For years, the California redwoods have attracted visitors who want to hike along fern-lined nature trails winding around thousand-year-old trees rivaling the Statue of Liberty in height. The Redwood National & State Park system, including three California State Parks–Prairie Creek Redwoods, Del Norte Coast Redwoods and Jedediah Smith Redwoods–preserves 45 percent of the world’s remaining old-growth forest, according to Humboldt Country’s travel website. Staying in hotels near the California redwoods makes access more convenient.
The Riverwood Inn in Phillipsville, California, built in 1937, survived the 1964 Eel River floods that destroyed smaller towns along the region’s iconic Avenue of the Giants. Rooms are simple and clean, but lack telephones and televisions. The owners advertise that there is a friendly ghost, perhaps a leftover traveler from Highway 101’s halcyon days, who bumps around the attic and hotel hallways. Guests can enjoy free coffee, communal fireplace, and a roomy front porch for relaxing in the evenings. The on-site El Rio Mexican Restaurant serves traditional Mexican fare, homemade tortillas, 30 types of tequila and oversize margaritas.
The Benbow Inn, located in Garberville, California near the Avenue of the Giants, blends history with romance for redwoods visitors. Touches like hand-painted doors by the hotel’s original owner, exposed beams, canopied four-poster beds and wood-burning fireplaces add to the romantic vibes, and guests can arrange trips to nearby black-sand beaches for abalone diving or remote hiking. The inn occasionally hosts a popular “Murder Mystery Dinner” package, while other programs can include complimentary redwood seedlings or bed & breakfast packages. At the on-site restaurant, try the locally foraged mushroom, gruyere and French onion soup or local eucalyptus-honey glazed organic chicken.
It’s possible to spend time in the redwoods without blowing your budget. The family-run Sherwood Forest Motel in Garberville, California, is located within nine miles of the Avenue of the Giants. The venue, located on 3.5 acres, offers basic amenities including a refrigerator and microwave, swimming pool and Jacuzzi, and patio for barbecuing. One pet per room is permitted, and there’s a tennis court one block away. The Bigfoot Motel, located in Willow Creek within the Trinity National Forest, offers one, two and three-bed rooms with kitchenette options. Check out “The Bigfoot Exhibit” at the Willow Creek-China Flat museum to see photos, casts and research about the furry beast.
Part of exploring the California redwoods is spending time in nature. The Tsewenaldin Inn (pronounced Say-wen-aldin) located in Hoopa, California within the Six Rivers National Forest, is run by the Hoopa Valley Indian Tribe and overlooks the Trinity River. Amenities include a pool and hot tub, access to fishing trails and the adjacent Hoopa Tribal Museum. Some rooms feature balcony views of the Trinity River, and you can book tours or rafting trips through the hotel. The Lucky Bear Casino is within walking distance from the Tsewenaldin Inn.
- redwood sun image by Dennis Carrigan from Fotolia.com