The ultimate Northern California road trip from San Francisco to Redwood National Park. Along the way, stop at beautiful state parks, cute coastal communities, and quirky roadside attractions.
The mysterious far north of California is home to charming beachside towns, stunning natural scenery, and possibly even Bigfoot.
Not to mention, the giant redwoods found in Redwood National Park are a worthy destination for this epic trip–although you may be tempted to stay forever in some of the towns you pass through.
A road trip requires a lot of planning: where to stop, for how long, and what to take. But waking up in a new place, seeing the landscape change as you drive, and the thrill of discovering something completely unexpected makes it all worthwhile.
Plus, I’ve taken everything I’ve learned from making this trip myself multiple times and devised this itinerary, so all the planning has been done for you: sweet!
This guide takes you through all the best beaches, towns, and state parks on the way to Redwood National Park along Highway 1.
Then, it takes you back through the redwood forest to San Francisco along a different route, allowing you to see even more.
So, load up the car with snacks, cue up your favorite playlist, and get ready for a classic Northern California road trip.
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How Far is Redwood National Park from San Francisco?
Redwood National Park is located in Northern California, between Orick and Crescent City. The distance from San Francisco to Redwood National Park is 315 miles.
The drive time depends on which route you take, and how many stops you make along the way. The fastest way to Redwood National Park is to drive north on Highway 101, which takes around six hours.
However, by doing this, you’ll miss the beautiful views, beaches, and cool small towns that dot the Northern California coast along Highway 1.
So instead, I recommend driving north on Highway 1 as far as possible, before joining Highway 101.
This longer, more scenic route from San Francisco to Redwood National Park is closer to nine hours but worth the extra mileage.
How Many Days do I Need for a Redwood National Park Road Trip from San Francisco?
My San Francisco to Redwood National Park road trip takes you north on Highway 1 along the coast to Crescent City, then back south on Highway 101 through wine country and the Marin Headlands.
I’d recommend at least ten days for this complete Northern California road trip. Although, you can also do it in a shorter amount of time and just pick and choose which stops to include.
How to Get to Redwood National Park from San Francisco
There are three routes you can take from San Francisco to Redwood National Park: Highway 1 to Highway 101, Highway 101 only, or Interstate 5 to Highway 299.
Highway 101 is the main north-south road through California and the quickest route to Redwood National Park from San Francisco.
This road takes you through wine country, and as you head further up the Northern California coast, redwood forests.
Highway 1, also called the Pacific Coast Highway until it reaches Leggett, is a scenic road hugging the coastline between Los Angeles and Mendocino.
This road is winding, slow, and occasionally closed in parts due to landslides. But it’s one of the most beautiful drives in the world.
There’s not much to recommend Interstate 5. It’s a direct route north with not a lot to see or places to stop.
Highway 299 is pretty, however, tracing an old gold rush route through lush forests and interesting towns.
The only toll roads on any of these routes are at the bridges connecting San Francisco to the north and the East Bay.
The fee for the Golden Gate Bridge is paid on the north-to-south leg, so you’ll only pay once, on the way back to San Francisco.
There are no longer any manned toll booths. The easiest way to pay is to go online after you have crossed and pay the toll with a credit card. You only need to know your registration and give an approximate time, within a 24-hour window.
Gas stations are easiest to find on Highway 101 but there are many small communities on Highway 1 and Interstate 5 where you can pull in for gas.
You won’t find any gas stations (or restaurants, for that matter) in Redwood National Park. The nearest gas stations to the park are in Orick, Klamath, and Crescent City.
If you’re picking up a rental car from San Francisco, it’s usually cheaper to get one from San Francisco International Airport than in the city.
San Francisco to Redwood National Park Route: What to Expect
San Francisco to Redwood National Park is a once-in-a-lifetime road trip that you’ll want to repeat again and again.
Soothe your soul on a hike through an ancient forest, get your heart pumping on a river kayak tour, and breathe deeply in the fresh ocean air.
