Use this Northern California Attraction guide to plan the perfect vacation on the North coast. The biggest attractions in Northern California are provided courtesy of Mother Nature. Here you'll find a rugged dramatic coastline, abundant wildlife and the most awe-inspiring redwood forest anywhere.
Coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) grow throughout the region, but there are some particularly fine groves and scenic drives in Del Norte and Humboldt Counties.
Eel River at Avenue of the Giants Photo© Matthew High / flickr.com
You'll find plenty of things to see and do. Go horseback riding on the beach or explore sea caves by kayak. Go fishing or abalone diving. Tour a dramatic lighthouse or a stunning coastal botanical garden. Visit a charming Victorian village or a historic fort. And the list goes on...
Attractions are organized from north to south by county.
Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, Trees of Mystery Photo © Thomas Banneck / flickr.com
Ocean World: This small aquarium in Crescent City features a Touch and Feel Tidepool, a Seal and Sea Lion show, a Shark Gallery and entertaining guided tours.
St. George Lighthouse: This Lighthouse is located 6 miles offshore from Crescent City, and is reached by helicopter from the Crescent City Airport. One hour tours are offered from October through June.
Battery Point Lighthouse: This lighthouse in Crescent City can only be reached during low tide. The lighthouse is open to the public, tours are offered, and there's also a museum.
Trees of Mystery: Northern California theme park in Klamath, with large statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue ox. Gondola rides through the California redwoods, museum, cafe, gift shop.
Things to Do
Rivers West: Provides guided fishing tours on North Coast rivers in California and Oregon.
Klamath River Jet Boat Tours: Tours begin at the mouth of the Klamath River, off Highway 101. Choose from a 55 mile trip or a 30 minute scenic cruise.
Carson Mansion, Eureka, California Photo © Peter Linehan / flickr.com
Samoa Cookhouse: Established in 1893, this is the last surviving cookhouse in the West. All meals are served lumber camp style, brought to your table in heaping bowls and platters. The menu changes daily. The Lumberjack Museum will fill you in on the history. Located off Cookhouse Road in Samoa.
Old Town Eureka: Eureka is famous for its grand old Victorians and refurbished waterfront. There's also a thriving artistic community, museums, art galleries, restaurants and shops.
Victorian Ferndale: This Northern California attraction is a living history museum of Victorian architecture. Self-guided tours are available. Also a good spot for art and antiques.
Avenue of the Giants: This 31 mile scenic drive offers a convenient place to enjoy the redwood forest. The road winds around the Eel River and through Humboldt Redwoods State Park. There are parking areas along the road, picnic spots, and many roadside attractions.
Confusion Hill: Northern California attraction in Piercy on Highway 101. Located in the redwoods, includes the Gravity House, the Redwood Shoehouse, the worlds largest free standing redwood chainsaw carving and the miniature Mountain Train Ride.
Things to Do
Hum-Boats Kayak Adventures:
Provides lessons, rentals, boat tours, full moon tours from Humboldt
Bay at Eureka. Sailboats, motorboats and kayaks available.
Skunk Train at Northspur Photo © Bruce Fingerhood / flickr.com
The Skunk Train: Take a ride on historic steam and diesel powered trains at this Northern California attraction. You'll travel through redwood forests, cross rivers, and go through tunnels on the trip between Fort Bragg and Northspur.
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens: One of the loveliest Northern California attractions, these botanical gardens are right on the coast at Fort Bragg. Beautiful gardens and stunning coastal vistas.
Point Cabrillo Light Station: Lighthouse and nature preserve, this Northern California attraction is located south of Fort Bragg. Whale festival, guided tours through the preserve and gift shop.
Village of Mendocino: This popular getaway is famous for its spectacular scenery and quaint village atmosphere. It's listed on the Register of Historic Places. You'll find plenty of art galleries, boutiques, restaurants and wonderful old houses.
Point Arena Lighthouse: Enjoy stunning views, whale-watching, a gift shop, and lodging at this dramatic Northern California attraction. Lots of great information and wonderful photos at this site. But watch out for the foghorn that blows when you log on!
Mendocino Wineries: Mendocino County has 10 distinct wine regions. Scenic Anderson Valley is a popular choice for wine country tours. Located on Highway 128 between Navarro and Booneville, this is the region closest to the coast.
Things to Do
Ricochet Ridge Ranch: Horseback riding trips through the redwoods or along the beach at MacKerricher State Park.
Kayak Mendocino: Mendocino Sea Cave tours leave from Van Damme State Park.
Ross Ranch: Guided horseback rides at Manchester Beach or in the redwood forest, south of Elk. Beware! This site whinnies when you log on.
Force 10 Ocean Kayak Tours: Explore sea caves and isolated beaches on kayak tours along the Elk coast.
Adventure Rents: Canoe and kayak rentals for exploring the Gualala River.
Sonoma County Vineyard Photo courtesy of Sonoma County Tourism Bureau
Kruse Rhododendron State Reserve: This Northern California attraction boasts thickets of sun-loving rhododendrons, which sprang up after a forest north of Jenner was destroyed by fire. Now, clusters of pink blossoms cover much of the reserve from April through June.
Fort Ross State Historic Park: Fort Ross was a trading outpost for the Russian-American Company from 1812 to 1841. One original building remains, and there are five reconstructed buildings within the stockade walls.
Sonoma Wineries: Sonoma County boasts 350 wineries in 13 wine regions. This is a prime location for California wine tasting tours, and it doesn't hurt a bit that the countryside is absolutely lovely.
California Carnivores: Explore the strange world of carnivorous plants at this nursery in Sebastopol.
Things to Do
Bodega Bay Kayak: Offers kayak sales, rentals and guided tours of the Sonoma coast.
Bodega Bay Sportfishing Center: Located in the Porto Bodega R.V. Park and Marina. Offers fishing charters and fishing supplies.
Bodega Bay Surf Shack: Surfing equipment rentals and surfing lessons. Kayak and bicycle rentals.
Fort Ross State Historic Park Photo courtesy of California State Parks