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You can't hug these trees: Top 5 redwood trees vacation spots

May 9, 2012, 6 a.m.

If you're experiencing an uncontrollable urge to hug a tree, you may have better luck doing that in your backyard than you would by visiting a redwood tree forest, where tree trunks can grow to enormous circumferences. Still, there are ways that you can appreciate nature's most beautiful spectacles without having to throw your arms around them in an embrace. Want to see some of the biggest redwood trees in the world? The best place to find them is along the coast of Northern California. Check out the following top 5 r edwood tree forest vacation spots, then get busy packing.

  1. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is a redwood tree forest located 9 miles east of Crescent City along U.S. Route 199 on the northern tip of California. This park, which has a combined 9500 acres of redwood trees, is home to Lost Monarch, a tree that's thought to be one of the largest in the world. It measures 320 feet tall, but you won't find it on a map. Its precise location hasn't been revealed out of fear that too much traffic to the area could bring harm to its immediate environment. Still, there are some enormous trees to be seen here.
  2. Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park was founded in 1925 and is located 10 miles south of Crescent City, California. Its location immediately inland from the Pacific coast makes Del Norte one of the most beautiful spots in the world for coastal beauty, and is easily accessible via Highway 101, which cuts right through the forest. Talk about a scenic drive. Just be sure to watch the road and not let your eyes wander, if you can.
  3. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park can be found 50 miles north of Eureka, California, and about 30 miles south of Crescent City, California. The nearest city to the park is Orick, which is due south. This is a redwood tree forest that is home to Atlas Grove, an undisclosed area that has produced some of the biggest redwood trees on the planet.
  4. Fortuna is a small city located just inland from the Pacific coast in Northern California that boasts the friendliest, most welcoming vacation experience for travelers on the lookout for redwood trees. Not that you'd have to look far; Fortuna is literally surrounded by redwood parks and is a great location to set as a central outpost for a few days' worth of redwood exploring.
  5. Arcata Community Forest is situated just north of Eureka and south of Crescent City in the city of Arcata. The forest, which is 600 acres in size, is located due east of the city and the campus of Humboldt State University. Moving west, it's not long before you hit upon the Pacific coast. With Arcata's sleepy, laid back appeal, it's a town perfectly suited as a springboard for your own redwood tree forest excursions.

These five locations are just a sampling of the unparalleled natural beauty that can be found up and down the coast of Northern California. If you've never been to the redwood forest, cancel your plans for that European vacation you've been saving up for and aim your compass westward instead. You won't be sorry.

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