But also–connect with Bay Area culture in San Francisco, dress up for Michelin-starred food in wine country, and relax in one of the welcoming small towns along the coast.
Stops on this itinerary include:
- San Francisco
- Point Reyes
- Humboldt Redwoods State Park
- Redwoods National and State Parks
- Marin headlands
- San Francisco
San Francisco to Redwood National Park Road Trip Itinerary
San Francisco to Point Reyes
Distance: Just over an hour of driving (43 miles).
Recommended time: Two days in San Francisco, one in Point Reyes.
Why it’s worth stopping at: Point Reyes National Seashore has miles of rugged, fog-shrouded landscape, plus some of the best cheese in the state.
What to do: Visit Point Reyes Lighthouse, try oysters in Tomales Bay, stock up on cheese at Point Reyes Station, and take snaps of the Cypress Tree Tunnel.
Where to eat: State Bird Provisions and Tartine in San Francisco, and Station House Cafe in Point Reyes Station.
Where to stay: Handlery Union Square Hotel in San Francisco and Nick’s Cove in the Point Reyes area.
There are a ton of fun things to do in San Francisco. My favorite thing to do is simply walk around the distinct neighborhoods, admiring the beautiful homes and stopping to eat at one of the many diverse restaurants.
I also recommend taking a trip on one of the cable cars that have come to symbolize the city.
Jump on at Market Street and ride the trolley up and down the hills all the way to the end, then walk a couple of blocks to Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 to see the sea lions.
Golden Gate Park is another San Francisco landmark you should visit.
The Botanic Gardens and Japanese Garden are colorful oases in the city where you can relax, or take a romantic boat ride out on Stow Lake. If you have kids, the antique carousel is also fun and the nearby playground is always a hit.
There are also a couple of good museums in Golden Gate Park: the DeYoung for art and the California Academy of Sciences for its rainforest, aquarium, and interactive science exhibitions.
You also won’t want to miss the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco’s iconic landmark connecting the city to Marin.
You’ll have to drive over it to begin your road trip, but it’s also a lot of fun to take a bike tour over to Sausalito and grab a bite to eat. Or, you can take a hike to one of the best spots for that classic Golden Gate Bridge postcard shot.
San Francisco is easy to get around with public transport, so I would recommend only picking up your rental car when you’re ready to depart the city.
Looking for more to do in San Francisco? Read our guide to the best things to do in San Francisco at night, the best hikes in San Francisco, and the best Bay Area hikes.
Point Reyes was once a mighty dairy empire supplying all of San Francisco’s butter needs until refrigerated train cars sent the industry into decline.
Now, the few remaining ranchers share the land with hikers exploring the wild and windy peninsula.
The most popular trail is the short but steep walk down to Point Reyes Lighthouse, which still stands guard over the treacherous waters of the San Francisco Bay.
If you’re visiting in April, check out the trail to Chimney Rock, which is festooned in brightly colored wildflowers in spring.
After exploring Point Reyes National Seashore, check out Point Reyes Station. It’s a charming small town with great restaurants, a supermarket with buffalo milk ice cream, and Cowgirl Creamery Barn Shop.
Cowgirl Creamery is where you will find the sensational cheese I mentioned earlier. My advice: arrive hungry.
Read our guide to the best things to do in Point Reyes.
Point Reyes to Mendocino
Distance: 3.5 hours driving time (129 miles) on Highway 1.
Recommended time: 1-2 days.
Why it’s worth stopping at: See some of California’s best beach towns and float the Russian River.
What to do: Bodega Bay, Jenner (detour: Johnson’s Beach at Guerneville), and Point Arena Lighthouse.
Where to eat: The Tides Wharf Restaurant at Bodega Bay, Cafe Aquatica in Jenner, and boon eat + drink in Guerneville.
Where to stay: Highlands Resort in Guerneville and Headlands Inn Bed and Breakfast in Mendocino.
