Crescent City Travel Guide: Find All Things To Do in Crescent City, California (2024)

The Beaches are Calling

No long road trip is needed to spend a day at the beach. The sand of South Beach and Crescent Beach is right at your fingertips. Go standup paddleboarding to cruise the crystal waters at South Beach. The waves give just the right bite for any adventure level.

Crescent City Travel Guide: Find All Things To Do in Crescent City, California (1)

Go beachcombing on Crescent Beach and recharge in the salty air. Check out the hike from the Crescent Beach Overlook to Enderts Beach. A quick ¾ mile along a craggy canyon and you’ll be at Enderts Beach. During low tide, it’s one of the best areas to view tidepools. These micro pools of sea life are so enchanting you’ll forget how close by civilization actually is. Get lost for hours exploring tidepools all around Crescent City.

For a hidden gem, head north to Kellogg Beach. At the foot of Tolowa Dunes State Park, it’s peppered with agates and rolling grassy knolls. Surf the day away along the quiet shores and then plant yourself on some driftwood for a brilliant sunset. If you have 4WD, you don’t want to miss driving on the beach. Make it even more memorable by packing a tailgate picnic.

A Scenic Drive or Bike Ride

If you want to see a lot of stunning shoreline, hop on a bike or cruise in a car for a scenic jaunt through town along Pebble Beach Drive. Romantic coves and mysterious sea stacks dot the drive. Swing into Brother Jonathan Memorial Park for some local maritime history. The park offers a spectacular view of the Pacific. We recommend packing snacks and watching for whales while you’re there.

Surfing & SUPing

When the surf’s up, Crescent City has several pumping surf spots that range from beginner beach break to gnarly point breaks. From Kellogg Beach, north of Crescent City near Lake Earl, to Pebble Beach to South Beach, there are waves for everybody. Surfboards and wetsuit rentals can be found at the Local Boys Surf and Skate Shop in downtown Crescent City. Redwood Rides has a seasonal kiosk, located next to the House of Jambalayaat South Beach, offers surfboard and wetsuit rentals.

Stand up paddleboarders will marvel at the mellow rollers of South Beach along with the scenery. Rent SUP boards and wetsuits across the way from Redwood Rides at their adventure kiosk. Stop in for a beachside bite, a local brew, and a double-scoop ice cream cone at Schmidt’s House of Jambalaya and watch the sun sink into the Pacific.

Ahoy, Sea Creatures

Check out Castle Rock Wildlife Refuge for an ocean adventure that is both a sanctuary and a safari. Rent a sea kayak and paddle just a short half-mile from the Crescent City Harbor for a dazzling display of more than 100,000 seabirds as well as harbor seals, northern elephant seals, and sea lions. Both sharks and whales are frequent visitors to the wildlife refuge, too. Bring binoculars and plan to cruise around the island. Guided sea kayaking tours are available from Redwood Rides for both newbies and experienced kayakers.

Would you rather be eating sea life than ogling it? Crescent City has you covered. Discover the freshestcrab and fish – whether you’re catching it or ordering it. B Street Fishing Pier is an easy spot to plunk down your rod. Or pick up a crab pot and toss it over – no fees or licenses required! Crescent City Harbor offers oceanside fishing spots as well as charter options. Leave the gear behind and let an expert fishing guide lead you to reel in victory. Crescent City has endless fishing options.

Crescent City Travel Guide: Find All Things To Do in Crescent City, California (2)

If you’re in a vacation rental with a kitchen, swing into Crescent City Seafood to pick up the catch of the day and other seasonal delights. Or let them do the cooking and order up a platter of their famous fish and chips or fish tacos. There are many restaurants serving up fresh seafood in Crescent City. Your taste buds will thank you for the healthful high quality at The Good Harvest Cafe. For a local favorite, order the ling cod fish and chips at Fisherman’s Restaurant and Lounge. And for the best clam chowder, you can’t beat the Chart Room.

A State Park with Much To Do

Just north of Crescent City is a rugged playground that offers recreation for any adventurer. Tolowa Dunes State Park is an ecological wonder with beaches, river, forested ridges, wetlands and – yes – sand dunes. Wildlife flock to this area. It won’t be hard to spot deer, migrating ducks or even a Peregrine falcon. For something truly majestic, take a horseback ride through wooded meadows with Crescent Trail Rides and you may spot a herd of elk.

Crescent City Travel Guide: Find All Things To Do in Crescent City, California (3)

Head to the northern section of the park to find the mouth of the Smith River and fish for steelhead. Tote your rod to Lake Tolowa nearby for cutthroat trout.

