Northern California help

Aug 15th, 2010, 04:03 PM
  #1  
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Northern California help

Need help with best places to stop on my Northern California trip with my parents (in their 80's) to see the redwood trees. Arriving in San Jose at 10am on Sunday , the plan is to drive to SF and see the Golden Gate bridge, have lunch, hang out a little and head north on Highway 101. They won't want to stop at a winery but will enjoy seeing the grapes. They enjoy senic drives. We need to be someplace around 3pm to call it a day. The main purpose of the trip is to see the redwoods. On Monday drive to the Avenue of the Giants, stay someplace for 2 nights. Eureka?? On Tuesday drive to Redwood National Park, spend the night. (same place as Monday). Leave early on Wednesday and drive down Highway 1, spend the night, cont on Thursday and arrive in San Jose. Leave Friday morning back to Texas.

Also food recommendations....they like simple food, and my dad is a meat and potato eater.

I would prefer to fly into SF but the non-stop flying out on Friday doesn't get us back to Austin until 9:30pm and my parents still have 11/2 hour drive. I have also thought about flying into SF and leaving out of Oakland (perfect flight times) but the fee for car rental drop was crazy.
Thanks
smom is offline  
Aug 15th, 2010, 04:50 PM
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We just returned from a trip to the Redwoods. We loved Avenue of the Giants and camped there. It's about a five-hour drive or longer from San Francisco to Avenue of the Giants. I'm not sure how far you want to drive the first night, but Garberville is the closest town to Avenue of the Giants. We've never stayed overnight there, but many people like the Benbow Inn.
My pick for staying overnight in the Ave. of the Giants is Miranda Country Gardens in Miranda, which is on the old Ave. of the Giants. They have some very comfortable cottages in the redwoods - comfortable, clean and slightly rustic but great ambiance. Some have kitchens. However, there is only one place to eat there. I heard it was fairly good.
Next choice would be the historic Scotia Inn in Scotia. It is slightly north of the Humboldt Redwood State Park. Beautiful, comfortable rooms and there is a restaurant right in the hotel. Lots of history here.
Another town 40 min. north of Humboldt Redwoods (Ave. of the Giants) is Ferndale. Historic town, well-preserved and some decent restaurants.
I would not choose Eureka. Arcata is better than Eureka. We stayed at the Hotel Arcata in old town for 1 night and liked it. Not for everybody, though. It's an old restored historic hotel, clean and comfortable. But the showers are over clawfoot tubs and may not be safe stepping in and out for someone in their 80's. There are some chain motels slightly to the north of town right off 101.

In the actual Redwood National Park, an excellent motel is in Klamath, the Ravenwood Inn. Extremely clean, friendly. A few units have a kitchen. There are few services in the Redwoods until you get to Crescent City.

Check your map for all these towns I've mentioned. You may want to drive only as far as Healdsburg the first day. Then you can see some grapevines with a short drive out Dry Creek Road. The next day you will have about a 3 1/2 hr. drive to Ave. of the Giants. I highly recommend stopping at the Visitor Center in Myers Flat. Ask the volunteers if you can see the movie about the Christmas Floods of 1964. This will put a lot into perspective about the area. There are some easy short walks nearby, also. Plan your next night's stay based on how long you want to spend in this area before reaching the Redwood National Park.
Good luck in planning. We absolutely loved our time there, spending 8 very full days, campling 2 nights in Ave of the Giants, 2 nights at Ravenwood Motel in Klamath, 2 nights camping at Jedediah Smith State Park and 1 night in old town Arcata.
elnap29 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2010, 05:36 PM
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A stop at Muir Woods on your way up north is easy and gorgeous. It's off Highway 1 and it's very easy to do. The walking isn't challenging and the redwoods are magical. You can still go on and see other redwoods further north.
Centralparkgirl is offline  
Aug 15th, 2010, 05:51 PM
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Do you think it is worth driving and seeing Redwood National Park? I feel like we will be driving sooo much. Would prefer to find a place for two nights and see both Avenue and RedwoodNP. Also I am overwhelmed with RNP and could use some help in what to see.
smom is offline  
Aug 15th, 2010, 06:20 PM
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The Muir Woods are magical-- and redwoods without the schlep to Eureka.. Why not spend a day there and stay closer to San Fran. Lots of beautiful country in Marin and north.
con_brio is offline  
Aug 15th, 2010, 07:21 PM
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What about Anderson Grove, I believe it's out by Guerneville in Sonoma County.
cferrb is offline  
Aug 15th, 2010, 07:37 PM
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Muir Woods is tiny compared to the Redwood parks up north -- and they get VERY crowded. Parking is difficult -sometimes impossible. Just too small and too close to a major metropolitan area. Going up north would be better if redwoods are your main criteria.