The next stretch of Highway 1 takes you through some of the coolest beach towns in Northern California: Bodega Bay, Jenner, and Sea Ranch.
If you have an extra day to spare, I’d also recommend taking a detour inland to Guerneville.
First up on your drive north is the cute seaside community of Bodega Bay.
This is where Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds was filmed, and you can visit many of the buildings featured in the movie, including The Tides Wharf Restaurant.
Jenner & Guerneville
After a stop here, continue your Highway road trip 1 to Jenner, where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean.
Pause at Cafe Aquatica, a rustic beach cafe where you can enjoy a coffee and a warm-from-the-oven cookie while watching seals play on the beach.
Take a stroll on the uncrowded Goat Rock Beach or drive east on Highway 116 to spend the day on Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville, a 20-minute drive away.
Johnson’s Beach is a favorite summer vacation spot for San Franciscans swapping foggy city life for a float along the sunny Russian River at a (very) slow pace. You’ll preferably want to do this with a beer in hand from local microbrewery, Russian River Brewing Company.
Back on Highway 1, Fort Ross is a former Russian settlement and now a California State Historic Park where you can explore the old buildings and trails.
Take a break at Sea Ranch, to see the Sea Ranch Chapel.
This stunning building features a winged roof and colorful stained-glass windows. The chapel is just as beautiful on the inside as the outside and is worth a stop.
Back on the road, enjoy the sweeping views of the Pacific before stopping again at Point Arena Lighthouse. This romantic lighthouse offers daily tours and incredible views from the top balcony.
Finally, head to Mendocino to relax at your hotel: that’s enough excitement for one to two days.
Mendocino to Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Distance: 2 hours (89 miles).
Recommended time: 1-2 days.
Why it’s worth stopping at: Mendocino is an idyllic coastal community with plenty of beautiful state parks to explore. This is a good place to take a break from driving for a couple of days and relax.
Embrace a slower pace of life in Mendocino, a quiet Northern California seaside town with a romantic spot around every corner.
There are no chain stores or restaurants in this community, only small businesses operating out of Saltbox cottages.
The village is surrounded by Mendocino Headlands State Park, where you can stroll the bluffs.
There are a couple of great beaches just steps from downtown: one is located behind the visitor center and the other below the Presbyterian chapel.
There are also several beautiful California state parks in the area to visit.
Russian Gulch State Park has a 36-foot waterfall, graceful Art Deco bridge, and a spectacular collapsed sea cave known as the Devil’s Punchbowl.
Nearby Van Damme State Park also has a surprise: a Pygmy forest full of tiny yet old trees, in stark contrast to the towering redwoods.
Mendocino Botanical Gardens is another relaxing stop. Find colorful rhododendrons, a pine forest, and stunning native plants in these lush coastal gardens.
Read our complete guide to the best things to do in Mendocino.
After Mendocino, head up the coast for 15 minutes to Fort Bragg for Glass Beach. This colorful beach gets its name from the smooth glass pebbles that cover the sand.
The glass is from what’s left of old Fort Bragg, which was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. Debris was dumped in the Pacific ocean and some of it was returned, worn smooth by the waves, to the beach.
There used to be more glass on the beach but tourists often pocket the jewel-like sea glass and take them home (please don’t do this!).
From Fort Bragg, continue north on Highway 1. Take your time and stop often to admire the beaches and vistas along this stunning stretch.
After about 30 minutes of driving, the road curves inland into the dense, dark redwood forest. Take care, this section is windy, steep, and narrow.
Eventually, Highway 1 merges into Highway 101. Continue your road trip north and end the day just outside Humboldt State Park at the Benbow Historic Inn.
What to do: Explore downtown Mendocino, hike the Mendocino Headlands, check out Russian Gulch State Park, visit Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, see the Pygmy forest at Van Damme State Park, and see Glass Beach.
Where to eat: Mendocino Cafe, Luna Trattoria, and Flow.
