An excellent way to beat the summer heat is to get as close to the ocean and shady trees as possible. You can find all of this in Del Norte County, the northwestern-most county in California.
During the hot summer months, this area of the state stays cool and foggy on the coast, and just a tad warmer on the interior. Not only are there amazing ocean views, laid back towns, and plenty of campgrounds, but this area is famous for its massive old-growth Coast Redwoods as well as sightings of Bigfoot.
The best way to access the more remote Del Norte is via Interstate 5 and U.S. Route 199 from Oregon or U.S. Route 101 from the San Francisco Bay area. Many of the roads through the county are narrow or winding and some don’t recommend longer trailers. However, staying close to these byways will keep your rig safe.
Some of the best campgrounds for exploring the area are located very close to the Pacific Ocean or within the redwoods. The Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park campground has 80+ sites and can accommodate longer trailers. The campground features access to the Smith River, restrooms and pay showers, interpretive programs, and numerous hiking trails. However, the park does not have hookups.
For RVers with power needs, just down the road is the Redwood Meadows RV Resort. While low on amenities, the campground has both RV and tent spots as well as plenty of sunshine if it gets too cool. They also offer long-term stays. The Redwoods RV Resort is conveniently located near Crescent City and has a more forested setting.
Both these campgrounds are close to the small town of Crescent City and the redwoods of Howland Hill Road. Trailers are not recommended down this rugged dirt road through the forest, but there are plenty of hiking trails including the well-known Boy Scout Tree Trail.
The federal areas of the Redwood National & State Parks only allow backcountry camping, but there are still some amazing areas to explore. Pick up a permit from one of the park stations to visit the Tall Trees Grove and see some of the tallest trees in the world.
Due to concerns about vandalism, the actual tallest tree in the world (named Hyperion) is kept hidden. The parking lot for the grove does not accommodate RVs over 21 feet or vehicles towing trailers. For some ocean views and miles of dunes, visit the Tolowa Dunes State Park north of Crescent City.
Like Hyperion, other creatures in this rugged area also stay hidden. Each store you visit will have plenty of Bigfoot memorabilia to take home. This is due to the 1964 footage apparently shot of the hairy biped (in nearby Humboldt County).
Several sightings of Bigfoot have since been reported in the county, but so far the creature’s existence has not been confirmed. Just in case, it’s still best to lock your RV door at night.