North of San Francisco and located in the northwest corner of California sits the area known as the Redwood Coast. Most of this area is within the Humboldt County area. Nature lovers flock to this area to visit the Redwood National Park with its towering and majestic redwood trees. Numerous small communities make up the area and each offers its own vibe and local attractions. Some towns sit along the shoreline of the Pacific Ocean while others are more inland and close to national parks, state parks, and lakes where you and your family enjoy a variety of activities. Here’s a quick guide to the top 12 Redwood Coast Vacation rental locations.

1. Orick

redwood trees
Source: Flickr/Ka!zen

When you choose the quiet community of Orick, you are just minutes away from the Redwood National Park. Take the entire family on a hike along the Lady Bird Johnson Grove trail that stretches for less than 1.5 miles and takes you through a valley and groves of redwood trees. Enjoy a moderate hike along the Trillium Falls Loop Trail for stunning views of the waterfall.

2. Trinidad

trinidad memorial lighthouse
Source: Flickr/Kirt Edblom

Take in the breathtaking coastal views as you travel along Highway 101 to reach your vacation rental in the coastal town of Trinidad. Spend a day on Trinidad State Beach walking in the sand, chasing the surf, and flying kites, or stroll out to the Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse. Visit Trinidad Head for the views of the ocean in the distance and a day of hiking.

3. Willow Creek

willow creek
Source: Flickr/melgupta

Fish on the banks of Trinity River when you stay in Willow Creek. After catching some fish, stop by one of the local farm stands for fresh veggies, and take them back to your vacation rental for a farm-to-table meal that your family will always remember. For a truly unique experience, pack the family in the car on a rainy afternoon for a trip to the Willow Creek-China Flat Museum with its Bigfoot exhibit.

4. Arcata

arcata california
Source: Flickr/fishermansdaughter

As a college town, Arcata offers your family a youthful vibe and a town filled with trendy shopping, eats, and an active bar scene. Leave the downtown area behind on an evening stroll through the residential neighborhoods with stunning historic Victorian homes. Keep your voices low when you stop by Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary for the best bird watching in the area or check out the sand dunes at Lanphere Dunes with a guided tour.

5. Blue Lake

redwood park
Source: Flickr/BRIEF

Slow down and enjoy spending time together as a family in Blue Lake. If you arrive in the summer, check out the schedule for the Mad River Festival. In the evenings, you and your hubby can stop by the Blue Lake Casino for an evening of gambling or to catch a show. Take a tour of the Mad River Brewing Company and enjoy the sunshine in its outdoor beer garden.

6. Eureka

eureka boardwalk
Source: Flickr/Stephen Colebourne

Enjoy a more big city vibe when you select a vacation rental in Eureka with its shops, museums, galleries, and restaurants. As you make your way around town be sure to notice all the renovated and historic residential and commercial Victorian architecture. In the evenings, wander around Old Town Eureka with its shops and places to eat, and after dinner, take a walk along the Eureka Boardwalk to look at the wildlife and fishing boats returning from a day at sea.

7. Ferndale

ferndale california
Source: Flickr/Don Graham

Step back in time and enjoy the surrounding farmland with a vacation rental in the town of Ferndale. Spend your days biking around the “Cream City” with its historic buildings, or stop by the Ferndale Museum to learn more about the history of the area.

8. Loleta

deer
Source: Flickr/Amit Patel

In Wiyot Indian words, the town Loleta means “A pleasant place at the end of the water.” When you arrive, you can enjoy the views of farmland and local dairies. Stop by the Loleta Cheese Factory to watch the workers making cheese, sample a couple of varieties, and have a picnic in the attached gardens. Take an afternoon walk along the trails at the Humboldt Bay Wildlife Refuge. It’s easy for the whole family since most of the trails are flat.

9. Fortuna

heartwood
Source: Flickr/Kirt Edblom

Just 30 minutes of Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Fortuna welcomes visitors with plenty of outdoor activities. From here, explore the Avenue of the Giants and Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Each Tuesday, the town center comes alive as the local farmer’s market with fresh produce and other farm goods.

10. Garberville

prairie creek
Source: Flickr/docentjoyce

If your family loves hiking, fishing, and exploring the great outdoors, a vacation rental in Garberville puts you close to the action. Hop on your bike and explore the town’s shops and restaurants, or load the family in the car for a day trip to the Avenues of the Giants or the coastal town of Shelter Cove.

11. McKinleyville

mad river
Source: Flickr/Bob Doran

If you plan to fly into the Redwood Coast, then the best place to make your home base is the town of McKinleyville. It’s the location of the Eureka-Arcata airport. You and your family can enjoy a stroll on the beach at Clam Beach, and take photos of all the lovely flora and fauna at the Azalea Reserve.

12. Shelter Cove

point reyes lighthouse
Source: Flickr/Dennis Jarvis

Sheltered along the coast, Shelter Cove provides your family with the peaceful vacation that you need to relax and let the stress go. Enjoy the rugged, twisty, curvy drive up a steep stretch of highway as you climb from Garberville to this isolated vacation spot. On the Lost Coast, spend a day at the Black Sand Beach or visit the Cape Mendocino Lighthouse.