Where to stay: Benbow Historic Inn or the Brewery Gulch Inn.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park to Eureka
Distance: 1 hour drive time (70 miles).
Recommended time: 1 day.
Why it’s worth stopping at: Humboldt Redwoods State Park has one of the most famous scenic drives in the world, the Avenue of Giants.
What to do: Avenue of the Giants, Detour: The Lost Coast (Mattole Beach), and Ferndale.
Where to eat: Redwood Palace.
Where to stay: Inn at 2nd & C in Eureka.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park
From Benbow, head north for ten minutes on Highway 101 to the southern entrance to the Avenue of the Giants.
This alternative to Highway 101 through ancient redwood groves is one of the best scenic drives in the world.
There are several trailheads accessible from the scenic route, plus a small town (Miranda) with a great Italian restaurant, Redwood Palace. This is a lovely lunch spot for a pizza and a glass of red wine (for the non-driver, of course).
Just past Miranda is the Shrine Drive-Thru Tree, one of the last surviving drive-through redwood trees in California. It’s private, so there’s a fee, but it’s a fun road trip stop.
Moving on, you’ll come to a few of the giant redwood trees you came to see: the Founders Tree and the Dyerville Giant. Both are conveniently close to the road, so you can park, take a snap, and get on with your day.
Prefer to spend more time in the woods? I don’t blame you. Turn left onto Bull Creek Flats Road and head deeper into the park to the Big Trees Day Use Area for more trails.
The Lost Coast
If you’re in the mood for a real road trip adventure, continue west along Mattole Rd., which leads to the beach after almost two hours of driving, some of it on dirt roads.
Eventually, you’ll end up on Mattole Beach, where you can camp at a primitive campsite (you need to bring everything you need, including water) in a very isolated area called the Lost Coast.
If you prefer to stick to the route, continue along the Avenue of the Giants until rejoining Highway 101 to Eureka, a 45-minute drive.
It’s worth taking another (tiny) detour to the quaint town of Ferndale along the way.
Eureka to Redwood National & State Parks
Distance: 1 hour drive time (44 miles).
Recommended time: 3 days.
Why it’s worth stopping at: Towering redwoods, beautiful trails, rivers, wild coastline and more redwoods – this is everything you came for.
What to do: Klamath Trees of Mystery, Crescent City, old-town Eureka, drive-through tree, Lady Bird Johnson Grove, Sue-meg State Park (aka Patrick’s Point State Park).
Where to eat: Seaquake Brewing in Crescent City, Lost Coast Cafe and Brewery in Eureka
Where to stay: Inn at 2nd and C in Eureka
About a 30-minute drive from the southern entrance to Redwood National & State Parks is Eureka, which has a charming waterfront old town to explore.
A great way to experience Eureka is with a bicycle tour and a guide who can point out hidden art and local landmarks.
Redwood National and State Parks
Redwood National and State Parks is a collection of parks, administered jointly by the state of California and the National Park Service.
There are three state parks and one national park, all located along Highway 101.
From the southern entrance at Orick to the northern entrance at Crescent City, the parks are: Redwood National Park, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.
Some of the highlights of the parks include:
- Hiking to the tallest trees in the world.
- Admiring a lush fern-covered canyon.
- Kayaking the Smith River.
- Checking out tide pools and strolling the coastal trail at unspoiled beaches.
- Joining a ranger-led nature walk through towering redwood groves.
It’s way too much to cover here, so check out this in-depth guide to Redwood National and State Parks. Plus, all the things to do in Redwood National and State Parks for ideas on what to do and how to get there.
Other Attractions on the way to Crescent City
Although you certainly could spend all your time in the serene forests, don’t miss some of the other local attractions on your road trip.
Stop by Klamath Trees of Mystery in Klamath, a kind of redwood theme park with a fun gondola ride through the canopy and an interpretive trail.
Check out Sue-meg State Park, formerly known as Patrick’s Point, a small park with a lot to offer.
