Frommer'sFrommer's
    33 Activities

    California's Redwood Empire

    California's Redwood Empire
    Starts from

    San Francisco

    Transportation

    By Car

    Guidance

    Self-Guided

    Activities

    33

    Duration

    4 days

    Length

    824 mi

    In partnership with

    Visit California

    Guide details

    Starts from

    San Francisco

    Transportation

    By Car

    Guidance

    Self-Guided

    Duration

    4 days

    Length

    824 mi

    History and CultureNatural AttractionsGastronomy
    Map preview

    Created By:

    Highlights

    • Most compelling nature sights, from towering redwood forests to splendidly rugged Pacific beaches.
    • Fab wineries, unique spas, and an oyster farm.
    • Sites that delve into the surprising and varied history of the state.
    California's redwood forests are home to the largest and oldest living creatures on earth, and they are the stars of this road trip. But the state's wonders go well beyond trees. When you drive winding State Highway 1, you'll encounter towns little changed since the Victorian era, historic forts, and fog-shrouded lighthouses. Add to these natural and historic sites a good dash of creature comforts: if you like to eat well and try new wines and spa treatments, you're in the right quadrant of the country. Before you set out, remember that if you intend to make our stop at Muir Woods, you'll need to make an advance reservation for entry. Enjoy!
    Photo: Pauline Frommer

    Categories

    California's redwood forests are home to the largest and oldest living creatures on earth, and they are the stars of this road trip. But the state's wonders go well beyond trees. When you drive winding State Highway 1, you'll encounter towns little changed since the Victorian era, historic forts, and fog-shrouded lighthouses. Add to these natural and historic sites a good dash of creature comforts: if you like to eat well and try new wines and spa treatments, you're in the right quadrant of the country. Before you set out, remember that if you intend to make our stop at Muir Woods, you'll need to make an advance reservation for entry. Enjoy!
    Photo: Pauline Frommer

    In partnership with

    Visit California
    Frommer's Travel Guides

    Frommer's Travel Guides

    • Most compelling nature sights, from towering redwood forests to splendidly rugged Pacific beaches.
    • Fab wineries, unique spas, and an oyster farm.
    • Sites that delve into the surprising and varied history of the state.

    Travel itinerary

    Oysters, Beaches, Cedar Baths, and a Moody Lighthouse
    8 Activities

    Day 1

    151 mi

    Oysters, Beaches, Cedar Baths, and a Moody Lighthouse

    In terms of potential sights and activities, the stretch between San Francisco and Bodega Bay is one of the most jam-packed in California. We recommend an unusual spa treatment, an oyster tour, some easy hikes, and beachcombing, but all of the destinations we'll mention reward deeper exploration, so don't be shy about lingering at the ones that interest you most. It's hard to go wrong, though the FOMO will be strong. Please note that you'll need advance reservations for Muir Woods, the oyster tour, and Osmosis Day Spa. Photo: Pauline Frommer
    Sweeping Coastal Vistas, California History, and the Avenue of the Giants
    11 Activities

    Day 2

    245 mi

    Sweeping Coastal Vistas, California History, and the Avenue of the Giants

    You'll spend much of today driving along one of the most spellbindingly beautiful coastal roads in all of North America. Along the way, you can stop at tidal pools on deserted beaches, see some of the coast's most charming towns, and then duck inland to cruise along the aptly named Avenue of the Giants. Photo: Pauline Frommer
    A Day at Redwoods National and State Park
    7 Activities

    Day 3

    109 mi

    A Day at Redwoods National and State Park

    Today, you'll spend far less time in your car, and instead, you'll be out exploring one of the United States' most appealing natural preserves. It's actually the only one in the National Park system that has three state parks embedded within a national park. The rangers from both the state and the national parks work together to protect the precious sites here and make sure visitors get the most from their time. You could spend several days exploring this area, but for the purposes of this driving tour, we'll show you a few highlights instead. Photo: Pauline Frommer
    Wine Tasting and a Historic Spa
    7 Activities

    Day 4

    318 mi

    Wine Tasting and a Historic Spa

    Because you'll be driving the inland route back to San Francisco, you'll leave winding coastal roads behind and take mostly straight-as-an-arrow highways. That means that you'll cover longer distances today than earlier in this road trip. Today's highlights include classic Victorian architecture, a throwback spa, and some mighty fine wine tastings. Photo: Pauline Frommer
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