Brought to you by Visit Redding
The summer has arrived in Northern California, meaning it’s time to start planning those great family vacations you look forward to all year. There’s plenty of great places to take your family in California, but for our money, Redding might have the best family-friendly experiences around.
Not only is Redding, California a marvelous destination for families, it’s also easy to get to. It can be conveniently accessed via California’s Interstate 5, and now there are direct flights from Southern California and San Francisco to the Redding Airport. There are also a ton of great hotels to stay at during your visit.
Let’s take a look at the family activities you can do during your trip to Redding, California:
Lake Shasta Caverns
While most people head to the lake for sunny vibes, there’s also an awesome experience you can find underground. Lake Shasta Caverns are a network of caves located near the McCloud arm of the lake and is one of the most unforgettable cave adventures found in the country.
The tour begins with a long downhill hike to the patio boat that carries you to the other side of the McCloud River arm of the Shasta Lake. Once you arrive at water level, the boat ride is wonderful. Though Shasta Caverns is only a short drive north of Redding, you may be shocked by how otherworldly it really is. Maybe that’s the point.
Once in the cave you are ushered through chambers of all sizes, some up a flight of stairs, some down. Each cavern has a name, and a story. Though I have been known to get claustrophobic in tight places, I’ve never felt that way inside Shasta Caverns. There is so much to see and too many great stories to listen to. The tour takes at least an hour, and the time flies.
Turtle Bay Exploration Park
Of all the experiences inside the city limits of Redding, the 30-acre campus of the Turtle Bay Exploration Park might be the most spectacular.
The park tells the stories of the region through its rotating museum exhibits, underground aquarium, Native American historical exhibits, outdoor wildlife shows and exhibits, California’s largest North American butterfly house and the popular Paul Bunyan Forest Camp. This is the perfect destination for families, seated right along the Sacramento River where you can walk along the Sundial Bridge and visit the McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. There’s so much to do in this area.
In the mid-1800’s, the town of Shasta sitting just 6 miles west of Redding, California was the largest town in Shasta County. The mining community was a bustling settlement of Forty-Niners looking for their shot at the millions of dollars in Gold Rush riches from the 1850’s to 1880’s. At its peak, 3,500 residents shared a blacksmith shop, general store and courthouse near what is now the beautiful waters of Whiskeytown Lake.
Today, the ruins of the once vibrant Gold Rush town remain in “Old Shasta,” with restorations allowing visitors to take a walk through Northern California history in what was once called the “Queen City” of California’s northern mining district.
The grounds of Shasta today are incorporated in the Shasta State Historic Park, which include a courthouse museum, 19th-century brick ruins, a post office, a church, a cemetery and the historic bakery. Walking through this site will give you a unique glimpse into the past of Northern California, and you can enjoy it during a brief afternoon or immerse yourself in its history for an entire day.
Rare Air Trampoline Park
Do your kids have a lot of energy? The Rare Air Trampoline Park may be the perfect way to wear them out.
Rare Air is a 10,000 square foot trampoline facility that includes dodgeball arenas, airbag pits, a rock-climbing wall and a full arcade. The main court trampoline area is perfect for trying different jumps, or you can take the little ones to the Junior Jump Zone for some mini adventures. You’re guaranteed to have a blast.
It’s not everyday you get to visit a 200-feet-tall working sundial. In Redding, you can see that along with stellar views of the beautiful Sacramento River.
The Sundial Bridge was designed by Santiago Calatrava and opened to the public in 2004, becoming the central destination for visitors of the city. Standing over the fragile spawning beds for Sacramento River salmon, the bridge was carefully designed to not touch the floor of the river in order to protect the fish. During fishing season, you’re bound to see fly fishermen catching beautiful rainbow trout in the water below.
Along the Sacramento River in Redding is one of the great parks in Northern California, fully-equipped with a skatepark, bike track, public pool and boat access to the river. You can access the park just outside of downtown Redding via car or bike in on the Sacramento River Trail.
Caldwell Park is a favorite among Redding locals to take the whole family and enjoy a sunny day. The park was specifically built for family activities, including a Recreation Center, Teen Center, and art gallery, soccer fields, horse shoe pits, a junior bike park, a fish viewing facility, and an art walk. Picnic and BBQ facilities are also available as well as wheelchair accessible fishing access.
If there’s one place to take the whole family on a hot summer day, Waterworks might be the best place to beat the heat.
Redding’s premier water park has seen huge expansion over the past 10 years, now including four giant waterslides, the Raging River Run, the Avalanche Slide, the Cyclone, a Wave Pool and a Lazy River. There’s also a kiddie area for the youngins. You can rent a cabana for a relaxing day or book a full birthday party for you and your friends.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Sitting right outside Redding, California is one of the most underrated National Parks in the United States, loaded with pristine wildlife, beautiful hikes, pristine waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes and an active volcano. It’s typically not one of the National Parks you’ll hear when listing America’s most popular parks, and that’s a good thing.
At Lassen Volcanic National Park , you can experience a top-notch outdoor experience without the crowds you see at Yosemite or Yellowstone. And even with it’s lack of tourists, for our money, you won’t find more outdoor beauty in one wilderness area than in Lassen.
There are plenty of kids activities at the visitors centers in the park, and you’re likely to see some wildlife during your visit.You can summit a volcano, visit a waterfall, discover a hydrothermal area or simply camp with your friends and family. It’s the perfect destination for everyone looking for an outdoor adventure!
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
Note: Repairs from the Carr Fire are still ongoing in the park. Please check here before planning your visit to Whiskeytown
You’d be hard pressed to find a more pristine area in Northern California than the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. Whiskeytown Lake is the centerpiece of the park that includes four waterfalls, hundreds of miles of trails and a beautiful beach.
There’s something for everyone at Whiskeytown. You can hike a peak, visit a waterfall, go for a swim, enjoy the lake from a boat, go fishing, lounge on the beach or even do some water skiing. Whiskeytown is a local favorite for Redding residents and is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the area.
Sacramento River Trail
The Sacramento River Trail, one of the most underrated features of our North State for lovers of stunning scenery, learning about the area and staying active. Used by a wide variety of people from casual hikers to hard-core runners, bikers, birdwatchers and even anglers, the trail connects with several other trail systems and offers one of the quintessential North State experiences.
The tree lined trail, which follows the Sacramento River all the way up from the Sundial Bridge to Shasta Dam, is a completely different experience in the fall than in other seasons. The colors turn bright and fallen leaves surrounding the trail give an animated boost to any adventure your looking for on the trail.
What do you plan to do during your family trip to Redding?
Northern California’s Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine