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California Redwoods

A night in the mighty California Redwoods

After a beautiful drive along the famous US Highway 1 and detouring through the forests of the mighty Californian Redwoods of the West Coast USA, we had finally arrived at the Big Basin Redwoods State Park – California’s oldest state park situated in the heart of the Santa Cruz mountains.

Here we were surrounded by thousands of majestic trees, which all stood tall like giants looming above us with a certain aura about them – as though they were wise old souls looking down on us. Some of these giants are more than 50 feet and as tall as the Statue of Liberty. At 1,000 to 2,500 years old, some even pre-date the Roman Empire!

The deep red tones of the bark, coupled with the bright blue sky and lush green foliage was a kaleidoscope of magical colour. Stepping out of the car, we all felt so small and insignificant in comparison to these marvels of nature.

We were visiting for a night and staying at one of the Big Basin tent cabins managed by the California Park Company, so had to pick up our key and a few supplies and then we were off, on our very own USA camping adventure among these iconic redwood trees.

We had heard so much about this place and so had decided to add it to our six-week roadtrip itinerary, as the park also offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, lush waterfalls and boasts a fascinating natural and cultural history. Not to mention it was a welcome escape from the Californian heatwave we had experienced, as the tall redwoods provided a shady getaway from the inland heat.

A night in the mighty California Redwoods

I'm not sure who was more excited – the big kids in the front or the little kids in the back – as we drove to our accommodation in the woods. We were greeted by a tiny timber cabin, not dissimilar to the one you see in the American classic Bigfoot movie, Harry and the Hendersons.

Surrounded by beautiful towering trees, we were provided with everything we needed for our camping adventure including an outside fire pit and toilet, a little wood heater, a gas cooker, lantern, cooking utensils and two doublebeds inside. As we didn't bring along any of our own camping equipment with us from Australia, this was the perfect way to go camping in a beautiful place with the kids.

While the cabins only look reasonably small from the outside, they were big enough for everything that we needed – especially since you'll be spending most of the time hiking and exploring outdoors anyway. There was plenty room for the four of us and all our bags, plus we were able to still fit Jasper's travel cot in.

There was no power or Wi-Fi available, (allowing us to have a welcome digital detox for two days) and the only alarm clock available is the resident woodpeckers, who noisily appear each morning, and the busy squirrels fossicking around for food.

Once we had unpacked, we headed off for a wander and stumbled across a group of kids and other families, cooking marshmallows and making the all-American s’mores with the resident camp ranger as they shared stories around the fire. The kids were all checking out the famous banana slugs that were like big, fat worms – only yellow!

As the night fell, we headed back to our cabin and tucked the kids into bed and sat around our own campfire watching the ‘wild animals of the night’ shyly appear from the woods, including deer and raccoons.

It was such a memorable experience and I highly recommend it for families travelling with young kids. The perfect place for camping, hiking, backpacking, and picnicking and with over 80 miles of trails on 18,000 acres, there is so much to explore!

A night in the mighty California Redwoods

Avid travellers, dreamers, idealists, husband and wife, Mum and Dad to Daisy and life enthusiasts… Matt and Meg, are thrilled to share with you their Travel Tales. Stemming from their love of travel and passion for hitting the long open road and embarking on high spirited adventures, they share their mini breaks, weekend getaways, mid-week overnighters, long overseas journey…Matt, Meg and Daisy never tire of exploring new territory, immersing themselves in different cultures and ways of living, meeting locals and other travellers and embracing the great outdoors.

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