Isn’t it magical to think that while you’re standing on the shore of a beach, gazing at the blanket of ocean, there is an entire world just underneath the surface, a world that’s home to one of the biggest creatures that has ever lived? And while we hardly ever see them from the shore, there’s a special time of the year – every winter and spring – when the Pacific coast becomes a highway for the great grey whale migration and land-dwellers get to spy these enigmatic animals.
From National Park land to downtown streetscapes, hillside perches to coastal lighthouses, HI hostels are located in some of the most beautiful settings Northern California has to offer. So perhaps it's not surprising that so many staff members across our hostel network are talented (and prolific) artists: they've got a lot of inspiration to work with!
When you think of urban animals, what comes to mind? Pigeons on the sidewalks? Creepy crawlies in the subways?
At the Marin Headlands, you don't have to go far to see the kind of cuddly creatures Northern California is famous for. From seals and sea lions, to river otters and even grey whales, this ocean-side piece of National Parks land just north of San Francisco attracts all kinds of marine mammals and the visitors who love them.
Wouldn't it be nice to be able to fly south with the birds for the winter to bask in sunshine? Well, if you can't join the birds, you can watch them soaring overhead as they travel to balmier climates.
There are giants in California. They jut out of soil dampened by fog rolling in from the Pacific and reach greater heights than any other living thing on the planet. They are the coast redwoods: the world’s tallest trees. Many of them grow to be over 200 feet tall and the tallest soar to over 350 feet -- higher than a 30 story skyscraper. When you’re in the middle of redwoods and look up, you won’t be likely to see the tops of the trees and it’s fascinating to realize there’s a hidden world in the canopy above.