Trees of Mystery in Klamath, CA is a cool roadside attraction that celebrates coast redwoods. This guide offers practical advice on how and why to visit.
Northern California is positively stuffed with cool places to visit. Whether you want to go forest bathing in the coast redwoods, do a wine tasting tour or go skiing in Lake Tahoe, we've got you covered. These Northern California destinations will help you fulfill a weekend getaway or a longer California vacation.
4 Cool Northern California Regions to Visit
At 163,000 square miles, Northern California is a huge territory. And while this can seem overwhelming, it also presents a great opportunity. NorCal's terrain varies widely, spoiling you with it's unparalleled nature and cool metropolitan experiences. Here are four California regions with a bit about what makes them special.
The San Francisco Bay Area
The Bay Area was fueled by California's gold rush and that entrepreneurial spirit is still alive today. And sure, there's Silicon Valley, but there is also a lot of cool culture, wine tasting, redwoods and some lovely coastline...all within 20 miles of the San Francisco airport. You can explore the Bay Area's cutest coastal town by visiting Half Moon Bay, explore surf culture in Santa Cruz or take a scenic and historic hike on SF's Lands End.
The North Coast Redwoods
There are only three types of giant redwoods and two of them are only found in Northern California. The Coast and Giant Sequoia Redwoods found in Northern California are some of the tallest trees in the world...and they smell good too. You can see them by taking a multi-day redwoods road trip which transits three scenic byways and 9 key redwood state and national parks. Or you could visit individual parks like Hendy Woods and Van Damme, which are near Mendocino.
The Central Coast
The Central Coast presents a perfect opportunity for folks who like their wine tasting with a side of nature (or perhaps their nature with a glass of wine?) There are laid back beach towns like Cayucos, quirky hippie towns like Harmony and California's best coastline along Big Sur. And the Paso Robles wine growing regions has tons of fun wineries and even a distillery trail.
Lake Tahoe Basin
Lake Tahoe is California's most popular playground. During the summer, you can play on it's beaches, hike the Donner Tunnels or take the scenic drive around the lake. In the winter, you can explore the ski resorts or find fun winter activities, even if you don't ski. And after all of that, you can rehydrate at one of Tahoe's many breweries.
Round-ups of Popular Northern California Destinations
Chill & Charming Northern California Coastal Towns
These 12 towns feature gob smacking, jaw dropping coastline with beaches, craggy cliffs, river estuaries and redwood forests.
10 Hippie Towns in California
San Francisco was ground zero for the Summer of Love, so it's no wonder that 8 of these 10 hippie towns are in NorCal.
All 43 Redwood Parks in California
ALL of California's Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoia are located in Northern California....and our guide will make you want to go now!
Visit San Francisco
The Best of the Central Coast
Explore Lake Tahoe
Peruse the Blog Roll for More Northern California Destinations
Get inspired to visit California’s national parks. This guide lists ALL 33 national park sites in California with park info, activity ideas and a map.
This guide has everything you need to know to hike and camp in Van Damme State Park. Enjoy the Coast Redwoods and fern canyon in lovely Mendocino County.
This guide has everything you need to know for hiking and camping in Hendy Woods State Park. Enjoy forest bathing in the lovely Coast Redwoods of Mendocino County.
Vikingsholm Castle in Lake Tahoe is a cool historic building perched right on Emerald Bay. This guide offers some history of the property and practical advice on how to visit.
Head from San Francisco to the Redwoods with this detailed road trip guide. Get from SF all the way to Redwoods National Park in 5 days and 13 amazing stops.
Get inspired to visit California’s redwood parks. This guide lists ALL 43 redwood forests in California with park info, hiking ideas and a map.
Figure out the best and closest airport to Redwood National Park to serve your upcoming trip. This thorough guide also offers rental car and trip planning suggestions.
Hiking, history and mother nature await you with these spectacular things to do in Bishop, CA. Get a full guide with scenic drives, planning tips and lodging options.
Find the best Half Moon Bay beaches for you. This guide recommends beaches for: surfing, dogs, kids, beach strolls, tide pooling and more.
Make the most of your San Francisco to Death Valley drive. This detailed itinerary has a routing loop with scenic stops and super useful trip planning tips.
This guide has everything you need to know for a visit to Salt Point State Park. Enjoy hiking, coastal views, historic sites on the Sonoma Coast.