The city of Redding, California and the surrounding Shasta Cascade area is an outdoor lover’s dream. There are gorgeous lakes, numerous mountains to go hiking on, and delicious food to have afterward. Here’s a guide to Redding, California’s outdoor paradise.
How to Get There
There are several ways to get to Redding. I flew from Seattle to San Francisco and then to Redding, which was a very short flight. You can also fly to San Francisco and drive the three hours north to Redding if you want more of a road trip. Another option is to fly into Medford, Oregon, and drive 2.5 hours south to the area.
Where to Stay in Redding
I called the Hilton Garden Inn my home during the time I was in Redding and loved coming back to it every night. They had a comfortable bed to relax in after exploring the outdoors all day, a bar and restaurant were in the hotel, and they had free cookies each night. It doesn’t get better than that! It was also close to the freeway so it was easy to hop on and go exploring. (rates start at $114 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
Where to Eat and Drink
Coffee Bar – This cute coffee shop was small and packed with locals when I went, which is always a good sign. They have a good selection of espresso drinks and breakfast items such as waffles or toast. It was just what I needed before a day of hiking.
Roots – One morning I was craving a smoothie, so I headed to Roots. It’s located in a health food store and has a variety of juices, smoothies, and vegan breakfast items to start your day. I got the Bahama Mama, which fueled me until lunch.
Woody’s Brewery – I always try to find local breweries when I travel, so was thrilled to stumble upon Woody’s Brewery. They had a large selection of beer, such as a nutty brown ale and a chili wheat beer. I got their jalapeño burger?, but was tempted by the nachos and loaded tots.
Jack’s Grill – When you walk into Jack’s Grill, you’ll feel like you’re in the 1930s. That’s because it was built in 1935 and has maintained its look and feel. If you feel like a steak and visiting with the locals, stop by here around dinner time.
Read more: 15 Best Hikes in Lake Tahoe
The Mosaic – Located by the Sacramento River, this is the city’s newest restaurant, as it just opened in 2018. It has large glass windows that make it feel open and light. There’s also a patio to sit out on to enjoy the sun. They have a good selection of Italian food, including pizza and pasta.
Moonstone Bistro – I like this restaurant because they’re big on ingredients that are fresh, organic, and seasonal. Everything is made fresh so you won’t get any dishes that are microwaved. I recommend their pan-seared halibut for dinner and chocolate souffle for dessert.
Shameless O’Leary’s – It doesn’t take much convincing to get me into an Irish pub, and with a name like Shameless O’Leary’s, I was sold. Their menu has traditional Irish food like Irish nachos, shepherds pie, and bangers and mash. I got the loaded mac and cheese, which was delicious. They also have Guinness on tap, as a proper Irish bar should.
Read more: The Best West Coast Road Trip Itinerary
What to Do
Olive Oil Tasting
If you don’t know how olive oil is made, it’s worth your time to stop by Lucero Olive Oil to take a tour. I’ve been using it for years but didn’t know how it went from the tree to the bottle. I also had no idea that green and black olives are not two different olives, but the same olive that grows for different amounts of time.
It was currently bloom season, with October and November being the busy harvest season. The store typically produces 3,000 to 5,000 bottles of olive oil per week, but their record is 22,110 in one week. Make sure to do the tastings where they combined flavored olive oil and balsamic vinegar for some amazing combinations. My favorites were the chocolate, rose, and lemon.
Mosley Family Cellars is a beautiful place to sample some of the best of Northern California’s wine. They’re the largest wine producer in the area and have been voted the Best of the North State’s top white and red wines for two years in a row. While their grapes come from Sonoma Valley and Napa, they do all the crushing and bottling at their location in Redding.
Lake Shasta Caverns
Lake Shasta Caverns opened in 1964 and have been fascinating the public ever since. You’ll need to sign up for a guided tour, as they’re unable to let people roam free in the caverns due to safety reasons.
You’ll take a five-minute boat ride across Lake Shasta and then a 10-minute bus ride up to the caverns. The first thing you’ll notice when you go in is how cool they are. The temperature stays around 70 degrees, but it feels much cooler when you’ve been outside in the heat.
You’ll learn all about the different structures that formed in the caverns over the years and about the brave explorers who first went in here in the late 1800s.
The Sundial Bridge goes over the Sacramento River and will be celebrating its 15th anniversary next year. The man who created it purposely made sure it was high enough so it wouldn’t disturb the salmon swimming upstream, which I thought was neat. Come here at night to see the whole bridge lit up.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
I’ve been fascinated by volcanoes for years and have probably watched Dante’s Peak a few dozen times. I loved exploring Lassen Volcanic National Park and learning about the history of the area. This park is unique because it’s the only place in the world where you can see every type of volcano (plug dome, composite, shield, and cinder cone for my fellow volcano nerds).
You can see areas where huge avalanches occurred in the past and how it’s changed the landscape. There are plenty of trails to hike around the area. If you visit from December through May, you’ll only be able to access about 10 miles of the highway, as the rest is closed due to the snow.
Cost: $25 for a 7-day pass (cheapest option available)
Curious about the other national parks in the US? Check this master list of national parks that you can print off.
McArthur Burney Falls Memorial State Park
When the Huffington Post Travel calls a waterfall the most beautiful waterfall in North America, you know you need to visit it. It’s a short walk to the bottom, where you can get a closer view of it and feel the mist on your face.
Cost: $8 for a day pass
Whiskeytown National Recreational Area
This is one of the most beautiful spots in the area in my opinion, and tons of locals were taking advantage of the warm weather by heading to Whiskeytown Lake when I was there. People were kayaking on the water and playing on the sandy shores, and there are a ton of hikes to go on.
Cost: $20 for a 7-day pass (cheapest option)
Shasta State Historic Park
On your way back from Whiskeytown, stop at Shasta State Historic Park. You’ll see what life used to look like back when it was northern California’s mining district and what the town was like during the gold rush. The jail, gallows, and courtroom have all been restored to how they used to look in the 1860s.
There is a ton to do in Redding, so I recommend spending at least three to four days here, if not longer. You’ll love how relaxed you feel each day after being outdoors all day!
This post was sponsored by Visit Redding, but all opinions are my own.