Arcata Cottage & Redwood National Park
The dreamy dreamy North Coast of California
Airbnb Rating: 5.0 (FINALLY a rating I can agree with)
My Rating: 5,555
Location - Arcata, CA - 20 minutes south of Trinidad (the dreamiest town), an hour (give or take) to Redwood National and State Parks, and about a 5-hour drive from the Bay Area.
Studio cottage with SUPER comfy queen bed and pull-out sofa. Space can fit up to 3 people.
Situated on a 9 acre property with owners next door (still very private). Very cute lit pathway leads up steps through the garden to the cottage. Private covered deck and seasonal hammocks.
Property sits between redwoods and fields filled with neighbors' horses that you can watch from your window.
All artwork and some furniture created by Northern CA artists.
Mini heater, super stylish amenities, and a homemade huge Yahtzee game!
This is a newer Airbnb - the guest guide in the cottage says the family has been fixing it up for a while, restoring it from an old chicken coop (!) While it's plenty perfect as is, they have plans to plant a lavender garden and further groom the guest land - we'll definitely be back to see what they add over time.
What we did (besides play giant Yahtzee):
Visited Trinidad & Trinidad State Beach aka the most beautiful beach in the land. I cannot recommend this highly enough.
Got the biggest and best breakfast burrito I've had in my life at McIntosh Country Store (they also sell homemade brooms if you happen to be in the market for that).
Strolled through the cute town & plaza of downtown Arcata and browsed the shops.
Checked out all the nearby beaches on the coast including Houda Point, Moonstone Beach and Luffenholtz Beach.
Drove through part of the Avenue of the Giants on the way to and from Arcata - a beautiful drive through the Redwoods with tiny towns along the way selling souvenirs and Bigfoot merch.
REDWOOD NATIONAL & STATE PARKS
Redwood National Park is confusing. It's actually...like...4 or 5 different parks? There's Redwood NP, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods further north aaand maybe a few more. Regardless of the details, the whole area is absolutely stunning, and you can't choose a wrong part to visit. Here's what we did:
James Irvine Trail to Fern Canyon - this is part of Prairie Creek Redwoods. The signs say its 4.8 miles from the beginning of James Irvine to Fern Canyon, Alltrails says it's 10.7 miles total, and my phone said it was 5.3 miles each way so...who knows. The trial is incredible, weaving through huge redwoods and VERY green foliage and the most perfect smelling air.
Walked from Fern Canyon parking lot to Gold Bluffs Beach. It was EXTREMELY flooded and we waded through a bog and then through dune ponds to get there, but we had water shoes ready for Fern Canyon (I'll get to that) and honestly it was worth it.
Hiked Fern Canyon. This place was used as a filming location for Jurassic Park and is INSANE. I can't even describe it in proper words, so just check out the pictures. During part of the year there are wooden planks over the creek to walk on, but in the winter they flood and are removed. So, if you visit in the off-season, you'll need rain boots or water shoes as you're essentially walking through ankle high water. Some people were barefoot but because of the rocks it looked painful. Rain boots are probably best, but we didn't want to carry them for 10+ miles. Bring a washcloth to dry off your feet after and spare socks just in case!
The whole loop - James Irvine to Fern Canyon to Gold Bluffs Beach and back - was between 12 and 13 miles. The trail itself was moderate, the only tough part about it is the distance. It took us 7 hours total. Bring snacks!
We saw WILD ELK! They're everywhere but we only saw them on the way out. Keep your distance because there are signs everywhere making it very clear they will charge you if you get too close.
If I had to complain about one thing it would be:
MORE ELK SIGHTINGS PLEASE
We saw an adorable, huge, fluffy dog belonging to the hosts when we checked in to the cabin. I was really looking forward to petting him, but we didn't see him again after that!