A road trip from San Francisco to Redwoods National Park is an adventure through the lush green forests of Northern California with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean along the way. This area boasts mild temperatures for most of the year with some rain to keep things green. There are little towns on the route where you can stop for refreshments, take a few pictures, and enjoy the hospitality.
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is the best place to learn about the naval history of the Bay Area. This park is located in the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood and includes an impressive fleet of historic ships, the Maritime Museum and Visitor Center, a research center, and the Aquatic Park Historic District. Historic vessels are parked at the Hyde Street Pier, and exploring them is a great way to wander into the past. The museum is in the Aquatic Park Bathhouse Building.
Redwood National Park
Redwood National Park is home to some of the tallest trees on the planet. It also contains habitats of oak forests, prairies, riverways, and coastline covering 139,000 acres. The park is home to many endangered animal species like Steller’s sea lions and northern spotted owls. The temperatures in this area stay cool with high humidity and a decent amount of rain. Be sure to dress in layers and wear non-slip shoes. This is a great place for hiking and biking, exploring ocean tidepools, and whale watching.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park is located east of your route. This park is a fun place where you can learn about volcanoes by exploring bubbling mud pots, geysers, and steaming fumaroles. You can also visit beautiful clear lakes, jagged mountain peaks, and meadows full of wildflowers. This is an ideal location for hiking, swimming, fishing, and relaxing. Since part of the park is at high elevation, there are also opportunities to ski and play in the snow.
Patrick’s Point State Park
Patrick’s Point State Park is located about 25 miles north of Eureka in a lush forested area right on the California coast. This is a small park, only about 1 square acre, where you can look for agates, explore the tide pools, and watch sea lions and migrating whales. Inside the park, you will find a native plant garden and a Yurok plank-house village that has been rebuilt. This is a beautiful place to hike or camp.
Fort Humboldt State Historic Park
Fort Humboldt State Historic Park is located in Eureka and used to be a military fort overlooking Humboldt Bay. A young Captain Ulysses S. Grant was once a resident there. There used to be 14 structures there, but today, only the hospital building remains. It is a museum that tells the story of military and Native American groups, including the Hoopa, Wiyot, and Yurok, that lived in the region. They also have a historic herb and vegetable garden next to the building. The park also contains a logging museum with open-air displays of 19th-century and 20th-century equipment.
Navarro River Redwoods State Park
Navarro River Redwoods State Park stretches about 11 miles along the Navarro River, located about 10 miles west of Navarro. This is a popular place for canoeing and kayaking. If you visit during fishing season, get ready to catch some nice-sized steelheads. There are a couple of campgrounds in the area where you can stay the night. If you are interested in native wildlife, watch for animals like black-tailed deer, raccoons, and belted kingfishers. Of course, the highlight of the area is the gorgeous redwood trees.
Point Cabrillo Lighthouse Museum
The Point Cabrillo Lighthouse was built to help prevent the shipwrecks that were happening in the treacherous waters on the Mendocino coast. In 1850, a clipper shipwrecked in the nearby area, and they discovered the redwood forest when trying to salvage the ship. The lighthouse station includes the lighthouse, three restored lightkeeper houses, the restored blacksmith and carpentry shop that houses the Marine Science Exhibit with a 240-gallon saltwater aquarium, and three restored storage buildings. Be sure to visit the gift shop while you are there.
Glass Beach is located in MacKerricher State Park at Fort Bragg. It is so named because of the abundant sea glass created after years of dumping rubbish near the coastline in the northern part of town. Broken bottles turned into tiny treasures that you will find in the sand at the beach. They ask that you do not take any with you since it is already depleted, but photographs are encouraged. This is a great place for kids to explore on your San Francisco to Redwood National Park road trip, but you will want to be careful near the water. The area also contains lots of hiking trails.
Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree Park
The Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree near Leggett will give you the best idea of just how massive these redwood trees are. This day-use area allows you to drive through the middle of a redwood tree and take pictures, or you can park and walk through. This beautiful park is also a wonderful place to enjoy a picnic lunch, go hiking, visit the gift shop for a souvenir, or just relax on a bench and daydream.
Santa Rosa, California
Santa Rosa is a city north of San Francisco in Sonoma County known for its wineries. It is also the home of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, dedicated to the famous cartoonist. They also have the Children’s Museum, which features hands-on exhibits for kids, including a little train station that they can play in. Enjoy live music performances at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts. You can also visit the Annadel State Park, which features a beautiful lake.
If you need a dump station while in the Santa Rosa area, check out Rotten Robbie. You can fill up, use the dump station, and grab a snack all in one place. If you decide to spend the night, check out the camping facilities at Spring Lake Park. They have full hookups and showers.
Ukiah is a charming little town known for its innovative organic and sustainable wineries. Before the wine took over, this was a popular place to grow pears. Ukiah also has some nice parks, including Low Gap Park and Todd Grove Park. You can also visit the Grace Hudson Museum-Sun House. Stop by for a few rounds at the Ukiah Valley Golf Course, a great way to get out and stretch your legs.
If you need a dump station while visiting Ukiah, Chevron Ukiah on Perkins Street has what you need. It is a large lot that is easy to maneuver around. If you decide to spend the night in the area, check out the Kyen Campground on Marina Drive next to Lake Mendocino.
Eureka is a beautiful port town on the coast. When you visit, be sure to drive through the Old Town district where you will see spectacular Victorian houses like the Carson Mansion. This is also the home of the Sequoia Park Zoo where you can visit primates and pandas as well as an aviary. The Sequoia Park next to it is home to fantastic old-growth redwood trees. Head to Humboldt Bay, which has guided boat cruises on an early-1900s Madaket ferry. You can also visit the Clarke Historical Museum to learn more about the cultural and regional history of the California North Coast.
If you need to use a dump station in the Eureka area while you're on your San Francisco to Redwood National Park RV road trip, the Shell station on Broadway will be able to help you out. There is plenty to do in Eureka, so you may decide to spend the night. Check out the Redwood Coast Cabins & RV Resort. This park is located inland on Humboldt Bay where you will be away from some of the coastal wind.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from San Francisco to Redwood National Park, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in San Francisco or Redwood National Park.