This post is part of the Sunshine Kids California Blog Hop. See below for details and more kid-friendly California posts!
If you love a budget-friendly mix of roadside attractions and natural awe, northern California’s Highway 101, from Leggett to Scotia, offers a wonderful stretch of road that feels like something from a slower era.
Heading north, start at the town of Leggett, about 175 miles north of San Francisco, and the Drive-Through Chandelier Tree. Yes, you really can drive (and walk, if it’s not too crowded) though this 315-foot-tall coastal redwood tree.
The tree was believed to have been carved in the 1930s. The park has a lake and quiet picnic spots.
Just north of Leggett is the roadside attraction, Confusion Hill , which offers a miniature train ride in summer and lots of old-school believe-it-or-not-style physical features that play with your idea of gravity and level ground.
A tourist attraction since 1949, Confusion Hill is listed as a California State Point of Historical Interest. It’s both modest and kitsch and full of low-key fun.
Travel another 25 miles or so North on Highway 101 to the entrance of the Avenue of the Giants, a separate, stunning, road that parallels the 101 for 31 beautiful miles, from Garberville to Scotia. This stretch, also known as State Route 254, is home to some of the oldest-growth redwood trees in the world, the oldest of which may be as old as 2,000 years. (Most redwoods live 500-700 years.)
Originally a stagecoach road, the Avenue of the Giants was officially dedicated in 1960. It seemed that the new, high-speed Highway 101 allowed the Redwood route to become, in the California governor’s words,
a serene drive where kids and families can cross the road at will, where traffic moves at a far slower pace.
It’s amazing to be in a tunnel of truly majestic redwoods. There are more opportunies to experience world-famous drive-through coast redwoods. There are also opportunities for hiking, strolling, playing, fishing, swimming and camping.
The whole area is rich with more wonderful and strange tourist stops, like the One Log House and Hobbiton, USA, both in Phillipsville, the nearby Legend of Bigfoot attraction. The road is further dotted with eatieries, small motels, and burled-redwood artisan shops. It’s worth meandering the stopping in various places. We’ve ridden this highway in summer and winter and never find it crowded.
I highly recommend driving the Avenue of the Giants and Highway 101, perhaps in conjunction with a trip to San Francisco, or the northern CA or southern OR coast.
The Save the Redwoods League offers fun activities to help families explore the Avenue of the Giants.
Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman, wikipedia
This post is part of the Sunshine Kids California Kids Blog Hop. I’m thrilled to participate. Please join in!
Link up your kid-centered posts about California: places to visit, books to read, crafts to create, recipes to try, and so on.
The blog hop will run from August 19 to September 2.
Thanks to Akane of Juggling With Kids for the beautiful photo!
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