Northern California is an outdoor enthusiast’s dreamland with majestic Redwoods hiking trails, world-class surfing, guided kayaking adventures, Pacific Ocean whale watching, and so much more! Due to popularity, some of these outdoor activities can become overcrowded or even booked solid throughout the summertime, which is why you should always plan trips to some of the best hidden gems in California. Redwood Coast Vacation Rentals has luxurious cottages, homes, and condos scattered throughout California’s North Coast, many of which are near some of these lesser-known hidden gems.
Willow Creek, CA
Nestled in the lush mountains of the Six Rivers National Forest lies a picturesque small town on the Trinity River, one of the best whitewater rafting locales in North America. What makes Willow Creek so incredibly unique is not the gushing rafting rapids, cloudy mountains, or the charming downtown shops – it’s their obsession with a tall, furry human-like creature named Bigfoot. Willow Creek is, in fact, the birthplace of Bigfoot, thanks to 1967 video footage of a large, unidentified creature gangly walking across the screen. The video took hold of the nation’s imagination, and thus Willow Creek quickly became a popular tourist destination for Bigfoot hunters and lovers alike.
Through the passage of time, Bigfoot’s allure in Willow Creek has slowly faded, but that doesn’t take away the town’s mystique. Nearly every business in town is named after Bigfoot, including a motel, steakhouse, repair shop, and a golf course. In fact, State Route 96 and 299 is now known as the Bigfoot Scenic Byway. This “Bigfoot Capital of the World” also holds an annual event in September, called “Bigfoot Daze,” a celebration of her (or his?) existence. The main draw inside the town is the Willow Creek-China Flat Museum, also known as the “Bigfoot Museum,” where you can browse through a collection of footprint casts, Bigfoot pictures, and detailed sighting maps.
Fern Canyon may not be one of the best hidden gems in California for much longer because tourists are starting to realize just how breathtakingly beautiful it truly is, regardless of the season. You might recognize this level creek from Steven Spielberg’s 1997 film The Lost World: Jurassic Park. While the film received mixed reviews from critics and movie buffs alike, there was no denying the beautiful natural scenery within the film. Several scenes were filmed inside Redwood National Park, the bayfront town of Eureka, and, of course, Fern Canyon. The canyon is a one-mile trail that follows along Home Creek in the heart of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. A deeply-carved canyon surrounds the babbling creek with 80-foot-tall verticle walls. These canyon walls are entirely covered in five different types of ferns as well as various plants and mosses. It’s truly a sight to behold.
Fire & Light Handmade Glassware
We always direct our guests staying in the Arcata area to make a stop at Fire & Light Handmade Glassware, one of the true hidden gems in California. Not only can you embark on an hour-long hot glass tour inside their facility, but you can peruse through the on-site showroom, which is filled with over 100 handmade glassworks. If you’ve never watched an artist take recycled bottles and jars and turn them into a line of beautiful hand-made glass, then you’re in for a real treat! What started as a small operation run by the Arcata Community Recycling Center has blossomed into one of the best handmade glassware facilities in the country thanks to the direction of owners John and Natali McClurg.
Northern California Vacations
Hawkins Bar River Home
While we cannot guarantee you’ll discover Bigfoot at our prized Hawkins Bar River Home, you’ll undoubtedly fall in love with this home’s genuinely stunning riverfront property. This three-bedroom home has a cozy, cabin-like interior with charming decor, a crackling wood-burning fireplace, and arguably the best riverfront porch in Humboldt County. Hawkins Bar rests on the teal Trinity River, just downriver from Willow Creek, the “Bigfoot Capital of the World.”
Ten miles south of Fern Canyon rests a beautiful country home overlooking a peaceful pasture with grazing farm animals. Rainbow’s End sits at the bottom of a tree-covered hill near Redwood Creek, which filters into the Pacific Ocean. Both this meandering creek and the vast ocean are a short hike or bike ride from Rainbow’s End. The home itself is a newly-renovated country home with elegant decor, modern amenities, and a backyard firepit. You’re always a short drive from Fern Canyon, Redwood National Park, and downtown Orick when you stay at Rainbow’s End.
If you’re planning on heading to California’s North Coast for the entire winter, seek out Alder Flat in Arcata, CA. Alder Flat is only 1.5 miles from Fire & Light, one of our favorite hidden gems in California. This ultra-modern one-bedroom flat can be reserved for a minimum of 30 nights. It features brand new wood floors, a cozy electric fireplace, and a modern kitchen. Give us a call today at 1-707-445-9665 to inquire about this lavish extended stay unit.