Most people know Redwood National Park as the home to the tallest trees on the planet. However, not enough travelers know about all the sightseeing, discoveries, and outdoor adventures that await you there.
It’s true. This US National Park has much more to offer than majestic, behemoth trees. Think magical swimming holes, refreshing hikes, gorgeous beaches, and spectacular overlooks.
So, it’s no wonder people travel from all over the world just to experience this charming place, and why shouldn’t you? It’s time to strap on your exploring boots and uncover all the wonderful things to do in Redwood National Park.
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Best Redwood National Park Things to Do
If you want to bond with nature, partake in fun activities, or go sightseeing, then these Redwood National Park attractions should be high on your list.
Plus, the park is free to enter, so you don’t have to spend much while doing any of these activities. Here are some of the most exciting things to do around Redwood National Park:
Don’t forget your America the Beautiful Pass!
Hot Tip: Check out this magical two-day Redwood National Park Itinerary to help you piece your trip together.
#1 Go on a Scenic Hike
This may seem like a very obvious choice. But honestly, you simply cannot ignore the allure of a breathtaking hike through giant trees.
You’ll be exposed to solitude, calmness, and the sweet sounds of nature – and who’d say no to that? The absolute best trail any hiking enthusiast should pick up here is the Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail.
It’s an easy hike that walks you through old-growth redwood forests in about half an hour. You may pick up this beautiful trail all year round, at any time of day, since the park is open 24 hours.
#2 Snap Up Instagram-worthy Shots at the Stout Grove
One place you can get your camera to work overtime is Stout Grove. This is not even an exaggeration. It’s one of the most photographed groves of old-growth Redwoods in the park.
The Stout Grove is located in the northernmost area of the park in Jedediah Smith Redwoods, which you’ll be able to reach in about an hour via an unpaved road.
Note: Pack some mosquito repellent if you visit early to mid-summer to stave off those pesky bugs.
#3 Explore Fern Canyon
Fern Canyon is an otherworldly, internationally-known destination within the Redwoods, thanks to an appearance in the Jurassic Park movie franchise.
It’s safe to say that no dinosaurs roam this area anymore, but its prehistoric look and feel must be the reason why it was chosen for the blockbuster.
This quaint section is adorned with ferns from left to right, with a creek flowing through, making it perfect for photography.
This North Coast gem won’t be the easiest to reach, but it’s worth the effort. You’ll take Highway 101 at Orick, then drive the unpaved Davison Road to reach this hidden paradise after 10 miles.
#4 Go for a Swim in the Redwoods
So, if you didn’t know this – there are several swimming holes around the Redwoods. This gives you the perfect opportunity to cool down after an invigorating hike through the forests. One of the most popular swimming holes is in the Jedediah Smith Redwoods, located on Smith River.
Here, you can fish, kayak, swim, and snorkel to your heart’s content. Keep in mind that the water is pretty icy, so you’ll have to pack your wetsuit.
Then, a vast and deep swimming spot in Richardson Grove with deep turquoise calm waters invites you in. Finally, Navarro River offers a range of aquatic activities, including canoeing, kayaking, and fishing.
You Might Also Like: Best Views in Yosemite National Park
#5 Catch the Sunset at Redwood Creek Overlook
Looking for a great spot to catch the dreamy red and orange hues of the sun? Well, you can have your moment at one of the most famous Redwood tourist attractions, the Redwood Creek Overlook.
The scenery and expansive views are unmissable as the sun illuminates thousands of acres of old-growth redwood forest. The picturesque vistas include the Pacific Ocean, too, and transform from sunsets to starry skies, allowing you to stargaze.
Make sure you arrive at the park an hour before the sun starts to set, which is usually around 5 – 6 pm in winter and between 6-8 pm in summer.
#6 Relax on Gold Bluffs Beach
Gold Bluff Beach is a well-known camping area with the Redwoods near Fern Canyon. It’s also a charming spot to unwind and absorb the coastal scenery. The remote and vast sandy beach seems deserted under redwood-topped bluffs.
