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.
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.
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.
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!