Northern California Coast

Time for another road trip in the Chinook, our favorite mode of travel.  We've been busy the last few months launching our new mobile bar business, Petite Street.  We also added another member to our family, our puppy Maple. This was her first time on the road and we were both excited to see how she liked it. We packed up the Chinook and headed west to the coast.

Our first stop on our roadtrip up the coast was at Van Damme State Park in Mendocino. This is one of our favorite campgrounds. The campground is across the street from the beach and is underneath an amazing canopy of trees completely covered in moss. It is the greenest place we have ever been. The campsites are very secluded, especially further back into the gully and some sit next to the creek that winds through the campground.

We spent the whole next day here and it ended up being one of the best days of our lives. We started off the morning with some hot coffee and then took Maple on her first hike. The Fern Canyon trail starts at the end of this campground near our campsite. You are surrounded by plant life as you follow the creek through the dense forest.

The rising valley walls are covered in ferns and the trees here have grown tall so they can reach the sparse amount of sunlight available.

After our hike we packed up and headed to the beach for the day. It was a perfectly sunny day and Maple's first time at the ocean. When the sun began to set Jeff set up the tripod to get a group photo. He turned on the timer and ran over. When he got there Angela noticed something shiny on Maple's collar. It was a ring! Jeff then got down on one knee and proposed! It was such a perfect moment and one neither of us will ever forget!

Tip: You can also camp at Van Damme State Park right on the beach across the street if you are in a camper. Just back up into one of the beachfront parking spots and pay at the Ranger Station. There are even some fire pits on the beach you can use.

The next morning we went to downtown Mendocino and had a nice brunch with some mimosas to celebrate before continuing down the coast. We passed through Fort Bragg which is home to one of the most unique beaches in the world, Glass Beach.

The next campground we stayed at was Westport Campground which is directly on the beach. If you are looking for beachfront camping this is a perfect spot. The black sand beach here is very long and just out your back door.

Maple has a new love for running on beaches and chewing on driftwood.

It rained this evening so we spent it tucked inside the Chinook playing cards and talking about how amazing yesterday's engagement was and trying out the word "fiance."

Back on the road again and heading toward the Redwoods! Highway 1 was closed right above Westport due to a mudslide so we decided to take an off road called Branscomb Road to reach Highway 101. This ended up being a great idea. This road winded through the forest and the thick mist made it hard to see around each turn. Eventually we popped out exactly where we wanted.

On the way to our next campground we checked out the Chandelier drive-thru tree which was amazing.

We stayed the night at Standish Hickey State Park. This campground was overgrown with gorgeous trees, moss, and ferns.  We cooked a delicious dinner over the fire and enjoyed being out in nature.

The next day we drove the Chinook down the Avenue of the Giants in Redwood National Park. We were amazed by these towering trees. These ancient groves have been around for millions of years and we liked to imagine the dinosaurs roaming around these same types of trees in the Jurassic Age. These beautiful red bark giants can grow to be up to 35 stories tall!

You can definitely feel something magical as you wander through a Redwood Grove.

We camped at Burlington Campground which was phenomenal and one of our favorite campground yet! During our stay here the Chinook was literally sandwiched between two giant redwood trees. If you've ever dreamed of sleeping underneath the Redwoods this campground is the perfect choice.

Tip: Across the street and through the forest you will find the Eel River which has sandy beaches and turquoise water. In the summer you can swim here.

After our time in the Redwoods it was time to head back to the coast. On our way we stopped at the Victorian Village of Ferndale. This picturesque little town is a hidden gem and definitely worth a stop.

We stopped in Eureka and ate at Diver Bar and Grill which has some incredible artisanal wood fire pizzas. Afterwards we stopped at the Lost Coast Brewery for a pint. Sometimes you need a break from camp food.

The last stop on our road trip was Patrick's Point State Park. This park is situated on the cliffs above the coast. There are multiple beaches, trails, and nature walks you can explore in this 1 square mile park. Unfortunately it was raining almost the entire time we were here, but that is to be expected this time of year.

We've decided on our next road trip we are going to start here and continue up the coast. This area of the world is unmatched with it's towering Redwoods and wild coastline. If you haven't already put the Northern California Coast on the top of your travel list.