While we were in California, one of the lovely touristy things we did was of the natural sort. After we travelled up from the Monterey area to the Sonoma area, the whole family ventured out to Muir Woods National Monument just north of San Francisco. It's not really a monument at all. It's a redwood forest. But it was created at a time just prior to the national park system as we think of it today, and by designating the area a monument, it was both saved and preserved for future generations. And I'm so glad it was.
The redwoods here are tall, but more slender than those in other parts of California. It's fascinating how the area quite clearly just ends and becomes a different sort of forest. It's not very large, perhaps a mile or so deep, but it was lovely to breathe in the cool, damp air and observe the near-silence of the woods (as few birds make their home within).
After we left the woods, we drove the windy roads a bit further to the lovely Muir Beach Overlook. The sun was shining a bit low in the sky and it made for some spectacular (if windy!) photo opportunities. The Scot and I walked down the path to the little vista point that felt like you were flying over the ocean. It was a bit scary as I'm not fond of heights, but the view it afforded was magnificent.
If you find yourself in or around San Francisco, I really can't recommend this visit enough. Such beauty so close to an urban area, yet clearly unspoiled by humans. Wonderful.