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Here Are The 14 ABSOLUTE Best Things To Do In Redding, California

Redding, California, is a hidden gem in the heart of Northern California.

With its stunning natural landscapes, vibrant downtown area, and family-friendly attractions, Redding has something for everyone. 

But if it’s your first time visiting you don’t want to miss out on the best things to do in and around the area.

Read this post so you know exactly what to put on your Redding bucket list.

1. Visit the Sundial Bridge

The Sundial Bridge isn’t just a pedestrian bridge; it’s an engineering wonder. 

Designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, this bridge spans the Sacramento River and serves as a giant sundial.

Why You Should Go

Walking across the Sundial Bridge offers stunning views of the river and Turtle Bay Exploration Park. 

The glass deck of the bridge glows at night, providing a magical experience for visitors. 

It’s a perfect spot for photos, leisurely walks, and even a bit of educational fun as you learn how the sundial works.

2. Explore Turtle Bay Exploration Park

Turtle Bay Exploration Park is a 300-acre complex that includes a museum, botanical gardens, and a wildlife center.

Why You Should Go

This park offers interactive exhibits, a butterfly house, and beautiful gardens.

The Paul Bunyan Forest Camp is a hit with kids, featuring a playground and water features.

It’s an educational and entertaining experience for the whole family.

3. Discover Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park is about an hour’s drive from Redding and is known for its geothermal features.

You can see boiling springs, fumaroles, and the stunning Lassen Peak.

Why You Should Go

Hiking trails like Bumpass Hell and Kings Creek Falls offer breathtaking views of geothermal activity and lush landscapes. 

In winter, the park transforms into a snow-covered wonderland perfect for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

4. Go Deeper At Lake Shasta Caverns

Lake Shasta Caverns, located on the McCloud Arm of Shasta Lake, offers a fascinating journey into the subterranean world.

Why You Should Go

A visit to Lake Shasta Caverns begins with a scenic boat ride across Shasta Lake, followed by a bus trip up the mountains.

The guided tour takes you through a series of stunning limestone caves, showcasing stalactites, stalagmites, and other mesmerizing rock formations.

It’s an educational and adventurous experience, perfect for families and geology enthusiasts.

The breathtaking views of Shasta Lake from the caverns are an added bonus, making this a must-see attraction in Redding.

5. Cool Off At WaterWorks Park

WaterWorks Park is Redding’s premier water park, offering a variety of attractions for visitors of all ages to enjoy.

Why You Should Go

With its thrilling water slides, wave pool, lazy river, and splash zones for younger children, WaterWorks Park provides a fun and refreshing escape from the summer heat.

The park’s family-friendly atmosphere and variety of attractions ensure everyone has a great time.

Lounge areas and snack bars make it easy to spend the whole day enjoying the water and sunshine.

Whether you’re seeking adventure on the slides or relaxation in the lazy river, WaterWorks Park is a fantastic destination for a day of aquatic fun.

6. Hike the Sacramento River Trail

The Sacramento River Trail is a well-maintained, paved trail that runs along the Sacramento River.

It provides easy access to some of the most beautiful parts of Redding.

Why You Should Go

Whether you’re biking, walking, or jogging, the trail offers stunning river views, wildlife sightings, and access to the Sundial Bridge. 

It’s an excellent way to enjoy the natural beauty of the area without venturing too far from the city of Redding.

7. Visit the Shasta State Historic Park

Shasta State Historic Park is home to the ruins of what was once the bustling Gold Rush-era town of Shasta.

Why You Should Go

Explore the preserved courthouse museum, historic jail, and remnants of old brick buildings. 

This park provides a fascinating look into California’s Gold Rush history and is a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

8. Take a Tour of Shasta Dam

Shasta Dam is the eighth tallest dam in the United States and the largest reservoir in California.

It also forms Shasta Lake which is the largest man made lake in California.

It’s an impressive sight and a key component of California’s water system.

Why You Should Go

Free guided tours offer insights into the dam’s construction and operation. 

The views from the dam are spectacular, overlooking Shasta Lake and the surrounding mountains.

It’s both educational and visually stunning.

