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Our love for overlanding was born, nurtured and multiplied during a 4x4 overland safari trip to Kenya for our honeymoon in 2017. Our guide and dear friend, Peter, has shown us how to be fearless when it comes to being outdoors. A year later, the stars aligned - we gave up our corporate jobs on the East Coast and... Read more

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© 2019 by Alexa & Dmitri

Redwoods Coast

6 day California road trip itinerary

Visit the world's tallest trees and discover California's hidden treasures

Start / End

San Francisco

Duration

6 days, 5 nights

Travel time

896mi, 22hrs 50min

What you will do

If this trip is not on your Must-Visit list, it certainly should be. You need to walk and experience the coastal redwood forrest. Also capture California "the way it used to be" in a visit to Lost Coast historic towns with rich history and vibrant culture. We build this itinerary based on the route we followed in Sept 2019. Enjoy!

Accomodations

Beach camping

Campground

Food

Breweries

Oyster farm

Activities

Hiking

4x4 driving

Where you will go

Itinerary

Point Reyes Lighthouse

Breathtaking, literally. Climbing up to the lighthouse is a good workout and the views from above are so worth it.

Next stop: 30mi, 55min

Day 1 - Activity 1

Hog Island Oyster Co.

Some of the best oysters on the West Coast are here. Pick up a dozen oysters, a shucking knife and a couple of lemons. Bonus: grab everything to go and head to the nearby beach to have a true California experience. 

Next Stop: 32mi, 50min

Day 1 - Activity 2

Russian House #1

Experience authentic Russian food with beautiful Russian River views. There is a daily delicious buffet of freshly-prepared Russian dishes and you pay what you can/want (bring cash).

Next Stop: 20mi, 40min

Day 1 - Activity 3

Salt Point State Park

Gerstle Cove Campground is a beautiful spot to spend the night surrounded by Cypress Trees. $35 per night, its 30 spots get booked up quickly so make sure to reserve ahead of time. Review photos of campsites and book online here.

Next Stop: 38mi, 55min

Day 1 - Activity 4

Point Arena Lighthouse

One of the most iconic lighthouses on the American Pacific Coast, it still keeps the light on and guides sailors to safety on foggy days.

Next stop: 45mi, 1hr 10min

Day 2 - Activity 1

Fort Bragg

Step back in time for a ride through the redwoods on the Skunk Train, take a walk through historic downtown. Grab a beer at Overtime Brewing or a coffee at  Headlands Coffeehouse. Head to Glass Beach.

Next stop: 35mi, 1hr 45min

Day 2 - Activity 2

Usal Campground

Follow a forest road through the redwoods towards a tucked away beach. Find a spot on the beach and fall asleep to the sound of the waves. Enjoy a glass of wine or beer with the oysters from Hog Island.

If too windy, drive away from the beach into the forest.

Next stop: 2 hr, 65 mi

Day 2 - Activity 3

Avenue of the Giants

Today is a big driving day so have your morning coffee and breakfast and head out bright and early towards the Avenue of the Giants. It’s a scenic drive that gives you a taste of what’s to come - some of the oldest and tallest trees on the planet. Pick up the pamphlet at the entrance and follow the guidance points.

Next stop: 50 min, 47 mi

Day 3 - Activity 1

Historic Eureka

Eureka is  home to beautiful Victorian homes. Grab a bite at Brick & Fire or a beer at the Lost Coast brewery.

Next stop: 110 mi, 2 hr 10 min

Day 3 - Activity 2

Jedediah Smith Redwoods Campground

This is one of the most stunning campgrounds we know. Book ahead as it gets full quickly. It's closed for the winter reason and if it is, Elk Country RV Resort and Campground is a decent alternative. 

Next Stop: 35mi, 45min

Day 3 - Activity 3

Damnation Creek Hike

Today is all about this beautiful hike, one of the most stunning hikes in California: Damnation trail hike. This hike is 3.5 miles (or 5.6 km) there and back - make sure to pack plenty of water and snacks. This hike will lead you to a secluded beach where you can rest, have some food and enjoy the ocean view. 

Next stop: 5 min, 5 mi

Day 4 - Activity 1

Mill Creek Campground

Finish the day at the Mill Creek Campground in Del Norte Redwood National Park.

Next stop: 2hr 10 min, 105 mi

Day 4 - Activity 2

Ferndale

Leave camp bright and early to make your way to Lost Coast. Your first stop is the historic town of Ferndale - some call it "California, the way it used to be". Admire thee Gingerbread Mansion Inn - one of the oldest inns in California. Stop by Champman's Bookery to support a local small business.

Day 5 - Activity 1

Lost Coast

Continue along Mattole Road in your 4WD to experience the true Lost Coast. It got its name when it was determined that building HWY1 here was prohibitively expensive. This stretch is spared the tourist traffic and preserves a natural California vibe.

Next stop: 2h 30 min, 74 mi

Day 5 - Activity 2

Shelter Cove

There is a gravel road that connects to Shelter Cove. For a taste of overland adventure - take this road less travelled. But if you are short on time, follow the loop to 101. Grab dinner at Gyppo Ale Mill and watch small planes land right in front of the restaurant.

Next stop: 15 min, 6 mi

Day 5 - Activity 3

Wailaki Campground

This little known campground is a true gem and will only cost you $8.

Next stop: 3hr 40 min, 190 mi

Day 5 - Activity 4

Petaluma

Take a walk through historic district, stop by wineries for tasting tours. We like: Matthieson, Turnbull, Barber Cellars Tasting Room and Azari Vineyards if you like the idea of pizza+wine. Craving beer? Stop by Lagunintas Brewing Co. For the best pie you will ever have, head to Petaluma Pie Company.

Next stop: 44 min, 35 mi

Day 6 - Activity 1

Hawk Hill

Arrive by sunset and catch the most iconic view of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco.

Day 6 - Activity 2

Notes

  • Campsite pre-booking is recommended

  • Off-road driving experience is recommended

  • Camp fire permits required - they can be obtained online before the trip for free