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Ever since she was a kid, “exploring all over California was a dream of mine,” says lifestyle blogger Carrie Rad. The Nevada native launched her California dream after high school, when she moved to Los Angeles to study fashion. More recently, she took a road trip around an area of the Golden State that she’d never visited before—the Northern California Shasta Cascade region, lined with natural wonders. She shared some of her favorite spots from the trip, which started in Siskiyou County and ended in Redding. Check out the highlights of Rad's Northern California trip in this video.

1. What was the highlight of your trip?

Hard to choose but my top two activities were hiking the Bunny Flat Trail, with a stunning view of Mount Shasta, and the day we soaked in mineral water and got relaxing massages at Stewart Mineral Springs.

2. Did anything surprise you about this part of the state?

It’s naturally stunning. Truly a hidden gem. It surprised me how untouched this area of California really is. Everywhere you go you’re surrounded by beautiful landscapes. I really loved the small town vibes I felt wherever we explored in the Shasta Cascade area.

3. What was the most scenic destination on your trip?

It’s a hard choice between the Lava Beds National Monument and the drive up to the Bunny Flats trailhead. Both landscapes are so different. The Lava Beds is massive and unique with lava rocks everywhere you look. On the drive up to Bunny Flats you’re surrounded by pine trees—it’s a magical drive.

4. What did you explore at Lava Beds National Monument? Any tips?

I’ll never forget the Lava Beds National Monument. Exploring the caves was such an adventure. I am hoping to go back someday to explore them further. I recommend checking out the Skull Cave—I never knew a cave could be so beautiful. Try to arrive as the sun is setting; the sun plays on the walls of the cave and it’s truly a gorgeous sight to see.

Courtesy of Carrie Rad

5. What are a few other must-stops you encountered along the way?

A must-absolutely-see destination is Burney Falls. This waterfall left me speechless. It is a very easy trek in so I didn’t expect it to be so massive and captivating. I highly recommend making the stop on your way to or from the airport in Redding.

6. What were the best things you ate during your road trip?

For a bite to eat in the morning, I highly recommend The Wheelhouse in Dunsmuir. I am particular when it comes to my dirty chai lattes and they do it perfectly there. I also got their biscuits and gravy which were delicious and a perfect way to warm me up before exploring the area.

7. Is there a photo or social media post that best sums up your trip?

My jump of pure joy in this picture sums up the trip pretty well, I think.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B4kwH4RhQvq/?igshid=ah3k10118mt1

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The absolute BEST way to explore my home state is to #RoadTripCalifornia. Since I was a little girl, exploring all over California was a dream of mine. I’ve always felt drawn to this gorgeous state and I’m so happy I have been able to call it home for over a decade now. I am honored to be exploring an area of California I’ve never been to before with @visitcalifornia — Siskiyou County! Mother Nature is showing off in this corner of California. 🌲♥️ There is SO much natural beauty! So far Alex and I trekked around Mt. Shasta, we did some hiking along the Bunny Flat Trail, have been eating at delicious and quaint local spots, explored Lava Bed National Monument where we got walk around inside caves (so COOL) and then yesterday we had a relaxing day soaking at @stewartmineralsprings — photos coming soon! #seesiskiyou @visitcalifornia @seesiskiyou #UpStateCA — This trip has been all about getting back to Nature and embracing it. Life is all about balance and we have to remember to get outside, get our hands dirty, disconnect, and enjoy the outdoors. As human beings, there are endless benefits to our mental and physical health we experience from being in the outdoors. I challenge you to get outside and truly experience our beautiful planet. What area of California are you hoping to explore sometime soon? Let me know in the comments below. I might have some tips for you! ☺️ Make sure you’re keeping up with my stories to see what I get up to next. Hint • I’m about to go see what was once called “the eighth wonder of the world.” Can you guess where I’m headed? 🚗🌲🌄🏞👇

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8. What did you like most about the inns and hotels where you stayed?

The accommodations were easy to find and close to where you wanted to be. In an area with lots of beautiful natural attractions, it’s nice to find spots near what you’re interested in seeing and exploring.

The accommodation that stood out the most to me was the Bridgehouse Bed & Breakfast in Redding. It was such a cozy B&B. Janelle and her husband were so kind and made me the most delicious breakfast before I traveled home. I will definitely be staying there again next time I’m in Redding.