9. Enjoy Water Sports on Shasta Lake

Shasta Lake, with its 365 miles of shoreline, is the largest reservoir in California and a haven for water sports enthusiasts.

Why You Should Go

Rent a houseboat, go fishing, or try your hand at waterskiing and kayaking.

The lake’s many coves and inlets provide endless opportunities for exploration and relaxation.

10. Explore Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area offers a blend of outdoor activities and historical sites centered around the beautiful Whiskeytown Lake.

Why You Should Go

Enjoy hiking, swimming, and boating in the crystal-clear waters of Whiskeytown Lake.

Don’t miss the historic Camden House and the various waterfalls like Brandy Creek Falls, which are easily accessible and stunningly beautiful.

It’s also a great place to stargaze.

11. Wander Through McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

While technically within one of the other places on this list, it deserves it’s own mention because it’s not something you want to miss.

Located within Turtle Bay Exploration Park, the McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens feature themed gardens and walking trails that you’re sure to love.

Why You Should Go

The gardens are a feast for the senses, showcasing native and exotic plants, sculptures, and water features.

It’s a peaceful retreat for nature lovers and a great spot for a leisurely stroll.

12. Experience Cascade Theatre

The Cascade Theatre is a beautifully restored Art Deco theatre in downtown Redding that hosts a variety of performances, from concerts to plays.

Why You Should Go

Catch a live show or a classic movie in this historic venue.

The theatre’s stunning interior and excellent acoustics make any event a memorable experience.

It’s a perfect way to enjoy Redding’s vibrant arts scene.

13. Explore Castle Crags State Park

Castle Crags State Park is a dramatic landscape featuring towering granite spires, dense forests, and scenic vistas.

Why You Should Go

The park offers over 28 miles of hiking trails that cater to all levels, with the Castle Dome Trail providing stunning panoramic views of Mount Shasta and the crags themselves.

The Sacramento River runs near the park, offering opportunities for fishing and picnicking by the water.

The park is also home to a rich array of wildlife and plant species, making it a great spot for nature enthusiasts.

The striking rock formations and beautiful natural surroundings make Castle Crags State Park a must-visit for anyone looking to experience Northern California’s rugged beauty.

14. Visit McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park

McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park is home to the breathtaking Burney Falls, often described as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in California.

Why You Should Go

The 129-foot waterfall is the park’s centerpiece, cascading down to a pool surrounded by lush greenery.

The park offers several miles of hiking trails that provide different perspectives of the falls and the surrounding forest.

Fishing, boating, and camping are popular activities here, with Lake Britton offering a serene setting for water sports.

The visitor center provides information on the area’s natural history, making it an educational stop as well.

The stunning beauty of Burney Falls and the park’s tranquil environment make it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts and photographers.

Practical Tips for Visiting Redding

When to Visit

Redding enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and mild winters.

The best time to visit is in the spring or fall when temperatures are more comfortable for outdoor activities.

Getting Around

Redding is car-friendly, but many attractions, like the Sundial Bridge and Turtle Bay Exploration Park, are within walking distance of downtown hotels.

Consider renting a bike to explore the Sacramento River Trail.

Where to Stay

Redding offers a range of accommodations, from budget motels to upscale hotels.

One of the best places to search for hotels is Booking.com.

For a unique experience, you could also consider renting a houseboat on nearby Shasta Lake.

Interesting Facts About Redding

  • Redding is home to one of the largest sundials in the world – the Sundial Bridge.
  • The city was a key transportation hub during the California Gold Rush.
  • Shasta Dam is part of the Central Valley Project, which helps provide water to much of California.

Redding, California, is a destination that blends natural beauty, history, and modern attractions. 

Whether you’re exploring the great outdoors, diving into the past, or simply relaxing by the lake, Redding has something for everyone. 

Plan your visit today and discover all that this Northern California city has to offer!

Here’s a video that covers some of the places on this list too.

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Sophie Davis

Born and raised in the Bay area of California, Sophie is a California native. She joined our team in 2023 to create travel guides on California.

Learn more about the Traveller's Elixir Team.

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