Avenue of the Giants AveGiants_1280x642_1_1

Avenue of the Giants

Avenue of the Giants
Drive an unforgettable route through towering redwoods

Yes, there are taller redwoods in California. But the soaring trees lining this stretch of U.S. 101 seem plenty tall enough, creating a dramatic wall of enormous russet trunks rocketing skyward as you wind through the forest.

Some of the route’s 32 miles/56 kilometers passes through the impressive stands protected within Humboldt Redwoods State Park—and you’ll be missing something special if you don’t take the time to walk along its fern-lined paths, and learn about these remarkable trees and their history in the informative museum.

Aside from the park and the sheer beauty of the drive, there are other historic finds along the way, such as the lookalike cottages in the tiny town of Scotia, once a booming “company town” for the local lumber company. And there are a handful of gift shops with tables made out of redwood burls, and folksy attractions that can add a kitschy charm to your visit. Order an espresso in the famous One-Log House (we know it’s famous because it says so right on its sign) and the privately owned (in other words, there’s a fee) Shrine Drive-Thru Tree. This is the kind of stuff that it really is fun to buy a bumper sticker and say you did it when you get back home.

Avenue of the Giants NC_DuncansCove_Seeff_1280x642_sized_downsized
Tai Power Seeff

Northern California

Discover the North Coast

Avenue of the Giants vca_maps_northcoast
11
November
Average (°C)
Sept - Nov
17°
High
7°
Low
Dec - Feb
12°
High
5°
Low
Mar - May
14°
High
6°
Low
June - Aug
16°
High
10°
Low

Romance finds a home in this idyllic coastal region, where ocean fog rolls in from the ocean to blanket hushed redwood forests, and whales spout offshore. Along the coast, artists set up their easels to paint scenes of crashing surf and whitewashed cottages wrapped in rose filled gardens.

Each year, from December to May, look to the sea to witness roughly 15,000 gray whales swimming south for the summer.

It’s also a place where a new generation of farmers and winemakers focus on preserving the land as well as producing amazing food and wine. Favourite escapes include the romantic hamlet of Mendocino, roughly a 3-hour drive up the coast from San Francisco, and Eureka, a former logging town 2 hours further north, and the gateway to breath-taking Redwoods National and State Parks.

Avenue of the Giants VC_Klamath_Stock_RM_B3XYCF_1280x640
Clint Farlinger/Alamy

Klamath

Redwoods, salmon, and California’s largest tribe all thrive in this small North Coast town

Klamath is so far north that many people assume this tiny town is in Oregon, not California. Set along its...

Avenue of the Giants VCW_D_NC_T5_3274826312_b09df578ae_o_0
Clear Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake within California, is the oldest lake in North America and possibly the world.
SPECIAL FEATURE
From Gold Rush history to 8th wonders of the world, visit these favorites

If there was ever a box of chocolates—and all of them delicious—it’s the rich collection of natural treasures, fascinating...

Avenue of the Giants McWayFalls_JPB_SP_preview_686x885
Amy Meredith/Flickr
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.
John Muir
Avenue of the Giants VCW_D_NC_T2_MendoHeadlands_KG
Kodiak Greenwood

Spotlight: Mendocino

Avenue of the Giants vca_maps_northcoast
Discover a coastal paradise with ridiculously fresh seafood, amazing wine, and craft beer

With its dramatic ocean-bluff setting overlooking a steel-blue sea, this coastal hamlet is an obvious magnet for artists, romantics and...

Avenue of the Giants NC_winecountry_Manley_1280x642
Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

North Coast Wine Country

Slip away to some of the state’s most peaceful vineyards

From quiet vineyards surrounded by lush redwood forests along the Mendocino Coast, to the sun-drenched rolling hills of rugged Lake County,...

Avenue of the Giants VCW_D_NC_T6-Wine & Dine_Seeff_NCA0805
Tai Power Seeff

Wine & Dine in the North Coast

Sample hyper-local foods from land and sea, plus amazing beers and wines

The North Coast might just be the perfect place to eat. Few other places in the world can offer such a harmonious blend of chefs, farmers,...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Get the inside scoop on California's most celebrated commodity

With more than 3,000 wineries statewide, California lets you sample award-winning wines almost anywhere you go. These classic and up-and-coming wine roads—some too packed with wineries to tackle...

Avenue of the Giants Grapes_WineRoads_SpecialFeature_preview_686x885
Temecula Valley by Kodiak Greenwood
SPECIAL FEATURE
Celebrate the seasonal bounty and quirky art-fuelled character of the North Coast

You can learn a lot about a place at its local festivals. Consider the Kinetic Grand Championship, a cosmically silly three-day battle between human-powered works of art (imagine a speeding dragon...

Avenue of the Giants VCW_D_NC_T4_BrendanMcGuianIMG_8280_sized_vertical
Avenue of the Giants FF_VCW_D_NC_T1_RedwoodNP_Manley_0
The Humboldt County Fair began in 1896 and is the oldest running county fair in California.
Avenue of the Giants VCW_D_NC_T7_520625157_0b857da159_o
Humboldt County CVB

Ferndale

Visit a Victorian village where time stands still

A fairy story brought to life, this remote village features carefully preserved Victorian-era homes, a visual and architectural feast. On a...

May

Creativity, contraptions and costumes—those are the mantras for this wacky three-day Memorial Day weekend (last weekend in May) event on a wild stretch of the North Coast. Dubbed the 'triathalon...

The Kinetic Grand Championship on California's North Coast
Erik Fitzpatrick/Flickr
California's North Coast
The Skunk Train on California's North Coast
Courtesy of Skunk Train

Skunk Train

Ride a historic train through soaring coastal redwoods

Originally built in 1885 to transport redwood logs from the rugged countryside to the coast, the...

Avenue of the Giants EurekaCarsonMansion.CourtesyRedwoods.info_
Humboldt County CVB

Eureka

Nature and culture merge in an art-fuelled Victorian seaport

This lively seaport town, the largest coastal city between San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, has split-personality charm: a sense of history in...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Sample ultra-fresh, hyper-local, and downright amazing

When you come to California, come hungry. This is a state that really knows how to cook. Amazing and innovative chefs sprinkled with Michelin stars work with local farms and artisanal food...

Avenue of the Giants Preview_GeorgesCove_FishTaco_686x885_2
George's at the Cove
Avenue of the Giants CoastalRocks_FortBragg_LH_1280x642
Lucas Himovitz

Fort Bragg

Rough-and-tumble lumber town morphs into a top coastal find

With its original roots as a military garrison and then a gritty lumber town, Fort Bragg skirted under the radar of most visitors. But now—perhaps...

November

Winter rains signal the beginning of the North Coast’s astounding mushroom season. Celebrate the harvest of one of the region’s most loved bounties—and a few other products of the libation variety...

Chefs at work at Feast Mendocino
Brendan McGuigan
The North Coast region of California
Avenue of the Giants FF_GlassBeach_FortBragg_LH
While now a beautiful coastal treasure, Glass Beach initially began in the late 1940s as a place where locals would toss their trash, including glass bottles.

Wild North Coast

Avenue of the Giants vc_ca101_fiveamazingthings_crescentcitysmithriver_videostill_1280x640
Vacationland

5 Amazing Things to Do in Crescent City

This North Coast town is home to awe-inspiring forests, river rapids, and good beer

Head to the tippy top of California’s northern coastline to see this sea-faring city with two lighthouses, redwoods, and an ever-changing wildlife...