Total Mileage/Average drive time
364 miles, 6 hours, 22 minutes
Take a drive up California's rugged northern shore for the most stunning views on the coast. There are miles and miles of craggy coastline dotted with charming seaside towns, welcoming wineries, and acres of virgin forests sporting the tallest trees in the world.
1. Concord - Starting Point
Welcome to wine country! Over 450 wineries and close to 6,000 acres of vineyards flourish along the scenic roads of Sonoma County, where you can stop, sip and explore California's wine industry. Take State Route 1 for some of the best views of spectacular beaches, jagged rock formations, secluded coves and rugged coastlines along the Pacific Ocean. Off Highway 101, don't miss the Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree (a tourist attraction since the 1930s), one of only three drive-thru trees remaining in California. Located in 200 acres of virgin redwood forest, it's wide enough to drive a car through, but don't try it with an RV!
2. Eureka - 279 miles, 4 hours, 46 minutes
This is the heart of Redwood Country and Humboldt Redwoods State Park is home to 17,000 acres of the world's largest remaining contiguous old-growth coastal redwood trees. Get the camera out for Avenue of the Giants, a scenic 31-mile park tour through the giant redwood trees, some over 350 feet tall. You'll also see one of the oldest trees in the forest (over 950 years old), and the remaining two drive-thru trees, along with a real "tree house," a house that is partially built within a giant redwood. While in town, check out the Carson Mansion, which was built by lumber baron William Carson in 1885. The mansion took more than two years to build and is arguably the most photographed building in Eureka. Designed in ornate Queen Anne style, the house can be seen from a distance around the town as well as from off shore.
3. Crescent City - 85 miles, 1 hour, 36 minutes
Route 101 passes Arcata Bay, a deep-water seaport and home to the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. Explore the Redwood National and State Parks, four parks in one covering almost 39,000 acres of trees that protect 45 percent of the remaining Sequoia redwood forests in the state. These giants are the oldest-living organisms on the planet. The Lady Bird Johnson Grove is one of the most popular trails in the park due to the easy-to-navigate terrain, lush ferns, forest views and giant redwoods that are often enveloped in the clouds. In Crescent City, the 160-year-old Battery Point Lighthouse can only be reached on foot at low tide.