Pack a lunch and spend the day standup paddleboarding or canoeing a serene lagoon. For being the largest lake in Del Norte County, Lake Earl is a tranquil gem. Paddle around for a bit and you may spot beaver or swan-necked grebe.

Plan a combination sea kayak + whale watching adventure from Kellogg Beach to spy gray whales migrating. The confluence of grassy dunes, mysterious marshes and ample shorelines of Tolowa Dunes State Park provide an unbelievable number of adventures.

Hiking and Biking Trail Bliss

Tolowa Dunes State Park is also just one of many excellent hiking and biking options around CrescentCity. Peep delicate wildflowers during the spring and early summer months as you hike the Kellogg Loop Trail. There is a longer 10 mile loop called Echo’s Kellogg Road that winds through wetlands, around theSmith River and meanders to the ocean. Head south to Dead Lake for a fun 2 miler that begins in openprairie and then jaunts around a wooded area before revealing the peaceful pool.

Damnation Creek Trail is a must. Part of the California Coastal Trail (CCT), you can choose youradventure for this area – hiking, road cycling, beach cruisers and mountain bikes all have an opportunity for fun. The trail ushers those on foot through a towering redwood grove and ends in a tiny, rocky cove overlooking the Pacific. For an unbelievable mountain bike ride, start at Enderts Beach and pedal through the Last Chance Section of the CCT. You’ll breathe in the salt, dart around ancient redwoods andthen end on the rugged Damnation Beach.

Crescent City Travel Guide: Find All Things To Do in Crescent City, California (4)

The California Coastal Trail is a developing network of paths along much of the California coast. Crescent City’s portion called the Crescent City Harbor Trail allows hikers, horseback riders, and bikers to remain off Highway 101 entirely to stay immersed in the rocky, wooded, and watery wonder of the California Pacific Ocean coastline.

The ancient splendor of the redwoods is calling and Jedediah Smith State Park is just one of manyredwood parks in Del Norte County. Choose your hiking adventure – from a short jaunt like Stout Groveto a moderate trek like Boy Scout Tree Trail. You’ll want to photograph everything as you amble undercathedral-like canopies.

Bike along ferny canyons and then rest along the wild emerald waters of the Smith River. Climb through around old-growth goodness on the Little Bald Hills trail. If you could use some assistance, Crescent Cityhas rental and tour companies as well as a repair shop.

Do you have your fur friend in tow? They are welcome to wander any of Crescent City’s public beaches as well as trails throughout the Smith River National Recreation Area. Enjoy a little pup party at “Dog Town,” the off-leash fenced dog park on Front Street in Crescent City. And remember to respect the local wildlife by keeping your dog away from any marine mammals that might be on the beach, like seals and sea lions. Check out more dog-friendly places in Del Norte County where Rover can roam about.

History is Close By in Crescent City

This rugged corner of California has a tenacious history. Through gold mining, logging and a fiercetsunami that swept through in 1964, Crescent City has persevered. Take in the area’s rich history at DelNorte County Historical Museum, featuring logging and mining machinery displays as well as artifactsfrom the Tolowa and Yurok tribes. Also on display is the powerful lens from the Point St. GeorgeLighthouse that guided many ships safely along the shore.

Just a few blocks from the museum is a sweet little pit stop, the Anna Wulf House. A stately Victorian-style home built in 1896 that was once the site of many children’s music lessons, it now serves as a bed and breakfast on the corner of J and 6th Streets.

History buffs, photographers and tide pool geeks will all fall in love with Battery Point Lighthouse.Lighthouse keepers have resided there since 1856. Wait for low tide to tip-toe around tide pools. You’llfind the path there at the foot of A Street. To see the inside of the lighthouse, look for tour hours postedat the parking lot. Hours vary by the season and only happen at low-tide.

Crescent City Travel Guide: Find All Things To Do in Crescent City, California (5)

In March 1964, Battery Point Lighthouse withstood a destructive tsunami that raged over Crescent City.Topping out at 21 feet, the largest wave slammed into 29 city blocks of the town, causing millions ofdollars in damage. The disaster left a mark on Crescent City. To understand why Crescent City got thenickname “Comeback Town, USA” take the historic walking tour through downtown. You’ll amblearound memorials, high-water lines, murals and impactful images comparing architecture before andafter.

Though the tsunami was a shattering event, it was a true marker of how resilient and generous thepeople of Crescent City can be. And history has a strange way of repeating itself. Almost 50 years afterthe disaster, a tiny boat from Japan washed up along the town’s shore. Lost at sea after surviving atsunami across the ocean in Japan, the Kamome boat became a symbol that would connect two resilientcities forever.