However -- maybe a re-think of your whole plan is in order. There is a wonderful redwood park very close to San Jose - Big Basin. It is larger than Muir Woods and gets a fraction of the crowds. Plus there are more redwoods in the Santa Cruz mountains, plus vineyards all through the area too.

Soooo -- you could spend one day doing the 49 mile scenic drive around San Francisco. It takes in all the main sites/views and you can do it from the car so easy on your folks. Then spend the whole rest of your time in and around the Penninsula/coast. See Half Moon Bay, Big Basin, wineries, light houses, a steam railway - and never be more than 60-90 minutes from San Jose. It would be easier on the driver (you) and on your parents.
janisj is online now  
Aug 15th, 2010, 08:11 PM
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They really want to go North, and they don't care for the city or crowds. I think we will skip SF on the way north and catch the Golden gate Bridge on our way down. Ukiah area looks like a good stop. I need someplace for them to take a rest/nap before dinner and an evening drive.
smom is offline  
Aug 15th, 2010, 10:26 PM
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RNP is magical, but it is a very long drive. Perhaps Avenue of the Giants would be far enough to travel. It is really gorgeous and easy to access in most places. RNP is not really a drive-trhough park. It is best to walk the trails, although there is the Drury Scenic Drive which is beautiful. If you stay on Hwy 101, it bypasses the best parts of the park.
But Avenue of the Giants could provide a similar feel. Perhaps you can go that far and then decide if you feel like going any further?
elnap29 is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 06:40 AM
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I agree I think Avenue of the Giants will be enough. They are excited to see the coastline. They have never been to the West coast
smom is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 09:27 AM
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Sorry, it's Richardson Grove, not Anderson Grove. Ukiah can be really hot during the summer. I'm not sure what it's like right now because we are having a relatively cool summer in CA.
cferrb is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 09:40 AM
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I wouldn't miss Redwood NP. Specifically, Prairie Creek area. Redwood National Park is comprised of 3 State Parks within a National Park. Fern Canyon is magical and not to be missed(very easy to hike it) You could hike Fern Canyon and you could see Tidepools. Tidepools at Palmers Point Beach located within Patricks Point State Park(about 20 minutes south of Prairie Creek). You are virtually guaranteed of seeing many elk at Prairie Creek as well. The big trees are very dense in this area. Just pick any trail right behind the Prairie Creek Visitor Ctr and hike as far as you wish. We took one of those premade bowls of cereal, a small carton of milk and had breakfast while hiking, then had sandwiches a couple of hours later for lunch. Absolutely a fantastic day.

Muir Woods is great, but is nothing compared to The Redwoods or Sequoia NP(which I think is even better).

I just returned from Redwoods NP a couple of weeks ago. This was my second trip. I visited The Stout Grove on my first trip and it was great as well. It is further north than Prairie Creek.
spirobulldog is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 09:41 AM
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I think the suggestions to either go to Avenue of the Giants or stick to the Santa Cruz mountains are good. Eureka is a looooong haul. And remember - the mileage is a lot different than in Texas. It will take longer to travel those miles than you are used to.
november_moon is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 03:42 PM
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FWIW-the lovely large stand of redwoods in Guernevlle
here in Sonoma County is called Armstrong Woods
http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=450
It is a lovely an uncrowded spot.
The drive west from Hwy 101 to Guerneville will take you about 20 minutes.
You will be driving through vineyards all the way !
After your visit to Armstrong,
there is a spectacular drive, about 50 mins. from Guerneville
along the Russian River that will take you out to the
beautiful Paciic Ocean. A stop at Goat Rock, or perhaps lunch at a window table at River's End-they have a VG burger-
http://www.ilovesunsets.com/restaurant.html
would be
a marvelous way to enjoy the spectacular Pacific views.

You could stay in northern Santa Rosa, Healdsburg or Guerneville so a place to rest would always be close by.

Worth a thought.

