Bucket List Worthy Locations In Northern California
My family and I decided to take a road trip through California for the summer, and we have been in awe ever since. There are many death defying roads that will remind you to take a breath, but in the end you will find yourself in some of the most majestic and awe inspiring places. To ensure your travels are comfortable for everyone, consider using roof rack cross bars so you can easily carry along any necessities for your travels.
Any volcano lovers in the family? If so, you will want to make sure you find your way to the Lava Beds National Monument. There is a campground situated in the middle of the lava beds, and it will only run you $10 per night. However, you will have to pay the $25 entry fee to enter this state park, but I will tell you it is well worth the cost. You have the ability to freely explore a variety of caves, and you will be blown away by the fact that you are walking through lava tubes. There is a trail loop located near the visitor’s center that provides easy access to almost a dozen caves. These caves range in difficulty, but with so many options there is certainly something for every member of your family.
Looking for a nice trail to bike or hike a nice paved trail? Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail is a must see! It’s an 18 mile trail, and it goes all the way from Castroville to Pacific Grove. It even has a few mile section between Old Fisherman’s Wharf and Lover’s Point, two great spots this area is known for. At the end of the trail, you can head to Asilomar State Beach where you can explore tidepools.
If you are a lover of waterfalls, then you will definitely want to check out Burney Falls; they are so amazing Teddy Roosevelt called them the 8th wonder of the world. These falls are so massive you can see them from the parking lot, however, it is well worth the 1.3 mile hike down the trail to feel the mist on your face. Not a hiker? Then you may enjoy a white water rafting adventure down the American River. Go early in the summer and expect the rapids to flow at a higher rate due to the snow melt from the surrounding mountains. If you are not an experienced rafter, then make sure you find a guide that is knowledgeable in regards to your trip. You can even plan a trip with a larger group if you do not have many people in yours.
Make sure you visit Fern Canyon if you have any Jurassic Park fans in the family. This was the shooting location for the Lost World, and you will definitely feel like you have stepped onto a tropical island paradise. This is one of the easiest hikes that Northern California has to offer so it is suitable for everyone in the family.
If you want to enjoy the night sky in all of its glory, then it is necessary to make your way to a location that is far from light pollution such as Glacier Point located in Yosemite. Here you will have the chance to see more stars in the night’s sky than you have ever seen. If you have any astronomy lovers in the family, then make sure you make the trip to show then the night sky at its best. You may even feel like hiking half dome while you are here, or simply watching the sunset over the dome.
Sweeny Ridge in Silicon Valley is a great trail to see wildflowers. It’s part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It is an easier trail for families to do together. Mostly paved roads lead to some amazing wild flower views. Take a camera and you can get some adorable family pictures! Take time to enjoy and “smell the roses.”
With so much to offer, Northern California is certainly worth the trip for people of all ages. You will not only see the beauty of nature, but you will return home feeling refreshed from all of the adventures you had on your trip. Just remember to check out the coast while you are there so you can see just how massive the ocean truly is, and remember your camera so you can look upon some of the greatest wonders nature has to offer time and time again.
Where to Stay:
Park James Hotel in Menlo Park, CA is close to many amazing sites. It has amazing amenities for everyone.
In Monterey there are amazing beaches right next to the Best Western DeAnza Inn, a great
location, close to many of these awesome hikes and is a great place for the whole family.
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