Wild Waves and Big Trees: Crescent City to Kelseyville

Explore in kayaks, ride horses, and see redwood giants on a top-down coastal drive.

Trip length: 3 days
Total distance: 330mi/532km

CRESCENT CITY. At low tide, walk to Battery Point Lighthouse , blinking its warning light at passing ships since 1856. In town, visit the museum to see 19th-century mementos from lighthouse keepers. INFO Crescent City/Del Norte County Visitors Bureau ; 800/343-8300

ORICK (42mi/68km; 50min). Spy Roosevelt elk in the meadows at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park . Take a guided horseback ride through Redwood National Park with Redwood Adventures . INFO Humboldt County Visitors Bureau ; 800/346-3482

EUREKA (42mi/68km; 46min). Stroll past restored Victorians along the Old Town waterfront. Step inside Venlo Chocolates to see how sweet treats are made here by hand. INFO Humboldt County Visitors Bureau ; 800/346-3482

WEOTT (45mi/73km; 45min). Stop by the outstanding visitor center at Humboldt Redwoods State Park; flat and level Founder’s Grove nature trail is ultra-family-friendly. Drive south along the unforgettable Avenue of the Giants. INFO Humboldt Redwoods State Park ; 707/946-2409

FORT BRAGG (88mi/142km; 1hr41min). See the sand glisten at dazzling Glass Beach. Dare to order mushroom ice cream (don’t worry; there’s vanilla too) at Cowlick’s Ice Cream . INFO Visit Mendocino County ; 866466-3636

MENDOCINO (10mi/16km; 16min). Explore sea caves on a guided trip with Kayak Mendocino . Dress up for a supper of award-winning crab cakes at Little River Inn . INFO Visit Mendocino County ; 866466-3636

PHILO (34mi/54km; 43min). Amble through redwoods in Hendy Woods State Park . Cannonball into sparkling Navarro River. Let the kids watch weed-eating sheep while you sip Pinot Noir at Navarro Vineyards & Winery . INFO Visit Mendocino County ; 866466-3636

BOONVILLE (6mi/10km; 8min). Cool off with housemade popsicles at Paysanne . Then look for unique gifts at irresistible Farmhouse Mercantile . INFO Visit Mendocino County ; 866466-3636

UKIAH (21mi/34km; 33min). Join the likes of Teddy Roosevelt and Mark Twain by taking a naturally carbonated “champagne bath” at Vichy Springs spa , open since 1852. Learn Native American history at the Grace Hudson Museum . INFO Visit Mendocino County ; 866466-3636

KELSEYVILLE (42mi/67km; 47min). Rent a kayak or canoe to explore Clear Lake State Park. Pitch a tent at a lakefront campsite (reserve in advance). INFO Clear Lake State Park ; 707/279-2267