Visit Agate Beach, a beautiful stretch of sand with tidepools. It’s also one of the few Californian beaches where you can camp and fall asleep to the sound of the surf.
Or, check out Trinidad State Beach, a wide and unspoiled beach perfect for a stroll beside the Pacific Ocean.
Sue-meg State Park also has a recreated Yurok village and native plant garden, showcasing the indigenous culture of the West Coast.
At the north end of the parks is the beautiful coastal town of Crescent City, where you can enjoy a meal and a craft beer at Seaquake Brewing, or learn more about the parks at the visitor center.
Return on Highway 101: Redwood National and State Parks to Healdsburg
Distance: 4 hours’ drive time (238 miles).
Recommended time: 1-2 days.
Why it’s worth stopping at: Tour vineyards and enjoy fine dining in wine country.
What to do: Richardson State Park, Skunk Train, and Healdsburg.
Where to eat: Il Forno Bakery in Garberville, Oakville Market in Healdsburg, and SingleThread in Healdsburg.
Where to stay: Harmon Guest House.
After several days of relaxing at Redwood National and State Parks among the redwood trees, it’s time to head south from Redwood National Park to San Francisco.
For the return road trip, take a faster route along Highway 101 to see a different side of California.
It’s a four-hour drive to Healdsburg, in the heart of Northern California’s wine country. The road hugs the coast for the first hour but then turns inland, through forests and vineyards.
Chandelier Drive-Through Tree
There are plenty of places to stop along the way. First up is the Chandelier Drive-Through Tree. It’s one of the last remaining drive-through redwood trees, and in my opinion, the best.
Next up is Garberville, a good place to stop and grab a bite to eat. Check out Il Forno Bakery if you’re after a grab-and-go sandwich or a coffee.
Just outside Garberville is Richardson State Park, which features a beautiful old-growth redwood grove, a river where you can dip your feet, and a visitor center. You’ll find plenty of places to enjoy your lunch and stretch your legs here.
After Richardson State Park is One Log House, another redwood roadside attraction – an entire house carved out of, you guessed it, one log. There’s a cute gift shop too.
The town of Willits, one hour south of Garberville, is the home of the famous Skunk Train (as is Fort Bragg).
Take a trip on a historic train through the redwoods, over wooden trestle bridges and through stone tunnels.
It’s a unique way to experience the redwoods and there are special seasonal rides offered throughout the year.
One more hour of driving and you’ll hit Healdsburg in Sonoma, which is a great base for exploring the region’s vineyards, restaurants, spas, and boutiques.
Healdsburg is a cosmopolitan town with a beautiful European-style plaza at the center.
After a day of driving, consider spending two nights in Healdsburg so you have more time to explore the town and surrounding area.
There are several tasting rooms in town, so you can sample many of the best wines without driving around. Or, book a bicycle wine tour, which covers the best local wineries in one day.
There are also plenty of great restaurants where you can enjoy a meal in Healdsburg, from a simple sandwich at Oakville Grocery to a three-Michelin star experience at SingleThread.
Healdsburg to Marin Headlands
Distance: 1.5 hours (62 miles).
Recommended time: 1 day.
Why it’s worth stopping at: Stay one more night in beautiful Marin before heading back to the city.
What to do: Mt Tam State Park, Muir Woods, Stinson Beach, and Bolinas.
Where to eat: Eleven in Bolinas, Sand Dollar in Stinson Beach, and Parkside Cafe in Stinson Beach.
Where to stay: Smiley’s Saloon.
Bolinas is my favorite California beach town and the perfect place to stop before returning to San Francisco.
If you’re short on time, skip Bolinas and drive back to San Francisco, but there are many reasons to include this tiny town on your itinerary.
Hidden from the highway and obscured by a lack of signage, Bolinas is the Northern California coast’s best-kept secret.
The tiny village has a fascinating history of bootleggers and environmental activism, which you can learn about in the town’s museum.
