Northern California Sights & Attractions

Many vacations pass through Northern California without stopping, roaring up and down the I-5 corridor. The others passing through are taking a more leisurely route on the coast highway, stopping at the big sights like Redwood National Park. With some planning, a Northern California vacation is possible, giving a good variety of activities. The biggest attraction is the rugged California coastline, but there are other sights further inland.
United States Travel - California Sights & Attractions


Although not a tourist destination, you will likely pass through the city. Stop for lunch and see some of the city attractions. At the north end of the central Sacramento Valley, Redding is located between the Cascades and Sierra Nevadas, with the majestic Mount Shasta nearby. Redding makes a good basecamp if you are outdoorsy planning to do activities in the surrounding mountains. The Sacramento River passes through town with several parks along the edges. The Sundial Bridge is a pedestrian causeway over the river in the heart of town. It connects Turtle Bay Exploration Park to the north side of the river where more pedestrian trails are located.

Mount Shasta

Not the highest California peak but certainly the most impressive, Mount Shasta towers over the freeway as you pass by. In summer, the area around this volcano caters to tourists, hikers and climbers. The small town called Shasta at the base of Shasta has a unique charm.
Sacramento River Sundial Bridge Park in Redding City of Eureka City of Eureka Humboldt Bay City of Eureka Carson Mansion Redwood Forest Driving through a tree Mendocino California Coast with fog Redwood Forest California Coast California Coast Paul Bunyan Paul Bunyan drive-through tree Backpacking in Redwoods del norte coast redwoods map northern california map

Lake Shasta

Lake Shasta is where Californians go to recreate and get away from the heat further south. The lake is a popular houseboating destination as well as other water sport activities. The dam that holds Lake Shasta is the second largest concrete structure in the United States, not to be missed.


Eureka is the biggest town along the quiet Northern California coastline. It is situated along Humboldt Bay, where many fisherman boats find retreat and home. City sights include a historic scenic waterfront with many artist shops, while nearby outdoor activities include kayaking, hiking, fishing and biking.

Redwood National Park & State Parks

Redwoods are the tallest trees in the world and nearly half of the remaining old growth coastal redwoods are in the local area parks. They can live to be 2000 years old and grow to over 360 feet tall. There are three California state parks (Prairie Creek Redwoods, Del Norte Coast Redwoods & Jedediah Smith Redwoods) and Redwood National Park that comprise the Redwood National & State Park system.

Tour the Avenue of the Giants

The Avenue of the Giants is the most popular scenic drive with its outstanding display of giant trees in the California redwood belt. The drive is a 31 mile portion of old Highway 101, through Humboldt Redwoods State Park and runs parallel to the new Highway 101. You will find picnicking, camping, swimming, fishing, biking, rafting all nearby. Most go on at least one hike, all well signed off the main road, or visit a visitors center. Along the Avenue of the Giants, there are a number of small towns including Pepperwood, Redcrest, Weott, Myers Flat, Miranda and Phillipsville. Each one has small gift shops to buy redwood memorabilia.
Mt. Shasta Climb
The Carson Mansion
City of Eureka
City of Eureka
Sacramento River in Redding
Sundial Bridge
City of Eureka waterfront
Park in Redding
Backpacking in Redwood National Park
Another drive-through tree
Driving through a tree
Redwood Forest trails
Redwood Forest trails
Humboldt Bay
Driving the California Coast near Mendocino
Driving the California Coast
Driving the California Coast
Driving the California Coast with fog
Paul Bunyan and Babe near Klamath