While I love Yosemite being in my backyard, Redwoods NP maybe one of my favorite parks. Travis and I discovered this gorgeous park in 2014 after moving to California and immediatly signed up for a short 5K run at a State Park near the National Park areas, and basically these are jointly managed parks by the California Park Service & the National Park Service. Anyways, its freaking amazing and I always leave in wonder. Trees as big as houses & older than the death of Christ. What could be more awe inspiring?
If trees are cool & you don’t mind slugs the color of bananas then Redwoods NP maybe you place. The visitor center at Prairie Creek park is packed full of park info and there are plenty of easy hikes to do. The first year we visited we hiked inside Prairie Creek then drove down to hike the Fern Canyon, a box canyon with fern growing on the walls. We then went down to the beach literally just right there from the parking lot.
In 2015, while visiting we hiked Damnation Trail. It wasn’t so bad going down the hike but coming back up all 1,000 feet of elevation over the course of 2 miles was exhausting and the hardest thing I’ve done physically besides a half marathon.
We’ve been back every year since living in California and love visiting, although the 6 hour drive does tend to be a bit exhausting.