There’s also a beach that’s ideal for surfing. If you want to try, Bolinas Surf Lessons can teach you how or you can buy what you need from the town’s surf shop.
In the evening, head to Smiley’s Saloon, a real Western saloon that hosts live music on weekend nights.
Mt Tam & Muir Woods National Monument
Go for a walk in nearby Mount Tamalpais State Park, which has 60 miles of hiking trails and breathtaking views of the area from the summit.
If you prefer pedaling to strolling, the sport of mountain biking was invented on Mount Tam and there are several heart-pumping trails you can bike.
Mount Tamalpais State Park surrounds a smaller, but very popular national monument: Muir Woods National Monument.
With a beautiful grove of mature redwoods so close to the city, Muir Woods National Monument is always busy. Be sure to reserve a car parking space ahead of time if you want to visit.
Next to Bolinas is Stinson Beach, a long stretch of sand with a fun seaside resort vibe.
I personally like to buy fish and chips from Parkside Cafe’s window and perch on a piece of driftwood to eat. Or, the Sand Dollar across the road is a nice sit-down restaurant if you’re after something more substantial.
From Stinson Beach, it’s only an hour’s drive back to San Francisco. Head back over the Golden Gate Bridge and make a note of the time so you can pay the toll online later.
If you’re not done with your road trip, head east to Yosemite National Park, a three-hour drive from San Francisco and make this an incredible National Park road trip.
Or, check out our detailed guide on our other favorite weekend trips from San Francisco.
Where to Stay Overnight on Your San Francisco to Redwood National Park Drive
Along Highway 1, there are several state parks offering camping sites. Book at Reserve California in advance for a spot.
- Point Reyes National Seashore: Check out Wildcat Campground and Coast Campground for hike-in beach camping or Olema Campground if you car camp or RV.
- Bodega Bay/Jenner: Wright’s Beach Campground.
- Mendocino: Mendocino Headlands State Park Campground.
- Humboldt Redwoods State Park: Albee Creek Campground, Hidden Springs Campground.
- Patrick’s Point: Agate Beach Campground in Sue-meg State Park.
- Redwoods National and State Parks: Elk Prairie Campground, Gold Bluffs Beach Campground, Jedediah Smith Campground, Mill Creek Campground.
- Healdsburg: Schoolhouse Canyon Campground.
- Mount Tamalpais State Park: Pantoll Campground.
- San Francisco: Handlery Union Square Hotel
- Point Reyes/Tomales Bay: Nick’s Cove
- Guerneville: Highlands Resort
- Mendocino: Headlands Inn Bed and Breakfast
- Humboldt Redwoods State Park: Benbow Historic Inn
- Eureka: Inn at 2nd and C
- Healdsburg: Harmon Guest House
- Bolinas: Smiley’s Saloon
- Tomales Bay: Tree Top Glass House, studio
- Guerneville: Redwood retreat, four bedrooms with pool
- Mendocino: Jade’s Tower, one-bed whimsical retreat
- Humboldt Redwoods State Park: Remodeled barn with spectacular views, two bedrooms
- Eureka: Charming cottage near downtown, three bedrooms
- Healdsburg: Hilltop hideaway, two bedrooms
- Bolinas: One-of-a-kind cottage, three bedrooms
- San Francisco: Russian Hill Penthouse, three bedrooms
Where to Eat Along the Drive to Redwood National Park
Point Reyes/Tomales Bay: This area is famous for oysters, which are farmed from the crystal clear waters of Tomales Bay, and dairy produced by cows who roam the lush hills.
Try Nick’s Cove in Marshall for waterfront dining and Cowgirl Creamery for flavorful cheese in Point Reyes Station. Station House Cafe is another great choice in Point Reyes Station.
Mendocino: The town of Mendocino is small, but offers plenty of good places to eat. Try Mendocino Cafe for lunch, Luna Trattoria for an authentic Italian dinner, or Flow for fine dining in the seaside community.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park: Although rural, you’ll find some good places to stop for a bite. Benbow Historic Inn offers a classic dining experience in a beautiful setting. There’s also Redwood Palace in Miranda, with comforting Italian fare.
