16mi/26km; 31min). Stroll through groves of breathtaking coast redwoods in Muir Wood National Monument . Continue to the coast at Muir Beach to play darts and enjoy bangers and mash in the charming Pelican Inn . INFO Marin Convention & Visitors Bureau ; 415/925-2060

FORT ROSS (86mi/138km; 2hrs6min). Visit the rustic redwood buildings in this authentic 19th century oceanfront outpost, once home to Russians in search of otter pelts (complex open weekends and holidays). Picnic on the beach at Sandy Cove, then walk up Fort Ross Road to stand near the epicenter of the catastrophic 1906 quake. INFO Fort Ross State Historic Park ; 707/847-3286

MENDOCINO (77mi/123km; 1hr59min). Kayak or canoe along gently meandering Big River, take a bluff-top stroll near town, then treat the family to dim sum or fancier entrees at the Mendocino Cafe . INFO Visit Mendocino County ; 707/462-7417

FORT BRAGG (10mi/16km; 17min). Grab a Fort Bragg Bakery bagel and hot cocoa at Headlands Coffee House . Stroll remarkable Glass Beach  and look for creatures in the tide pools. Order double-scoops of hand-made ice cream at Cowlick’s . INFO Visit Mendocino County ; 707/462-7417

HUMBOLDT REDWOODS STATE PARK (87mi/141km; 1hr50min). Feel dwarfed by enormous redwoods as you drive the 32-mile-long Avenue of the Giants. Stop at Founder’s Grove for an easy, self-guided .6-mile nature hike. INFO Humboldt Redwoods State Park ; 707/946-2409

RED BLUFF (165mi/266km; 3hrs20min). Visit bird central at Lake Red Bluff Recreation Center , home to herons, egrets, ospreys, and bald eagles. Mid-May to mid-Sept, watch migrating salmon and steelhead pass through a fish ladder. Stop at the California Welcome Center in Anderson. INFO Red Bluff/Tehama County Chamber of Commerce ; 530/527-6220

REDDING (34mi/55km; 35min). Experience the glass-and-steel beauty of Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay Exploration Park . Learn about the region at park’s interactive museum, aquarium, and McConnell Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. INFO Redding Convention & Visitors Bureau ; 530/225-4100

SHASTA LAKE (10mi/16km; 15min). Book a houseboat for some relaxing time on this sparkling reservoir (you can also tour impressive Shasta Dam ). Explore the coves and far reaches of the sparkling lake with a rental kayak or powerboat. INFO Redding Convention & Visitors Bureau ; 530/225-4100

California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Dr
San Francisco, CA   94118-4503
(415) 379-8000

Muir Woods National Monument
1 Muir Woods Rd
Mill Valley, CA   94941-4205
(415) 388-2596

Fort Ross State Historical Park

Catch A Canoe
44900 Comptcha Ukiah Road
Mendocino, CA   95460
(707) 937-0273

Fort Bragg Bakery
360 N Franklin St
Fort Bragg, CA   95437-3402

Avenue of the Giants
(707) 923-2613

Lake Red Bluff

Sundial Bridge, Redding
777 Auditorium Dr
Redding, CA   96001-0920
(530) 365-7500

Shasta Lake