If you are looking to get away from your busy life and want to disconnect, then camping at Gold Bluffs Beach is the place you want to be. This is one of our favorite spots to go as a family and spend time together, without all of our modern day distractions. Now this is not glamping. RV’s are not even allowed on the road to this campground, so be ready to live without electricity and hot water for a few days; it is completely worth it. There are twenty-six tent or cabover camping spots right on the beach, with the backdrop of the Gold Bluffs. Every morning we wake to the sound of the pounding surf and a view of the amazing, pristine beach. We get up, cook breakfast, and then walk down to the beach for a little meditation and to breathe in the fresh ocean air. We usually go rock and shell hunting, do a little kite flying, and we love to watch the kids digging in the sand. After a while we head out to take in more of the seemingly endless beauty in the area.
There is no lack of things to do, if you need a break from playing on the beach. Our neighbors were fishing from shore and catching red perch and if you like to hike there are a ton of awesome trails that take you right through the Redwoods. One hike that is amazing and quite easy is the trail through Fern Canyon. You feel like you are transported to another time, with a trail that takes you through a green canyon filled with beautiful ferns and plant life, crystal clear streams, old fallen trees and just the quiet of the breeze blowing through. It is truly a magical place that you won’t want to leave.
While we were there we also went to theTrees of Mystery. We loved every moment, from the comical Paul Bunyan ribbing passersby, to the beautiful hike to the Sky Trail; it was educational while being fun. We started with a hike through the Kingdom of Trees looking at various trees, like the Octopus Tree, where the kids could climb under the root system and the Candelabra Tree which was a fallen tree that had a bunch of other branches growing straight up from it. My favorite was the Brotherhood Tree named for the hope for the brotherhood of man; it is one of the largest living things in the world, it was truly awe inspiring. It took about ½ an hour to hike to get up to the Sky Trail where we boarded the gondola that took us through the forest tree tops; when you get to the top you are so high you can see the ocean . After you get off the Sky Trail and head back down the mountain we finish our hike through the Trail of Tall Tales where there are pretty neat sculptures carved from Redwood. When we left there and were driving through the Redwoods we were more aware and noticed more “candelabra trees” and “octopus trees” just growing out in the forest. Going to the Trees of Mystery definitely gave us more of an appreciation of where we LIVE and PLAY!
Of course we could not miss driving through the Redwood Tree. It was pretty fun watching the bigger vehicles barely squeezing through, though our CRV went through with no problem. Worth the $5 to say that we did it!
If you want to end your trip with one last fun thing before heading back into Oregon you should stop at Ocean World in Crescent City. It is a small aquarium where you are taken on a guided tour. You start off at the touch and feel tank tide pool, where you can hold starfish and touch sea anemones. You then head down to a big aquarium to watch sharks, sting rays, and seals swim around. Then they take you up to the shark tank where you can touch a real life shark, it was pretty awesome. When we were there we were also lucky enough to see baby sharks…they were so cute. To end our visit to Ocean World we watched Cora the seal and her friends do a bunch of tricks. I think we all agreed that, that was our favorite part!
We eat lunch at one of our favorite eateries, Chart Room or North Coast Grill where they have superb chowder and fish and chips at either one. And then to top it all off, we stop at Crescent Beach for one last hurrah and to say goodbye to the ocean. It is a perfect little spot for the kids to dig in the sand, look for treasures, and for us to take one last walk.
As we get back on the road we are always a little sad to leave the beach. It’s one of our favorite places to be as a family, making memories, spending lots of time playing together. We have already created a list of places to visit when we head back because we can’t stay away too long, it is what helps us keep our sanity and clear our minds.
If you decide to take on this awesome adventure, and camp at Gold Bluffs, there are a few things you should know:
There is a chance for bears to visit you, so you have to keep your campsite crumb clean, that means you cannot leave one scrap of food out including coolers. The park rangers make sure you are aware of the risk, and you even have to sign that you understand.
There are showers, but they are freezing cold. I don’t want to scare you away but be prepared.
Bring clothes for warm and cold weather. We have been there when it is overcast the whole time or it can be warm and sunny.
One thing I can promise you is that this trip is a one of a kind experience that you will not forget. Our kids love it and the vicinity to the beach is well worth the small sacrifices.
If you want to go, reservations go fast, so you will need to plan. Here is the link to reserve and for other information.
These are the places we like to visit in Northern California. What are some of yours? We are always looking for new places to explore!!