It was a little strange waking up in a casino parking lot, but it was lovely to just walk right inside for coffee and breakfast. We had signed up for a customer card the night before that gave us a discount on our meal.

After breakfast, we packed up the jeep and headed out to do some more exploring in the Redwoods State and National Forest. This park is a bit unusual in that the national and state parks are combined. We were looking forward to getting out of the car and doing some hiking in the forest. We had gotten some suggestions from a very friendly fellow Starbucks customer the day before on places to check out.

We stopped to take some pictures of the Smith River and then headed to Jedediah Smith State Park for some hiking. We enjoyed seeing these amazing trees up close and did our best to figure out the best way to photograph them. Fellow hikers were trying to do the same thing. We finally all agreed that having people in the picture is the best way to capture the incredible size of the trees.

After our hike, we made our way to Crescent City to check out the harbor. We had a great view of the ocean and Battery Point Light. This lighthouse is registered as a California Historical Landmark. We also enjoyed the chainsaw carving of a mermaid that was on display. It would have been even better on a warmer, sunnier day.

By late afternoon, it was time for us to think about a place to spend the night. We found a couple of options at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and stopped in at the entrance station to check them out. The larger, more developed campground, Elk Prairie, had a few spots left but we opted to take our chances and drive out to Golden Bluffs Beach. We were not guaranteed there would be any sites left but we prefer more out of the way places and we like being near the beach. Before heading to the campground, we had a chance to see a huge herd of elk in the meadow along the road. The road to the campground was pretty rough so we hoped we would not be turning around as soon as we got there! After a bumpy 45 minute ride, we were pleased to find out there were still sites available. We paid our $35 fee and took our time picking out a site we liked. We find a nice spot close to the beach with plenty of space and quickly got set up for the night. As we were setting up, Francis made an exciting discovery. The campground was connected to the park’s wifi. This far out, we consider ourselves lucky to even have signal let alone free wifi. We had just enough time to set up camp before heading out to the beach to view the beautiful sunset.