8 Magnificent Things to Do in Northern California

When people think of all the things to do in Northern California they often just consider the landmark destinations like San Francisco and the Napa wine tasting country. However, a little further afield up the California coast lies Redding and UpState California. This area is often dubbed “the real northern California”, which is the vast area north of Sacramento all the way up to the Oregon border. This area features dramatic waterfalls, redwood forests, adorable welcoming towns and a host of other northern California attractions.

I’ve explored much of this beautiful state in the almost 20 years I have lived here, including parts of UpState California, but the area between Muir Woods and the Redwoods (because my brain thinks in terms of national parks apparently!) proved elusive. When Visit California asked what area I would like to explore in partnership with their #Kidifornia series, I jumped at the chance to finally make my way to the true northern California region to check out the natural beauty of the area’s national parks as well as the main adventure hub of Redding. Now that I have visited, I have to share my love of the area and help put this amazing region on your radar too!

Keep reading to find out our favorite things to do in northern California from north of San Francisco up to Redding and even further UpState California.

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A Family Adventure: Channel Islands Kayaking with Kids

Last summer I was offered an opportunity to visit one of the few national parks in California I had yet to visit, the Channel Islands. Upon looking at the itinerary I noticed that an entire day was dedicated to kayaking around the island of Santa Cruz..in the sea! I was terrified to be honest. I had never kayaked, much less in the sea.

The water in California is not warm even in the height of summer and I was super nervous about the possibility of flipping my kayak. Now, add in that I would be doing this with my equally scaredy-cat 6 year old who prefers hot tubbing to actually swimming! And there you have it, the scene is set for our adventure at the Channel Islands kayaking with kids.

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Exploring Lassen Volcanic National Park (with Kids)

Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of California’s least visited parks. It is located about 5 hours north of the Bay Area, 3 hours north of Sacramento and 1.5 hours east of Redding. It’s location is most of the reason it is less visited than other parks and the fact that it is covered in snow for much of the year. With many of its trails only open from July-Oct, it’s tough to get a visit in when the park is fully operating.

Lassen National Park with kidsEven with the difficulties of visiting, what awaits you is California’s version of Yellowstone, a boiling, bubbling volcanic dreamland. A park dedicated to its volcanic history, it has 4 types of volcanos all in one place as well as sulphur steam vents, boiling mud pots and stunning views over the surrounding areas. Furthermore, it provides a vast network of trails through forest landscapes, around lakes and up volcanic peaks with some even connecting to the Pacific Crest Trail.

In short, Lassen Volcanic National Park is mesmerizing and should be on everyone’s California wish list.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

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Fun Sacramento Kids Activities Perfect for a Weekend Visit

The state capital of California, Sacramento, loaded with history, is often overlooked as a great family weekend getaway destination. This is too bad since it’s filled with fun, family friendly activities that also include a little bit of learning too!

The city got its start during the 1849 Gold Rush and later served as the state’s political hub. The city has everything to keep a family busy and entertained from nature to transportation and beyond! Here are some of our favorite Sacramento kids activities that we think should be on the top of any itinerary to the government center.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

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