As Californians, my parents were lucky enough to have this enormous state park full of amazing natural wonders in their back yard. Redwood Forest is most famous for the giant ancient trees featured in movies like Vertigo, but there are so many varied trails and areas covering so much land, that every photograph of the park looks like a different, new exciting place.
This kind of expansive, preserved beauty is one good reason to be envious of the other coast. The park is free to visit and has campgrounds. There are bike trails, exotic scenery, and plenty of wildlife to discover, like owls, bears, elk and whales.