Thirty miles north of Eureka in Humboldt County, a square mile of verdant jungle with colorful patches of wildflowers juts out into the craggy Pacific shoreline. Patrick’s Point State Park is a spectacular section of California’s coastal redwood country, with 120 campsites and a robust and family-friendly interpretive program. Head to the Visitor Center and pick up the Redwood EdVentures Quest brochure, a “treasure map” that guides kids on an exploratory hike throughout the park.
There is so much to discover here: Agate Beach’s semi-precious stones polished by the surf; a Native American village re-created by members of the indigenous Yurok tribe; and the tidepools and network of trails connecting to the dramatic shoreline, dotted with massive rock formations. Get your lungs pumping with a short, steep climb up Wedding Rock, or hike the two-mile long Rim Trail. Keep your eyes peeled wherever you go, on the forest, sky, and sea—wildlife is abundant, as this is a popular gray whale-watching spot and home to sea lions, seals, black bears, and numerous bird species. Patrick’s Point State Park is also close to Redwoods National and State Parks, a California must-see.
Each campsite includes a picnic table and fire pit, and offers nearby access to coin-op showers, water faucets, and bathrooms. May through September, reservations are required to secure an individual (family) site; during the rest of the year, they are first-come, first-served. Note that this park sees foggy conditions much of the year, and swimming is not advised at its beaches, due to rough and unpredictable surf conditions.