Eureka: This is the biggest city before you hit Redwood National and State Parks, so it’s the perfect place to enjoy a waterfront meal in the historic Old Town. Try Lost Coast Cafe and Brewery for California cuisine, or Humboldt Bay Provisions for seafood.
Crescent City: At the northern end of Redwood National and State Parks is Crescent City, where you can get a craft beer and a great meal at Seaquake Brewing Company.
Healdsburg: Located in the heart of wine country, the little city of Healdsburg is big on food and drink. Get your picnic supplies at Oakville Market, or go all-out at the three Michelin-starred SingleThread.
Marin headlands: In Bolinas, check out Eleven, where the warm welcome makes you feel like you’re hanging out at a friend’s house who happens to be an amazing chef. Smiley’s Saloon offers tasty bar food and has live music on the weekends.
San Francisco: You can find food of just about every nationality in San Francisco. There are Michelin-star establishments, food trucks, and invitation-only supper clubs. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it here. State Bird Provisions is a good bet for elevated comfort food, or if you’re looking for coffee and a pastry, Tartine has lines out the door for its famous morning bun.
Best Time to Road Trip the North Coast
September and October, Northern California’s “second summer” is the warmest time of year to travel along the coast from San Francisco to Redwood National Park. However, sometimes wildfires threaten the region in late summer and fall.
Springtime is also lovely, with colorful wildflowers brightening the roadside. April is a great month for a road trip but can be cold, especially at night, so bear that in mind if you plan to camp.
The weather is dry and fairly warm between June and August, but these are the busiest months. California’s wet season is between November and May. Expect fewer crowds but more rain.
Tips for Getting to Redwood National Park from San Francisco
- Cell service is patchy from San Francisco to Redwood National Park. Consider downloading your maps ahead of time or printing them out.
- There are day-use fees at some of the state parks. If you’re a Californian, you can check out a state park pass for free from your library.
- California is a state of microclimates and you’re going to be traveling through all of them. Take light layers to combat the chilly fog, waterproof hiking shoes for your forest adventures, and a cute outfit (accessorized with a sun hat) for wine country.
- Pack plenty of healthy snacks and drinks for the road, because things go awry when you get hangry.
- Don’t forget your permits: some of the trails in Redwood National and State Parks, including Fern Canyon Trail, require you to reserve a permit in advance due to their popularity.
Alternative Options for Getting to Redwood National Park from San Francisco
Flying & Driving to the Park
Don’t have the time for an epic road trip from San Francisco to Redwood National Park? That’s OK! There’s a quicker alternative to making this San Francisco to Redwood National Park drive.
Instead of driving, take a flight from San Francisco International Airport to Eureka-Arcata Regional Airport. From there, you can pick up a rental car for the 30-minute drive to Redwood National and State Parks.
Tours from San Francisco
If you don’t drive, there are one or three-day San Francisco to Redwood National Park tours departing from hotels across the San Francisco Bay Area.
Relax, take in the scenery, and let your guide do all the planning.
Unfortunately, the train doesn’t pass through Redwood National and State Parks.
However, you can get from San Francisco to the redwoods by taking the Greyhound coach up Highway 1 to Eureka. Local bus services can then take you into the parks from Eureka.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarah McDonald is a travel writer based in the Bay Area. She writes for the national parenting website Red Tricycle and on her own family travel blog, Tiny Trailblazers. She loves exploring California’s outdoors and has a weakness for a national park gift shop.
Looking for more California travel inspiration? Read our related articles below!
A guide to California’s Nine National Parks
San Francisco to Yosemite National Park
Best Romantic Getaways in California
Best Glamping Spots in California
Best Campgrounds in Northern California
Best Hotels Along the Pacific Coast Highway
Best Restaurants on the Pacific Coast Highway
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