Crescent City, California: Day Trip Itinerary

Crescent City is a quaint coastal town in Northern California. If you are on a road trip exploring the coast, Crescent City is the perfect place to spend some time and stretch your legs. We hope to provide some insight into the area by sharing how we spent our day here. There are so many lovely things to do in Crescent City, California.

Crescent City Harbor

Crescent City Harbor is a small harbor that houses both commercial and recreational boats. It has a peaceful and friendly atmosphere, and is a great place to pass a few hours watching the boats come and go. Interpretive signs also line the area, and provide historical information about the harbor. The signs include details about the horrendous tsunamis that Crescent City Harbor has endured. In fact, as you explore, you’ll notice tsunami warning signs everywhere as well.

Crescent City Harbor

Perhaps the most memorable part about Crescent City Harbor is the opportunity to view the Harbor Seals and Sea Lions. It is hilarious to watch the animals barking and each other, and seemingly arguing for the best spot on a floating pier. The pier is roughly 30 feet away, but many of the seals take a dive and get much closer to the dock.

The seals are remarkably fast swimmers. It is entertaining to try to keep track of where they are in the water, as they continuously dive and emerge. The calm waters, and scenery can be observed through a nice stroll through the marina, or by having a seat on one of the many benches. If you are looking to enjoy your morning coffee, this is a relaxing way to start your day in Crescent city.

Crescent City Harbor
Crescent City Harbor

Battery Point Lighthouse

The historic Battery Point Lighthouse in Crescent City can only be visited during low tide, so you will have to plan ahead to add this one to your bucket list. I am an absolute sucker for lighthouses, and was disappointed that during our visit the tide was high. Luckily, but there is a beach area known for tide pools, and a jetty that goes out past the light house for the public to enjoy as well.

Battery Point Lighthouse

There are signs that warn you of large waves and to only walk on the jetty at your own risk. We saw plenty of families taking their chances, and decided to give it a go. It was a very pretty walk. The jetty is ideal for spotting fish, and more seals of course. Choppy water crashed against the jetty rocks ever so often, so be prepared for a possible splash. Whale spotting is also popular in this area.

battery point lighthouse
View of Battery Point Lighthouse from the Jetty
Crescent City
Crescent City Jetty

Ocean World Aquarium

If you are looking for a more interactive experience during your day trip, Ocean World offers a guided, hands-on tour of their aquarium. Being a smaller aquarium, it is much more intimate and you are able to avoid the crowds that come with larger aquariums. We were a little apprehensive because we usually do not go to the more touristy areas on our trips. We were pleasantly surprised. Right off the bat you can tell that the employees that lead the tour are very knowledgeable, and passionate about their roles at the aquarium. They provide interesting details about the marine life encountered throughout the tour.

Ocean World has a hands-on tide pool, an aquarium, shark petting, and a live seal show to enjoy. The touch tide pool was full of sea creatures to observe and interact with. After spending time at the tide pool, the next stop is a large aquarium. Sharks, stingrays, fish, and much more can be viewed through the glass. The shark petting was next on the agenda. It was a bit nerve-wracking at first, but was one of the more memorable moments for our son.

The biggest highlight of Ocean World is the seal and sea lion show. It was hilarious, and you are right up close and personal with the animals. As the trainer and the seals interacted, there was a real connection between them. The seals are insanely fast swimmers, and extremely intelligent. At the end there was even a Q&A where the audience was able to ask countless questions.

Ocean Life Crescent City
Ocean World touch pool
Ocean World aquarium

Ocean World definitely values educating its patrons, and we learned so many interesting things about sea life on our visit. Although this is a guided tour, each section of the tour provides extra time to explore on your own and the guides assured us that we should take our time. Never once did we feel rushed. In our opinion, Ocean World City is a great place for families, especially younger children.

Northcoast Marine Mammal Center

Another educational stopping point is the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center. Run by volunteers, the center gives you the opportunity to learn about rescues of the marine wildlife in the area. There is a small gift shop, and an area where you can view and learn about the animals they are rehabilitating.

Crescent City Beach

Up until our day trip at Crescent City, a majority of our trip had been spent exploring the majestic Redwoods. Crescent City Beach offers a nice change of pace, after all the hiking you might be doing in the area.

Crescent City Beach is a long stretch of sandy shoreline. Agate hunting is very popular in this area. If you keep an eye out, you are likely to spot a few sand dollars as well. There is plenty of surfing, sunbathing, and frisbee throwing to be had here. Crescent City Beach is the perfect place to watch the sunset in this coastal town.

Crescent City Beach

Check out the Crescent City, California homepage for more ideas on what to do in the area!

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