476PFern Canyon 2
Fern Canyon (source: http://www.redwoods.info/showrecord.asp?id=476)

For 2017, our big vacation is a ten day road trip around northern California and Oregon in an RV. We are taking the girls to explore tall trees, deep lakes, and volcanoes. Not bad for one trip. As we started mapping the trip out, we realized that this is the first vacation since our honeymoon in 2009 that has no other family or friend commitments.

The plan is to go to Redwood, Crater Lake, Lassen Volcanic, and Lake Tahoe, flying in and out of Sacramento. We’re pumped.

While at Redwood, we are hoping to get a good mix of ocean hikes along Golds Bluff beach, some time at Fern Canyon, and of course, seeing the world’s tallest trees.

Elk at Prairie Creek, (Source: NPS.gov)
Some pretty tall trees (Source: NPS.gov)


We rented a 22’ RV from a person in Sacramento who has a small fleet that he rents out. We found him on Craigslist and we are looking forward to having our lodging with us at all times. We weren’t sure how the girls would do with lots of driving in a car, so having the ability to pull over and let them move around in or out of the RV was something we considered. We also considered the struggle with setting up and breaking down a tent every few days.

With the RV, we hopefully will keep things contained in the vehicle and have quick setup and tear down from each site. And finally, most of our camp gear is designed for car camping, i.e., not designed to be packed and shipped in a plane, so the RV makes it slightly easier to pack since it has a fridge and stove, etc. 

We plan on spending two nights in Redwood National Park. The first night will be at Elk Prairie campground and the second night will be at Jedediah Smith campground. Redwood is a long and narrow park along the Pacific Ocean, so we picked a campground in the southern end and the northern end to experience as much as possible. It also helps with shortening some of our longer drives by migrating to the next stop as we’re still in Redwoods.


We are flying in and out of Sacramento and renting our RV from there. Once we have the RV, we’re going to load up on food supplies and hit the road. As we make the six hour drive to Redwoods, we might cross paths with my cousin and his family as they will be near the end of their month-long cross-country road trip in an RV from New York to the west coast and back. Hopefully, we can pull it off and share a pitstop as they head to Yosemite. 

With a total road trip of 1100 miles over 10 days, and knowing that toddlers and long driving days don’t always go so well, we’ve tried to front load a big driving day to just get it out of the way. From there, our driving legs look to be about 3-4 hours – manageable to try and get most of that done either during a naptime or right after dinner when the girls are winding down and going to sleep anyway.

In our recap post, we’ll be sure to walk through how we packed for the trip and figured it all out.

Kid factor

Redwoods will have highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s, so the climate will be good for them. From what we’ve read, it is all about layers up in Northern California with fog in the morning and clearer skies in the afternoon. The major factor is that we’ll be doing a decent amount of driving so the girls might get stir crazy by the end of the trip. Hopefully not.


Redwoods has some junior ranger programs, but the girls are too young to participate. So  we’re guessing the main activities for the girls will include sticks, rocks, and some other small toys plus some great hikes in our Kelty Kid carriers.

Reference materials

We just got a great book, Fodor’s The Complete Guide to National Parks of the West from the local library and then decided to buy a copy from amazon for $13. It goes into detail with over 35 national parks in the US and Canada. It has suggestions on travel, lodging, sites, hikes, or family friendly programming. 


Let us know if you’ve been to Redwood and if you recommend anything. Did I mention we’re pretty excited about this trip?!

4 thoughts

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