For us, vacation planning includes making a list of restaurants we’re interested in, along with a rating of how interested we are in each one. Some places turn out to be duds, while others are truly amazing. We’ll visit anything from a hole-in-the-wall to a food truck to the occasional higher end establishment in search of great food.
There are no restaurants or lodging (aside from campgrounds) in Redwood National & State Parks. In 2010, Redwood Hostel, previously the only lodging in the park, closed. And in 2019, the hostel building is set to be demolished. Crescent City is near the northern part of the park, and Klamath and Orick are to the south. Even further south are the towns of Arcata and Eureka.
Restaurants in Crescent City
When visiting a park, I often drag my wife to nearby breweries. If I like the beer enough, I’ll buy a pint glass souvenir. In this case, I had SeaQuake Brewing in Crescent City in mind. We decided to visit after our Redwood Creek backpacking trip, so we were starving. I got pizza with a chocolate porter and Kristin got fresh fish tacos. I enjoyed my pizza a lot, but Kristin thought the fish tacos were dry and desperately needed a sauce. The beer was good, but didn’t wow me. We did enjoy the casual atmosphere there.
A couple days later, I convinced Kristin to go back to SeaQuake. I really wanted to like it – enough to get a pint glass. This time, I got a 9.2 burger with parmesan fries and Kristin got a Thai chicken salad. This time we both liked our food. Kristin’s salad had an assortment of vegetables, crunchy noodles, and spicy peanut dressing. I got two half pints of beer, a blonde ale and coastal pale ale, which were okay, but felt forgettable. So we left, me without a pint glass. The place was packed both times and we had to wait, so maybe I’m missing something.
We went to Perlita’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant for dinner one night, while staying at Jedediah Smith Campground. Kristin ordered a torta with pork al pastor, guacamole, mayo, onion, lettuce, and tomato, which she loved. It looked like a simple sandwich, but its sweet and spicy flavors and variety of textures made it great.
I got a chimichanga platter, but thought it was one-note and nothing special. Service was a bit strange, as different servers kept coming by our table, but they were friendly. When Kristin mentioned her dairy allergy, they were very accommodating.
For breakfast the next morning, we went to Hiouchi Cafe, which is only three minutes from Jedediah Smith Campground. The waitress was friendly as she took our order. I ordered Grandma’s French Toast, which piqued my interest as a cinnamon lover. It was good but basic – and it needed more cinnamon! My bacon was kinda rubbery too.
Kristin’s dairy allergy prevented her from ordering the breakfast meals, so she ordered eggs, sausage, hash browns, avocado, and tomatoes a la carte. Some items looked okay, but the avocado was very brown, and she was surprised they served it that way. I wanted to like Hiouchi Cafe – it sounded tasty and was highly rated. But for $30, what we got wasn’t worth it.
Restaurants in Orick
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Snack Shack. This outdoor roadside joint is located in Orick, California, near Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center and the southern section of the park. With limited parking and picnic benches, some of which are shaded by umbrellas, it was one of our favorite restaurants of the trip.
Snack Shack mainly serves burgers, hotdogs, and burritos. As we ordered, a Redwood Park Ranger picked up her order, so we figured it must be good! I got the Baby Bigfoot Burger: bacon, caramelized onions, mushrooms, and pepper jack cheese. And tots. And a chocolate milkshake.
Kristin got the Hawaiian Burger, which came with pineapple and bbq sauce, and a huge order of fries. Our meal was a bit greasy, but so tasty. The milkshake was rich, thick, smooth, and chocolatey. While Snack Shack has a seemingly “fast food” vibe, our food took a while to arrive.
Snack Shack is open until 7pm, and we wished it was open later. Also, there’s no restroom, so plan ahead. There aren’t many places to eat near southern Redwood N&SP, so we highly recommend it if you’re looking for some casual-yet-delicious roadside burgers.
Accommodations Near the Park
Lighthouse Inn in Crescent City is relatively affordable, and conveniently located along highway 101. Close to the park, and at just over $100 a night, our standard room was actually quite large. Our bed was a bit springy, which made it hard to sleep. The hotel was clean, and staff was friendly.
Breakfast consisted of basics: bagels, oatmeal, hard boiled eggs, cereal, and cake (breakfast of champions). There was no hot food, unless you toasted some bread, but it got us going in the morning. They had a washer and dryer, so we took the opportunity to clean our clothes ($1.50 a load). Some of the nautical themed decor in the hotel wasn’t quite our taste, but it was an affordable place to stay.
- SeaQuake Brewing | 400 Front St, Crescent City, CA 95531
- Perlita’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant | 297 US-101, Crescent City, CA 95531
- Hiouchi Cafe | 2095 Hwy 199, Hiouchi, CA 95531
- Snack Shack | 120779 US-101, Orick, CA 95555
- Lighthouse Inn | 681 Highway 101 South, Crescent City, CA 95531