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Shasta Cascade Family Travel Tips From No Back Home

Travel blogger Karilyn Owen shares highlights from her family’s trip to Kidifornia’s northern wilderness

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Posted 2 years agoby Jené Shaw

Dotted with boiling mud pots, rushing waterfalls, and pristine lakes, Shasta Cascade inspires awe at every turn. For family travel blogger Karilyn Owen of No Back Home, the area provided a unique opportunity to experience nature with her 7-year-old son. The wanderlusting pair is ever on the hunt for new adventures. (Owen has traveled to 41 countries solo and an additional 18 with her son in tow.) After an epic trip through Redding, Whiskeytown, Lassen Volcanic National Park, and more, Owen shares why Shasta Cascade provides the perfect backdrop for an all-ages trip to Kidifornia.

1. As a parent, what was the highlight of your trip in California?

The top highlight as a parent was seeing the absolute joy and wonder on my son’s face as he saw a boiling mud pot at Lassen Volcanic National Park. We have seen our share of volcanoes and steam vents, but this was an awe-inspiring site to witness. Lassen is a child’s natural playground with a variety of outdoor adventures, from kayaking in a beautiful placid lake to playing in snow and exploring amazing geothermal wonders.


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Our second attempt at kayaking was a total success. Cian is now obsessed and keeps making me research where else we can go kayaking. Last summer we went kayaking at the Channel Islands and he was terrified. Mostly because his dear mom was totally clueless and unable to steer the kayak properly, resulting in us being towed by the tour guide. So this time, he said ‘mom, please pay attention to the directions’! And I did. And, it’s just SO much easier to kayak on a placid lake than a wild ocean. . . . This kayaking experience was at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, another NPS site just outside of Redding. And.. this is a FREE service offered at the park all summer. I was blown away about how free kayak tours are offered by park rangers. We have been to a lot of parks, but nothing quite as cool as this has been provided. It was such a great tour too. Matt, our guide was great. During our trip he regaled us with a fun piece of California history while also spotting animals at the lake. Another must do on a trip to #upstateca! . . . ➡️➡️ Are you willing you take risks and do things out of your comfort zone? Do you push your kids to do the same? It doesn’t always pay off like this one, but you don’t know if you don’t try is our motto! . . . #kidifornia @visitcalifornia #nationalparkgeek #findyourpark #whiskeytown @visitredding @shastacascade #visitcalifornia #california #californiakids #california_igers #californiaholics #californiacaptures #californiadreamin #hikingwithkids #trekarooing #beautifulmatters #takeyourkidseverywhere #familyjaunts #familytrails #familytravel #familytravels #outdoorfamilies #outdooradventures #landscape_lover #landscape_photography #mountainstones #northerncalifornia #unlimitedcalifornia #naturalcalifornia #lost_world_treasures #landscape_hunter

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2. What was your son’s favorite part of the trip?

This is a tough one. My son absolutely loved the California Railroad Museum, but nature is his main love so it would have to be kayaking at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. He had been kayaking only once before and was terrified, so I was determined to get him back on the water. Whiskeytown was the perfect place to try again. He is now obsessed, and constantly looking for other opportunities to kayak.


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Redding • I’m wrapping up a few posts (☝🏻link in bio!) from our trip to #upstatecalifornia last month before my son and I head to Brazil tomorrow. . . This photo is the main landmark image of Redding - the Sundial Bridge. I have to tell you we absolutely loved our time in Redding and the surrounding area. It was so beautiful and had such a great small town feel. If you are looking for a summer getaway, I highly recommend looking into #upstateca and making Redding your home base. . . . ➡️ In other news, I’m in a little bit of a frenzy getting everything together for our trip. I realized last night this is the first developing country I’ve taken Cian to on my own apart from India where he was born! We had planned a tour to the favelas which was just cancelled today due to shootings! To be honest, I’m feeling a little nervous about Rio, so if you have any tips, things to do or stories please share them! . . . ✈️ Tomorrow is the start of an epic month of solo mom/child travel. We start off with Rio, then heading down to Iguazu Falls where we hope to run into @thebucketlistfamily before doing a week cruise on the Amazon with @ourwholevillage. After Brazil, we head to Singapore and Borneo for a few weeks. Hope you are following along!! It’s going to be fun! . . . #visitcalifornia #kidifornia @visitcalifornia @visitredding @shastacascade #california #ciantravels #californiakids #california_igers #californiaholics #californiacaptures #californiadreamin #optoutside #hikingwithkids #trekarooing #beautifulmatters #takeyourkidseverywhere #familyjaunts #familytrails #familytravel #familytravels #outdoorfamilies #outdooradventures #landscape_lover #landscape_photography #northerncalifornia #unlimitedcalifornia #naturalcalifornia #modernoutdoors #landscape_hunter #sundial

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3. Which destination surprised you most?

The most surprising destination on our road trip was the town of Redding. There are so many delicious local restaurants to sample. And it’s smack in the middle of amazing natural scenery, making it the perfect base for outdoor lovers. Even within the city itself, the Turtle Bay Exploration Park was a great place to spend some time to let the littles unwind.


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During our visit to UpState California, we were able to visit what is often said to be the most beautiful waterfall in the state - the 129 ft Burney Falls. I have seen photos of it for years, so I was so excited to finally check it out in person. It did not disappoint! . . . The most surprising thing was how easily accessible the falls are. For your first glimpse all you have to do is park and look over the railing! Of course you won’t want to stop there! You can then walk down a short, but steep paved 1/3 mile trail to where this photo was taken. We saw people from all walks of life doing it. If you just can’t get enough like us, there is also a short 1.5 mile loop trail that takes you up and over the falls. . . . Thank you @visitcalifornia @visitredding and @shastacascade (#partner #sponsored) for getting us up to this part of California! We fell in love and hope to be back soon! . . . #californiaholics #kidifornia #visitcalifornia #californiakids #california_igers #californiaholics #californiacaptures #californiadreamin #hikingwithkids #trekarooing #beautifulmatters #takeyourkidseverywhere #familyjaunts #familytrails #familytravel #familytravels #outdoorfamilies #outdooradventures #waterfalls #burneyfalls #statepark #landscape_lover #landscape_photography #waterfallsfordays #northerncalifornia #unlimitedcalifornia #naturalcalifornia #lost_world_treasures #landscape_hunter

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4. Which one picture best demonstrates your adventure in Kidifornia?

This photo from Burney Falls is one of our favorite images from our trip. Burney Falls was such an unexpected surprise and remains one of our all time favorite waterfalls. To top it off, it is easy to access and super family-friendly.


5.  What is your best piece of advice for families looking to experience Kidifornia?

California is a massive state filled with a multitude of family-friendly offerings. My best advice would be to pick an area and really explore rather than try to fit in as much as possible. Mix up your visit with kid-focused activities as well as nature escapes. California has it all!

6. What California destination is next up on your bucket list, and why?

We absolutely love California because of how many amazing places there are to visit. The top destination to-do list is currently Morro Bay, for kayaking of course! It’s one place we have yet to visit and it looks spectacular.

7. Can you share your best tips for a family vacation?

Our top tip is to include activities for everyone. While we do not focus our family vacations on only kid-focused activities, we make sure to include plenty of opportunities for kids to be kids. This can be things like a visit to an amusement park or just a day at the beach. When kids have time to get out their energy and be themselves, they will be much more likely to sit in the car for hours at a time!

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