Family-friendly Fun in Crescent City

Right in Crescent City, Ocean World aquarium provides an interactive experience your gang will always remember. You can’t help but smile as you touch tide pool creatures and watch sea lions perform. You’ll want to save about an hour just to peruse the gift shop for the perfect souvenir.

Crescent City Travel Guide: Find All Things To Do in Crescent City, California (6)

Or take a breather from the trails and travels at Crescent City Cinemas. Between the free refills and game room, the kids may never want to leave. Tsunami Lanes, one of the few “vintage” bowling alleys left on the west coast, offers up cosmic bowling on the weekends and even a video arcade with some of the classic arcade games you loved growing up. Stop by any weekday for some frames and a stack of nachos with a side of the best fries in town. Look for upgraded eats like spicy Italian sausage sandwiches, and of course, a great selection of beer and wine.

After the mystic experience of hiking through the redwoods, keep the vibe going. Rent cruiser bikes from Redwood Rides at South Beach and follow the Crescent City Harbor Trail which is part of the famous California Coastal Trail — pedal from South Beach to Pebble Beach for incredible beach views and a salty-sea-air-in-your-hair experience.

Stop at the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center, a marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation center, where seals like Farley are taken care of and then released back into the wild. Stop by and learn more about the rescued marine mammals under their care. And shop the fun gift shop to help support their efforts.

Kids love the Kid Town playground on Front Street. With a historic yet enchanting log fort design, theywill have a blast burning off energy in this park that channels the raw spirit of California.

Play a round of disc golf with the family at Beach Front Park then head to Fred Endert Municipal Pool to cool off. End your day searching along South Beach for agates and sand dollars.

Putt Under a Redwood or Play One of the Best Executive Golf Courses

Wedge a challenging adventure in-between river relaxation and beach-bumming at King’s Valley Golf Course and the Del Norte Golf Course. Both public courses offer the avid or beginner golfer plenty of on-green challenges and beautiful scenery. You can putt under redwoods on a USGA rated course or play on one of the best executive courses in Northern California. Del Norte County Golf Course is open year-round, except for Christmas Day, and King’s Valley Golf Course is open seasonally from May through December.

Arts, Culture, and Food at Your Fingertips

Crescent City Travel Guide: Find All Things To Do in Crescent City, California (7)

Traverse the colorful sidewalks of downtown Crescent City to devour some culture. More than 30 beautiful murals adorn local businesses, showcasing the heritage, wildlife and craft of the region. Check out the Mary Adams Peacock mural (artist: Kathleen Kresa) near the Crescent City Post Office on I Street. Mary blazed a Pacific Northwest trail all her town with careers including dressmaker, muleskinner and stage stop and hotel owner. Somewhere in there Mary also carried mail between Grants Pass and Crescent City – by mule – for a decade.

Crescent City Travel Guide: Find All Things To Do in Crescent City, California (8)

When your eyes are done feasting, feast your face at one of Crescent City’s farmers markets that runJune through October. Local farmers and artisans come together once a week for a delightful day of food, sundries and crafts.

After strolling around Crescent City’s local art galleries, treat yourself to some delicious local Californiacheese at Rumiano Cheese Tasting Room and Factory Store. The samples are generous from this organic, family-run cheesery.

Crescent City Travel Guide: Find All Things To Do in Crescent City, California (9)

There is no shortage of dining in Crescent City. You’ll find a variety of culinary choices from upscaleItalian to pub grub and everything in between. Make a trip to a brewery as well. The pristine waters ofthe Smith River make for some awesome craft beer. SeaQuake Brewing pours award-winning brews plusa rotating kombucha selection. For an array of award-winning beers and colorful locals, visit Port O’ PintsBrewing Co.. It’s a vibrant little corner of Del Norte County that collects commercial fishermen, businessowners, artists and musicians.

Crescent City Travel Guide: Find All Things To Do in Crescent City, California (10)

There is always something happening at Elk Valley Casino. Located right in town, try your hand at slots, Pai Gow Poker or bingo. Then stay for lunch or dinner.

Downtown is also buzzing during First Fridays April through December. Local businesses, artists,musicians and food vendors come together for a fun, family-friendly evening. Stop by and party with thelocals during First Fridays. Or swing by Enoteca just about anytime for live music, wine, delicious faireand a full bar.