R5
razzledazzle is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 08:52 PM
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I live near San Francisco & it is a long haul up to Redwood National Park. There are a lot of redwood trees around without driving that far. What about Calaveras Big Trees State Park near Arnold? There are a lot of houses that rent reasonably around there. It is 3 hours east of San Francisco. The drive is not scenic but the trees are giant sequoias & the park is very historic. Otherwise, I would go to Santa Cruz to the redwoods or north only as far as the Russian River. If you go to the Russian River area, you can stop at Pt. Reyes National Seashore & see the Tule Elk. It is spectacularly beautiful. I have to say that the drive between Garberville & the coast is very long & boring. The coast has been very cold & foggy this year so bring your warm clothes.
fball is offline  
Aug 17th, 2010, 12:52 PM
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It looks like we are flying into Eureka and looking for a place around Eureka for 3 nights to see RNP and Avenue of the Giants. We will drive down in 2 days and stop for one night and one night in SF
smom is offline  
Aug 17th, 2010, 01:08 PM
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I don't see that anyone has mentioned the potential for parking hassles when visitng Muir Woods. The one parking lot at Muir Woods is small and fills up very quickly. On the weekends fuggetaboutit you have to take the shuttle bus from Highway 101 (drop off and pick up just off the highway). Muir Woods is a beautiful magical place but just from the logistics of getting your 80 year-old parents in and out and about, my recommendation is Redwood Basin or anywhere else in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Great big trees, less people, fairly level terrain; much easier all the way around.

From the Santa Cruz Mountains I would head over to the coast and drive northon Highway 1 stopping for lunch in Half Moon Bay. You could be high-end at the Ritz-Carlton or try anyone of the local eateries on Main Street. Very charming area to get out, stretch your legs and enjoy the ocean breeze.

Continue north past Devil's Slide with it's magnificent cliffs and on to San Francisco and a drive past Ocean Beach, GG Park, the Presidio and then the GG Bridge.
Missbee63 is offline  
Aug 17th, 2010, 01:57 PM
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Missbee63: "I don't see that anyone has mentioned the potential for parking hassles when visitng Muir Woods."

"Redwood Basin or anywhere else in the Santa Cruz Mountains"

The parking problem at Muir woods was mentioned early on. But smom has now decided to fly into Eureka, visit the northern parks and drive down to SF. (see the post directly above yours)
janisj is online now  
Aug 17th, 2010, 03:30 PM
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We stayed at a Little place called Sea Cliff Motel. This is minutes from Patricks Point State Park. It is abou 20-30 minutes to Prairie Creek/Redwoods National Park Area. This isn't far from Eureka. There is some decent places to eat in Trinidad. Trinidad Bay Eatery had pretty good food. Sea Cliff was ok. Our room had a king bed and a day bed, plus full kitchen. There is a grocery store in Trinidad(Murphy's Market). Don't be confused with the National Park Visitor Cntr. and the State Park Visitor Cntr, if you decide to see Prairie Creek area. Since you are that close to Fern Canyon, Don't Miss It!!!

www.redwoodadventures.com has some great looking cabins within a minute or two of Praire Creek.

How far can you father walk/hike???
spirobulldog is offline  
Aug 17th, 2010, 03:36 PM
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Well, flying into Eureka changes everything!
Here is some info from our recent trip:
The drive from Eureka to Orick where the Kuchel Visitor Center is located is 53 minutes.
(From Eureka to McKinleyville is 20 min, then 33 min to Orick. McKinleyville is the last town where you will find a full supermarket - Safeway)
From Orick it is 22 min. to Klamath where I recommended the Ravenwood Motel. You can get a 2-bedroom unit with a kitchen for a reasonable price. It is clean, comfortable and has every kitchen item you need, plus a decent continental style breakfast.
Most of the part of the Redwoods National Park you want to see will be between Orick and Klamath.

If you don't stay in Klamath, Arcata has some good restaurants and a variety of motels off Giuntoli Rd. exit. I'm not recommending staying in Eureka because several people we met on our trip were not happy with it.

Good luck choosing where to stay, and let us know where you do stay so we can recommend restaurants. There are 1 or 2 places to eat in Klamath but not great pickings. Best restaurant choices will be in Crescent City, Arcata, and Ferndale.

I'll be posting my trip report soon with a few pics; perhaps you'll get a few ideas from it. I'm envious of your trip because I could have easily stayed another week in the Redwoods!
elnap29 is offline  

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