Under $100: Crescent City

by Megan Hill

May 3, 2015

Castle Rock in Crescent City, California © Penneyknightly | Dreamstime

North America

Crescent City may very well be one of the least visually appealing cities on the California coast. This port town is tucked away on the far reaches of the state’s northern coast, where fog and drizzle are constants. It can be hard to find the charm here, with chain restaurants and a bland 1960s-era downtown. But if you look below the surface, there’s plenty to see and do in town and around the area. $100 will go far in Crescent City.


Start your morning with a big omelet at Mattie’s Pancake and Omelette, a casual spot that’s a local favorite technically in Oregon, but close enough to be worth the short drive. Fill up for around $10.


Redwoods State Park, California © Mike Brake | Dreamstime 33423705

Redwoods State Park, California © Mike Brake | Dreamstime


The big draw here is the Redwoods National and State Parks, so head there next. Your best bet is to drive the dirt road through Jedediah Smith State Park, called Howland Hill Road. You can’t go wrong with any of the hikes along this scenic drive, which passes scores of enormous trees.


Head back to Crescent City for lunch at Hensel’s Seafood and Deli, where the fish in the tacos is plucked from the ocean that morning. $15 should do it.


Battery Point Lighthouse, California © Anderm | Dreamstime 25655072

Battery Point Lighthouse, California © Anderm | Dreamstime


Next, head to the scenic Battery Point Lighthouse, which you can walk to at low tide. Cough up all of $3 for a tour. Depending on time and the weather, you might check out the North Coast Marine Mammal Center, which requests donations to view the facilities where injured seals, sea lions and dolphins are rehabilitated. Or you can spend some time at the beach if the weather is nice. Beachfront Park is large and has calm surf.


Dinner should be spent at the Chart Room, with its excellent fish and chips and plenty of locals to chat with. Good Harvest Café is another great option, with vegetarian options galore and a fireplace for lingering. Your remaining budget will go far at either spot.


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