Redwoods National Park
After a 6-hour drive from Crater Lake, we finally arrived at Gold Bluff campground around 5:30 p.m. Gold Bluff is a first come, first serve campground that has only 24 sites, and no way of telling if it's full. I spoke with a gal at Prairie Creek campground, about 45 minutes from Gold Bluff, and she assured me if that was full, they had plenty of room at Prairie Creek. So we decided to wing it, and I'm so glad we did.
The drive to get to Gold Bluff beach is such an adventure! The road takes you up and down a 6-mile, single-lane dirt road that takes about 30 minutes, twisting and winding through towering redwoods. It was like driving through a jungle! (The kids had actually just finished watching Jurassic Park, looked up, and were blown away by the resemblance.) At the bottom, you pop out of the woods and there it is - Pacific Ocean! We spotted elk having dinner along the dirt road that follows the beach to our campground.
To our surprise, there were still quite a few camping spots available. (Yes!) We bought a couple loads of firewood from the campsite host, and quickly set up tents while the kids went to the beach. Gold Bluff has clean restrooms, a couple solar heated showers, and big bear boxes right at each campsite. After backpacking the Tetons the week prior, we felt like we were living a life of luxury!
What a beautiful place, and completely different than what we'd been exploring. Not another soul around (besides a few other campers) for miles in both directions.
We chased waves until dark, then put on headlamps to cook dinner on the camp stoves. Made smores around the campfire, found a couple constellations, and even got a little homework done before retreating to our tents one by one. Pacific waves crashed in the background all night.
The next morning we got up, started coffee and headed to the beach. We spent the next couple hours catching an amazing sunrise... fog lifting off the ocean and cliffs, redwoods towering overhead, ocean waves still crashing in the background.
We've thoroughly enjoyed the sand under our feet, and every single one of us could stay out here for a good week, but we've only 31 days, and are ready to check out our next park. We'll see you again, Redwoods!
Sopping wet tents from camping on the Pacific Coast with the Redwoods - check.