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Situated in Santa Cruz County, Big Basin Redwoods State Park was formed in 1902 and is considered to be one of the oldest state parks in California. This California Historic Landmark runs over 18,000 acres long and is known for its massive redwoods. It’s also home to various other trees, like conifers and oaks.
This state park contains numerous waterfalls and is home to many different species of birds, like egrets and acorn woodpeckers. Amphibians also enjoy the shady groves in the park, and visitors will find quite a few scurrying around. Because of its unique look, the park has been featured in many films, including Vertigo.
One point of interest at the state park is its Nature Museum. This museum was recently built and includes exhibits that tell of local natural history. It’s also just a quick drive away from the Rancho Del Oso Nature and History Center which tells more about how Spanish sailors once settled in the area during the 1600s.
On the southern section of the park (near Rancho Del Oso Nature and History Center), you could head over to Waddell Beach to hunt for shells or go surfing. The beach also features dunes and small wetlands. However, it can be very windy here, so you’ll need to be careful when exploring.
You could also go hiking through Big Basin Redwoods State Park. This state park features over 80 miles of trails with various landscapes and difficulties. For those who want something easy, you could hike the one-mile Redwood Loop Trail. This trail is filled with giant redwoods, including the famous Father of the Forest and the hollowed out Chimney Tree. The trail is also ADA-accessible. If you want something that's a bit more difficult, there’s the Berry Creek Falls Trail. This 11-mile trail has a high elevation and will take you by massive redwoods and four waterfalls.
Biking is also allowed through the park on some trails. Cyclists can ride down all fire roads as well as to the base of the Berry Creek Falls Trail. Each of these cycling trails vary in their elevations and scenery.
Big Basin Redwoods State Park camping is quite comfortable compared to a few surrounding options. The park has its own campground which features over 142 sites. Reservations are required to stay, and when you search for an RV rental in Santa Cruz County, you will see that RV's longer than 27 feet will not be permitted at this state park. Some amenities provided are restrooms, showers, fire pits, water, and a dump station.
Dogs are allowed in the park, although they need to be leashed at all times. The campground area also has a small camp store and gift shop which sells camping supplies and souvenirs. It also has an espresso bar where coffee and small snacks. This is a great place to go motorhome camping.
About an hour away in San Jose is the Winchester Mystery House. Built in the early 1900s, the mansion is known for its quirky architecture which is a mixture of Victorian and Queen Anne architectural styles. The structure has over 200 rooms and 10,000 windows. It also has courtyards, Victorian gardens, and a historic firearms museum. In addition to this, the house has a vintage arcade room that guests can play in.
In Santa Cruz, check out the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum. Created in 1989, this museum is dedicated to help inform guests about the local history of surfing and how it has had an impact on the state. You’ll be able to see vintage photographs and even old surfboards.
For those who would like to check out another state park, drive your RV rental about half an hour away to Castle Rock State Park. This park offers about 32 miles of trails for biking, horseback riding, and hiking. It offers high elevations which give you stunning views over the nearby forests. It also has geocaching features and historical interpretation sites. Keep in mind though that pets are not allowed in the park.
You could also take your rental RV on a journey to Palo Alto to check out the Hoover Tower. This 285-foot tower rests on the grounds of Stanford University and houses archives that Hoover once collected before he was elected president. In addition to checking out the exhibits, you could also head up to the top of the tower to get views of the surrounding area.
There are quite a few gas stations around the state park where you can easily fill your Big Basin Redwoods State Park RV rental. There are also various Mexican restaurants around which serve local specialties. If you want to check out some locally grown produce and goods, there are a few farmers markets, but they are about an hour or two away.