4 Days in Redwood National Park

We spent 4 days of spring break exploring Redwood National Park in northern California! We left on Friday and drove 10 hours to Crescent City, California and returned the following Wednesday. We stayed in a VRBO apartment on the same block as the Redwood National Park Headquarters. We were surprised by the large homeless population in Crescent City, but other than that it wasn’t very busy at all. I would imagine Crescent City would be a lot busier during the summer. Entry to Redwood National/State parks is free!

Day 1: The first Saturday of every month October-May they close the 10 mile Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway to motorized traffic. Bikers (including e-bikes), rollerbladers, walkers, skateboarders, etc. can take advantage of this gorgeous road without having to worry about traffic! Our kids were able to pedal bike 7.5 miles each direction through the beautiful trees! We pulled over at a couple spots for quick little hikes and for lunch. One thing to note though: it is uphill from south to north/downhill north to south. The very north part of the road is a 6% grade. There was plenty of parking along the side of the road to unload bikes for the road.

Day 2: In the morning we visited Battery Point Lighthouse. This area is only accessible during low tide. There was an option of a $5 tour of the inside of the lighthouse but we just looked around outside and checked out the tide pools around the base of the lighthouse.

In the afternoon, we drove on Howland Hill Road and hiked around Stout Grove (about 1 mile, basically flat) and Grove of the Titans (about 3 miles, some elevation change. This one just recently officially opened so it wasn’t on the park maps yet). Grove of the Titans was probably my favorite thing of the entire trip. It felt like we were in the movie Avatar with the ENORMOUS trees we were walking around. They recently added steel boardwalks around the last bit of the trail to help protect the forest and the entire hike was just magical. Parking was somewhat limited along Howland Hill Road and the road itself is only 1.5 car lengths wide so you need to pull over when two cars pass each other. The trees were so impressive even just driving the road!

Day 3: We drove south to Fern Canyon. No permit is needed during the winter but a free permit is required during the summer so they can limit visitors. There is a $12 cash only entry fee, but if you have a National Park Pass, that is accepted as well. Fern Canyon has huge fern-lined walls on either side of the creek. It had rained quite a bit the night before we were there (and continued to rain while we hiked) so the water was running pretty strong. Wearing knee-high muck boots were the only way we were able to stay dry. In the summer the creek bed is much drier and they add little foot bridges to the hike. You can either hike back along the rim of the canyon or go back down the way you came! Part of Jurassic Park was filmed in Fern Canyon! There is a creek you have to cross with your car to get to the trail head. We decided not to cross it with our van since the water was up to our knees the day we visited so we parked and walked an extra mile along a dirt road to reach the trail head. Bigger trucks were able to make it across and I’m guessing on a drier day our car would have made it too!

Day 4: Endert’s Beach and Crescent Beach: Endert’s beach is about a 1/2 mile wide downhill path to the beach. The beach was gorgeous and we even saw a sea otter! In the afternoon while Goldie napped, Seth walked down to Crescent beach with the kids to look for sand dollars. Crescent Beach is a long, wide, and sandy. It looks like a wonderful place to hang out in the summer!

Day 5: (Drive home day) We drove up Highway 101 and stopped at the Oregon Dunes Day Use Area and hiked a mile on sand out to the beach and back. In retrospect we could have just stayed in the sandy area near the car and let the kids play on the sandy dunes. The beach was pretty, but similar to the other beaches that we had driven by all day.

All in all it was a wonderful trip! I’m sure there are many more hikes we could have done, but we got a really good overview of the park. April was an awesome time to visit because it wasn’t crowded at all and parking/permits were never an issue. If you have a chance, I’d highly recommend that you spend some time in the Redwoods! I’d love to answer any other questions you have and always love hearing recommendations of where to go!

Getting sworn in as Junior Rangers!

Our Favorite Vacation Spot

We just got back from a weekend in Whistler! Oliver’s doctor gave us the okay in June to take him to Whistler and we have gone three times this summer! We actually went to Whistler on an already-planned trip the day Oliver was officially diagnosed with leukemia last year. It was the first place our doctor let us take Oliver for vacation (they have a helicopter ambulance on standby for the sports injuries that occur…which would also work for transporting a post bone marrow transplant fever patient if need be). Whistler has been a place where we can get away from daily life and especially hospital life and be out in nature.  Here are 3 reasons why Whistler is our #1 favorite vacation spot!

  • Price! You can do Whistler basically as cheap or as expensive as you want. Seth has tent camped at Whistler several times for $13 a night. Bring all your own food, the gas to get there, and that’s it! Or on the complete opposite end of the spectrum you could stay at the Four Seasons Resort in a suite for $1000+ a night. Our favorite way to stay is at a VRBO or Air BNB where you rent a house/condo for a couple nights. This is especially great if you have a group to split it with. This past weekend we stayed in a 2 bedroom/3 bathroom condo close to the village with all my siblings. We were able to cook our own food and have our own space while still being able to hang out in the common area whenever we wanted!
  • So many things to do! It seems like you could never run out of things to do in Whistler! Just like lodging, you could spend no money or piles of money depending on your style. There are TONS of free paved biking/walking trails, cross-country mountain biking trails, and plenty of hiking trails! Again, on the total opposite end of the spectrum you can take a 12-minute helicopter ride for $179 per person. There are a lot of adventure options like zip lining, bungee jumping, downhill mountain biking, gondola rides, etc. if you want to spend some money. Whistler Village is really fun to walk around in and there are a lot of good options for food and shopping!
  • Location and People! Whistler is only about a 3-hour drive from Bellingham. We have Nexus passes – which I totally recommend if you go to Canada very often! They cost $50 for 5 years and kids are FREE! They also get you TSA pre-check if you fly. The Nexus passes definitely speed up your border crossing! The 3 hour drive up the Sea to Sky Highway is gorgeous! The diversity of people in Whistler is exciting too! There are people from literally all over the world, especially from Australia and various countries in Europe. We were talking to four guys from Dublin, Ireland in the hot tub on Saturday night!

Hopefully I’ll do more posts in the future about specific things we love doing in Whistler but overall we just enjoy making family memories there! We have mostly spent time in Whistler during the spring/summer/fall but it is best known for its winter skiing/snowboarding. We haven’t spent a ton of time up there in the winter yet but we hope to in the future!