fun to do kids redwood national park california   Travel for Kids
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Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

This state park covers a large area, with old-growth redwoods, sparkling streams, stellar Fern Canyon, sandy beaches. Herds of Roosevelt elk often can be seen in the meadows and along the beach.

Prairie Creek Redwood State Park Visitor Center – Stop into the visitor center to pick up maps and information about the redwoods, plus touch table with antlers and whale vertebrae, and kid's nature books in the gift shop. Outside are picnic tables.

    On our most recent visit, Roosevelt elk were grazing in the meadow next to the visitor center, It was mating season, several stags clashed their antlers, and munched and berries in the trees (video above).

Prairie Creek Trail – Step outside the visitor center, and follow the sign for Prairie Creek trail. It's a largely level trail, full of ferns and shady redwoods, towering high in the sky. Keep walking as far as the kids like, or turn off onto the Foothill Trail, walk by the Big Tree (304 ft high, 1,500 years old), and make a loop back to the visitor center where you started.

    Newton B. Drury Parkway – Take a drive on this road through the redwoods, past walls of ferns on either side (really incredible). All along the way, there are turnouts and trails. Just start down any of these trails into the forest, and see where it leads.

Fern Canyon

      To reach Fern Canyon, it's over ten miles off Hwy 101, including seven miles down a gravel dirt road with stream crossings, but it's well worth visiting.
    It's just a short walk to the opening of the canyon, covered with walls of five-finger ferns, glittering mini-waterfalls cascading off mossy green cliffs, Home Creek flowing through the bottom of the canyon.
      Walk up the canyon as far as kids feel like exploring. The canyon is just spectacular, and if it feels like a setting for Jurassic dinosaurs, it was a location in "The Lost World" movie.
      Tip: Best to wear water shoes, so kids can wade in the creek in low water season during the summer.
      To get to Fern Canyon, from the 101, take Davison Rd, which turns into Gold Bluffs Beach Rd., drive to the end of the gravel dirt road to the parking lot. Tip: In summer, Fern Canyon is very popular, and there are limited number of parking spots for the hike – go early the day.
      Picnic tables at the Fern Canyon parking lot, also Gold Bluffs Beach day use.
      Fern Canyon Loop Trail – For a longer hike, at the entrance to Fern Canyon, take a left and go up the James Irvine Trail, which follows above the canyon. At .5 mile, turn right onto the Fern Canyon trail, and follow the stairs down into the canyon, then hike out through the creek.
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