Dip your feet in the water, see if you can spot whales or dolphins, and lay down your picnic blanket to enjoy the soft sand and sunny skies.
The beach is open daily for 24 hours, and you’ll pay $12 (cash and cheques only) for a day-use fee at the kiosk to enter.
#7 See Large Herds of Roosevelt
Wildlife spotting doesn’t even have to be your thing to appreciate the sighting of a large Roosevelt elk herd. These animals offer a serene and majestic sight, but it’s best to admire them from afar.
The recommended viewing distance is 25 yards (75 feet), but you may have to move even further back in spring and fall when they’re more aggressive.
The Roosevelt elk is the largest recognized subspecies, standing up to 5,6 feet tall and weighing up to 1096 lbs. These animals are all over Redwood National and State Parks, including Elk Meadow, Gold Bluffs Beach, Prairie Creek, and Crescent Beach.
#8 Drive Along the Lush Avenue of the Giants
Driving along the Avenue of Giants is one of the most exhilarating things to do near Redwood National Park. It’s a 32-mile drive winding through the Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
The drive is pretty short, but there are many stops along the way to admire the surrounding natural beauty, which can take up hours of your day.
To give an idea, it can take about two and a half hours if you stop for a picnic, photos and a walk into the woods. Dubbed the “finest forest drive in the world,” the Avenue of Giants is open all year round, and you won’t have to pay an entrance fee to enjoy it.
#9 Go Camping in Redwood National Park
Camping in Redwood National Park fixes two problems for you: spending money on a hotel and driving out from the nearest city to explore it.
Not only that, but it’s an opportunity to have an authentic camping experience in the woods. This is thanks to the verdant greenery, wildflowers, and towering trees.
The park has four developed campgrounds spread across the three Redwood State Parks. There are 300 campsites, each with basic amenities such as fire pits, restrooms with showers, and food lockers.
Note that summer fills up quickly, often months in advance, so it’s best to reserve and finalize your spot ahead of your trip. You can make your reservation on the Reserve California site.
#10. See the World’s Tallest Tree
If you go on the Tall Trees Grove hiking trail, you’ll have a chance to be met with a tree so tall you’ll hurt your eyes and neck trying to see its top.
Known as the Hyperion tree, this giant stands 379 feet tall, which is taller than the Statue of Liberty, mind you.
You’ll have to walk a four-mile moderate trail to reach this beast of a tree. The best part is feeling like a tiny ant as 350+ feet tall trees surround you, much like a bizarre childhood dream.
Hot Tip: Here’s a cute photo idea if you’re visiting with a group. Try to hug the tree’s base by stretching your arms and holding hands. It may require several people, but it should make for a fun moment regardless.
Where to Stay in Redwood National Park
There aren’t any hotel lodgings in the park, but you can find some excellent options in nearby cities such as Eureka, Arcata, or Crescent City. Below are some of the top mid-range hotels:
Best Western Plus Humboldt Bay Inn ($$)
Eureka is an ideal base for your Redwood Park activities, and the Best Western Plus provides a modern and comfortable stay. The hotel features a lovely pool area with a tropical feel, spacious rooms, and a fitness center.
Anchor Beach Inn ($$)
Enjoy a tranquil beachfront stay courtesy of the fabulous Anchor Beach Inn. The rooms are dog-friendly, with coffee machines and small fridges.
You’re steps away from a beach, walking distance to seafood restaurants, and a quick drive from Ocean World, a marine theme park.
Hotel Arcata ($$)
Expect minimalist elegance at Hotel Arcata with simple rooms, crisp bedding, and modest furniture. Each guest room features a coffee machine and cable TV, plus there’s also a fitness center and bar.
Are You Ready for the Best Things to Do at Redwood National Park?
Well, that’s it for now – a list of some of the ultimate things to do in the Redwoods. If you’re the outdoorsy type, you must be on the edge of your seat by now!
But before you go on to enjoy your weekend, have a look at this comprehensive Redwood National Park guide.
So, if you were wondering what to do in Redwood National Park, you no longer have to with these fantastic adventures. Enjoy.