redwood coast
Prairie Creek Redwoods SP

This state park covers a large area, with old-growth redwoods, sparkling streams, stellar Fern Canyon, sandy beaches. Herds of Roosevelt elk often can be seen in the meadows and along the beach.

Prairie Creek Redwood State Park Visitor Center - Stop into the visitor center to pick up maps and information about the redwoods, plus touch table with antlers and whale vertebrae, and kid's nature books in the gift shop. Outside are picnic tables.
On our most recent visit, Roosevelt elk were grazing in the meadow next to the visitor center, It was mating season, several stags clashed their antlers, and munched and berries in the trees (video above)..
Newton B. Drury Parkway - Take a drive on this road through the redwoods, past walls of ferns on either side (really incredible). All along the way, there are turnouts and trails. Just start down any of these trails into the forest, and see where it leads.
Fern Canyon -
It's a bit of a drive to reach Fern Canyon, and 7 miles are down a gravel dirt road with stream crossings, but well worth it.
It's just a short walk to the opening of the canyon, covered with walls of five-finger ferns, glittering mini-waterfalls cascading off mossy green cliffs, Home Creek flowing through the bottom of the canyon.
Walk up the canyon as far as kids feel like exploring. The canyon is just spectacular, and if it feels like a setting for Jurassic dinosaurs, it was a location in "The Lost World" movie.
Tip: Best to wear water shoes, so kids can wade in the creek in low water season during the summer.
To get to Fern Canyon, from the 101, take Davison Rd, which turns into Gold Bluffs Beach Rd., drive to the end of the gravel dirt road to the parking lot.
Tip: There are a limited number of car parking spots for Fern Canyon. May 1 - September 30, 2022, a free parking reservation is required.
Picnic tables at the Fern Canyon parking lot, also Gold Bluffs Beach day use.

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