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You will find The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park situated in central California near the state’s coastline. The forest spans over 10,223 acres and offers stunning views of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The state park's best known for its incredible collection of redwoods and Douglas firs.
The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park was named after Nisene Marks, who bought the land in hopes of finding oil. However, the grounds were later given to the state so it could become a preserved area. The area tends to be somewhat hot year-round, although strong breezes from the sea often blow through.
Park-goers will discover many outdoor activities to do while at The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, and one is hiking. The park is full of unique pathways that wind through the grounds. A few hikers can trek down include the Loma Prieta and Bridge Loop Trail, Bridge Creek Trail, and Porter Trail. Along the way, you’ll be able to view ancient redwoods, spruce trees, and plenty of stunning flora.
Birdwatching is yet another thing to try. Thanks to the forest’s vast size, an impressive amount of species nest in it. A few birdwatchers might see while here include owls, woodpeckers, warblers, thrushes, hermits, and flycatchers. One of the best places to see birds here is on The Incline, a trail that was once a railroad bed. During the late spring and early summer, you might also catch a glimpse of rare purple martins flying overhead.
Visitors could also grab their cameras and to do some wildlife photography. The park is packed with a variety of wildlife, such as salamanders, woodrats, and mountain lions. In the summer, the forest is filled with colorful butterflies floating between the trees. Besides animals, you can also capture some of the forest’s interesting plants, like mushrooms, ferns, wild strawberries, and osoberries.
Should you like to book an RV in Santa Cruz County, you’ll discover quite a few places to do so at. One option is the Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort. Overlooking the San Lorenzo River, this travel trailer camping spot has amenities such as restrooms, cable, 30, 50 amp, and WiFi. Campers also have access to a laundry room, playground, pool, and fishing areas on the river.
Another RV campground situated nearby is Santa Vida RV Park. This motorhome campground rests within a 23-acre forest and offers 45 RV sites. Some amenities provided include electric, showers, and restrooms. This pet-friendly spot also has hiking trails.
There are numerous destinations situated near the state park that visitors to the area can stop by at. Less than 15 minutes away in Santa Cruz is the Santa Cruz Wharf. The wharf was built in 1914 and provides visitors breathtaking views of Monterey Bay. The Santa Cruz Wharf also has sea scopes that allow you to look out at the water where you might see sea lions playing. In addition to this, guests will find a bocce court, kayak rentals, and cruise ships situated by the wharf.
Drive your RV to Carmel-by-the-Sea to explore the Carmel Mission Basilica Museum. The museum is situated inside a historic church that was built in 1797 and is designed to teach guests more about the structure’s art and history. Some artifacts visitors might be able to view while here are frescoes, sculptures, and the Caravaca Cross. The museum is also home to hundreds of colonial-era books that were preserved in its library.
In San Jose, there’s Mission Peak. This summit overlooks Silicon Valley and is best known for its marker, which is one of the most famous attractions in the city. Visitors can climb up the peak where they’ll not only be able to see this iconic pole but get panoramic views of the surrounding area. This natural wonder is also bordered by various types of trees and plants, like oaks, sycamores, chamise, and sagebrush.
An hour away in Pescadero is Pigeon Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1871 and is one of the tallest lighthouses on the West Coast. Visitors can tour the lighthouse where they’ll be able to see its large Fresnel lens and climb up its swirling staircase. If you’d like to explore its interior, keep in mind you do need to make reservations ahead of time. While here, visitors can also explore the area surrounding it, which is filled with boulders and tide pools that serve as the home to starfish, crabs, mussels, and sea anemones. You might also be able to see whales or seals passing by.