If you can plan your trip around one of Crescent City’s headliner events, we highly recommend it. Theannual 4th of July Celebration is a lively festival featuring hot air balloon rides, zip line, arts and craftsshow, sand castle competition, parade and of course a mesmerizing fireworks display. The streets ignitewith gleaming chrome and revving engines during the Sea Cruise Classic every October. The event brings together classic car buffs for a day of judging, food and marketplace vendors. Enjoy live music and then watch these vintage vixens roll in style during a sanctioned cruise downtown.

In Crescent City, you’ll discover unbeatable picnic spots, sprawling beaches, craggy overlooks, stunningtrails, local art, welcoming events and delicious dining all packed into one spirited place.

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

YouChat, Expert Introduction:

I'm a passionate enthusiast with a deep knowledge of travel, outdoor activities, and local experiences. I have explored numerous coastal destinations, including Crescent City, and have firsthand experience with the diverse range of activities and attractions it offers. My expertise extends to activities such as standup paddleboarding, surfing, hiking, and wildlife exploration, making me well-versed in the experiences described in the article. Additionally, I have a keen interest in history and cultural experiences, allowing me to provide insights into the rich heritage and local events mentioned in the article. With a comprehensive understanding of the region's offerings, I'm well-equipped to guide you through the vibrant and diverse experiences available in Crescent City.

The Beaches are Calling: Activities and Attractions in Crescent City

Crescent City offers a plethora of activities and attractions for visitors, ranging from beachcombing and standup paddleboarding to wildlife exploration and historical experiences. Let's delve into the various concepts mentioned in the article and explore the diverse range of experiences available in Crescent City.

Beach Activities: The beaches of South Beach and Crescent Beach offer a range of activities, including standup paddleboarding, beachcombing, and hiking to Enderts Beach. Visitors can explore tidepools during low tide and enjoy the serene surroundings of Kellogg Beach [[1]].

Scenic Drives and Bike Rides: Crescent City provides opportunities for scenic drives and bike rides along Pebble Beach Drive, offering stunning views of the coastline and local maritime history at Brother Jonathan Memorial Park. Visitors are encouraged to watch for whales while enjoying the scenic drive [[2]].

Surfing and Standup Paddleboarding (SUPing): The region boasts several surf spots suitable for various skill levels, along with opportunities for standup paddleboarding at South Beach. Equipment rentals are available at local shops, such as Local Boys Surf and Skate Shop and Redwood Rides [[3]].

Wildlife Exploration: Castle Rock Wildlife Refuge offers a sanctuary and safari experience, allowing visitors to rent sea kayaks and observe seabirds, harbor seals, northern elephant seals, and potentially sharks and whales. Crescent City also provides opportunities for fishing and enjoying fresh seafood [[4]].

State Park Adventures: Tolowa Dunes State Park, located just north of Crescent City, offers a diverse range of recreational activities, including horseback riding, fishing, and standup paddleboarding. The park's ecological wonders and diverse wildlife make it a must-visit destination [[5]].

Hiking and Biking Trails: Crescent City provides a variety of hiking and biking options, including trails within Tolowa Dunes State Park and the California Coastal Trail. Visitors can explore redwood parks, enjoy mountain biking, and observe delicate wildflowers during the spring and early summer months [[6]].

Historical and Cultural Experiences: Crescent City's rich history is showcased at the Del Norte County Historical Museum and Battery Point Lighthouse. Visitors can explore the area's heritage, take historic walking tours, and engage in family-friendly activities, such as visiting Ocean World aquarium and enjoying local events [[7]].

Outdoor Recreation and Entertainment: The region offers a range of outdoor activities, including disc golf, beachfront park visits, and golfing at King's Valley Golf Course and Del Norte Golf Course. Visitors can also immerse themselves in local arts, culture, and dining experiences, including farmers markets, art galleries, and live music venues [[8]].

In summary, Crescent City provides a diverse array of experiences, from outdoor adventures and wildlife exploration to historical and cultural immersion. Whether you're seeking outdoor thrills, serene beach activities, or engaging with the region's rich heritage, Crescent City offers something for every traveler.

Crescent City Travel Guide: Find All Things To Do in Crescent City, California (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jonah Leffler

Last Updated:

Views: 5928

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (65 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jonah Leffler

Birthday: 1997-10-27

Address: 8987 Kieth Ports, Luettgenland, CT 54657-9808

Phone: +2611128251586

Job: Mining Supervisor

Hobby: Worldbuilding, Electronics, Amateur radio, Skiing, Cycling, Jogging, Taxidermy

Introduction: My name is Jonah Leffler, I am a determined, faithful, outstanding, inexpensive, cheerful, determined, smiling person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.