Day 4: Northern California

Stop 1: Sacramento Downtown

Our plan was to see the downtown and start driving home. We parked next to the State Capitol and started our walk. This is the State Capitol:

Sacramento State Capitol

Sacramento State Capitol

Next stop was the Cathedral of Blessed Sacrament:

Cathedral of Blessed Sacrament

We continued walking in the Old Town for some time and then headed back to our car to drive to our next destination.

Stop 2: 17 Mile Drive

17 mile drive is a scenic drive ($10 entrance fee) on the Monterey Peninsula that is considered one of the most beautiful drives in the world.  It goes to Pebble beach through the Pacific Grove and Del Monte Forest. At the entrance you are given a map with the main landmarks clearly marked. There are many signs along the road so you won’t miss your turn or stop. It is possible to spend the whole day there to see everything, but you can also drive through it quickly depending on your time limit. Of course it is worth driving along all PCH and spending there several days, but if you don’t have that much time then you can do 17 mile drive only to get a feel of what PCH is.

17 Mile Drive, PCH, California

Lots of fat little cuties there 🙂

17 Mile Drive, PCH, California

This picture shows that money can actually buy anything. Large territory of the peninsula is actually a golf course, some of it is on the beach. I’m wondering what’s in these people’s heads? “Let’s go and throw some golf balls into the ocean?” (we actually saw several ball going straight into the ocean).

17 Mile Drive, PCH, California

17 Mile Drive, PCH, California

17 Mile Drive, PCH, California

Famous more than 250 years old Lone Cypress:

17 Mile Drive, PCH, California, Lone Pine  17 Mile Drive, PCH, California

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Day 1: Northern California

My first comment is that this trip was amazing, but even if we made it in 4 days I highly recommend spending more times in Redwoods and Lassen Volcanic, especially if you are not accustomed to the road trips. These national parks and surrounding areas are very beautiful and deserve more time to be seen and enjoyed in full.

Stop 1: Pacific Coast Highway

We had a lot of energy on our first day and decided to quickly drive through Sonoma county to get to the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and drive along the coast to the North. Below are some random pics from the stops that we made on PCH.

PCH, California

PCH, California

PCH, California

PCH, California

Stop 2: Fort Bragg Glass Beach

In the past this place used to be a dump, but nature created something beautiful out of it.. This place is unique, but the most disturbing thing is that people who visit it collect and take glass with them. We saw people bringing buckets and plastic bags to grab as many glass pieces as possible. If you visit please leave that place untouched for other people to enjoy too.

Fort Bragg, Glass Beach, California

Fort Bragg, Glass Beach, California

Fort Bragg, Glass Beach, California

This beach is located in the MacKerricher State Park,  and if you walk a little further you’ll see some beautiful landscapes.

Fort Bragg, Glass Beach, California

Fort Bragg, Glass Beach, California

Fort Bragg, Glass Beach, California

Fort Bragg, Glass Beach, California

Fort Bragg, Glass Beach, California

Stop 3: Chandelier drive-thru tree

There are 3 drive-thru trees in Northern California: Chandelier, Shrine and Klamath. Even though these places are tourist traps (they are still fun for kids), we decided to visit one of them. After paying $5 and lining up for approximately half an hour we had a chance to get our picture. Driving thru this tree reminded me of driving narrow Spanish roads 🙂

Chandelier Tree, California

Stop 4: Avenue of the Giants

Avenue of the Giants is a scenic 31 miles road going through Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Founders Grove is the must stop place. Below are some pictures taken in that area, hubby for scale 🙂

Avenue of the Giants, California, Redwoods

Avenue of the Giants, California, Redwoods

Avenue of the Giants, California, Redwoods

Avenue of the Giants, California, Redwoods

Avenue of the Giants, California, Redwoods

Stop 5: Elk Prairie campground

This is now my favorite campground: spacious, private, in the woods, with hot water and fire rings. We arrived around 9pm and still had some sun light to settle our tent and make fire. Here are some pictures of the surrounding area (taken early in the morning):

Elk Prairie Redwoods Camp

Elk Prairie Redwoods Camp

Elk Prairie Redwoods Camp

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Day 2

4 Days in Northern California: Pacific Coast Highway, Redwoods, Lassen Volcanic, Sacramento

Fern Canyon, CaliforniaDuration: 4.5 days
Mileage: ~2000
Starting point: Irvine, CA
States: CA
Budget for 2 people: $450 ($65 for 2 nights in camps, $45* for 2 nights in hotels, $200 gas, $120 food, $20 other)

  • Day 0: drive to San Francisco after work
  • Day 1: drive to Redwoods National Park along Pacific Coast, explore Glass Beach and Avenue of the Giants (420 mi, 10 h overall)
  • Day 2: explore Fern Canyon, Big Tree of Elk Creek Prairie SP, Newton B. Drury Scenic Pkwy, Crescent Beach, Enderts Beach, Howland Hill Road; drive to Lassen Volcanic National Park (400 mi, 9 h overall)
  • Day 3: hike to Cinder Cone; drive to Sacramento (300 mi, 6 h overall)
  • Day 4: explore Sacramento; “17 mile drive”; drive home (600 mi, 10 h)

* We used our Wyndham rewards to book hotels, one night price was $15, second $30