Redwood National & State Parks is one of California’s crown jewels, a World Heritage Site protecting nearly half of the world’s world’s tallest trees. This spectacular network of national and state parks has dozens of paths letting you walk among soaring coast redwoods, which grow over 350 feet/107 meters high. Learn about the region at the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center. Ask about ranger-led walks through emerald-green Fern Canyon, or where to see majestic Roosevelt elk. (Our tip: head to Elk Meadow, or to Gold Bluffs Beach dunes, both in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.) Consider a guided horseback ride with the Redwood Creek Buckarettes, or ride mountain bikes with Redwood Adventures. Camping is popular here with sites in lush groves, sheltered bluffs, or wild beaches; reservations strongly advised.
Insider tip: The region is green for a reason: annual rainfall, which normally falls from October through April, averages 60 to 80 inches/152 to 203 centimeters, so bring raingear and sturdy, nonslip shoes.