Camping in the redwoods of California is not something I ever thought I would have the opportunity to do. I had always wanted to see the famous redwood forests but never imagined it would become a reality. So I jumped at the chance to get up close and personal with them when we planned our big road trip in 2013.
Highways Vs Interstates
We didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see more of beautiful northern California so we left the interstate and spent a good portion of our trip on the scenic California Coastal Highway 101. There’s a time and place for interstate travel and believe me, we’ve spent our fair share of time on them during our previous cross-country road trips but there’s nothing like a state highway for gorgeous scenery.
In an effort to save money on our road trip, we decided camping along the redwood highway sounded like something to check off of our bucket list. After researching the best camping in the redwood forest we settled on Jedediah Smith State Park in northern California.
Best Tent Camping in the Redwoods
The park itself was amazing. We had giant trees literally right outside of our tent. I know there are a lot of camping sites in the redwoods but this has to be some of the best family camping in California. We’ve camped in fairy-tale settings before but nothing compares to the majesty of the redwoods. My only regret is that we didn’t take any high quality photos and that we weren’t able to stay longer.
Unfortunately, my nice camera was out of commission during this road trip and all I had was a really crappy phone camera. But I’ll share my crappy pictures of the redwoods anyway. Because even crappy redwood pictures are impressive.
But don’t you know I wish I had a high quality photo of this! The kids loved camping at Jedediah Smith State Park. The whole park is a bit mystical and magical, perfect for little imaginations.
Family Hiking at Jedediah Smith State Park
There were various family friendly hiking trails within the campgrounds. One that went right beside our campsite led to the beautiful Smith river. When our kids get a bit older I would love to try family kayaking but for now we’re happy skipping rocks.
Bear Safety When Camping
The many signs giving advice for bear safety tips at this park had us a little on edge. We’ve never camped in a place where such serious bear awareness is stressed. There was a big, metal box for locking away any food or things with a strong scent. And signs imploring you not to leave such things in your car overnight.
We were so nervous that when a deer snuck up on us on a trail, my daughter screamed and scared us all to death. All survived the deer encounter. And we never saw any sign of a bear.
Drive Through Redwoods
When we packed up the next day and headed further south, we stopped several times to explore more of the redwood forests along Highway 101. We really wanted to drive through a redwood and there are several drive-through redwoods to choose from in Northern California. Unfortunately you need a small or mid-sized car to pull this off. Our big SUV with luggage on top was way too big to fit in the trees. Oh well.
The Redwood Highway
What I really loved about the redwood highway is that it wasn’t crowded and didn’t feel commercial at all. There were so many places where you could simply pull off the side the road and explore. Maybe one day we can go back and I can take good photos!
Have you ever visited the California redwoods?
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