Anderson River Park: A great pit stop for family road trips through Northern California

As I mentioned in my earlier blog post, my family has seen quite a lot of the I-5 corridor (actually all of it over the past 2 years). Finding new and exciting places to break up the drive without breaking the bank has always been of interest, so I was thrilled to discover the Anderson River Park, between Redding and Red Bluff, on our recent road trip. 

The expansive park is just a few minutes’ drive from the Interstate 5 Exit 668 for Central Anderson / Lassen National Park, and although it has a playground and tot play area, we never made it back to explore them. Instead, we hit the Anderson River Park trail to stretch our legs and enjoyed blackberry picking along the beautiful Anderson River itself. 

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of being singled out as tourists in a foreign land and offered a wealth of tips and insights from locals who want to be sure you enjoy your visit, you’ll appreciate how residents continued to appear before me and my husband in our Bay Area jeans and corduroy (it was 57 degrees when we left home that morning) and guided us to the kid-friendliest berry vines and most excellent shallow bays along the river where even our toddler could refresh himself as the temperature reached 100 degrees (that’s 37 Celsius).

When we were on our second jaunt of washing blackberry juice-stained hands and faces in the icy river, a dad-and-daughter team suggested we might also like… what? The gravel beach and WARM pond we could access just around the next bend. 

When I say warm, I mean tropical, waveless pond water with such clarity that we could watch the small fish swim around our legs—and identify one variety as what had to have been, no kidding, someone’s tropical fresh water aquarium gone free range.

If that weren’t fun enough, we were buzzed by a constant barrage of enormous dragon flies wing-splashed in lavender, face-painted in green, and representing half a dozen tribes from their mysterious kingdom.   

Our one hour stop turned into two and gave way to ice cream sold by a peddler and eaten by the river. The kids were exercised, refreshed, and ready for a few more hours in the car—but only after we promised to stop at Anderson the next time we passed through the area on I-5. 

If you’re driving by and need a good pit stop with the kids, be sure to check out Anderson River Park for yourselves. Here’s how to find it:


View Anderson River Park – Fantastic pit stop with kids in a larger map

For more help planning your family road trip with a baby, toddler, or young kids, see Part 4 of Travels with Baby, and don’t miss the Five ways I used my Take-Along Travels with Baby to help on this latest road trip.
Safe journeys,
Shelly Rivoli
Author of the award-winning Travels with Baby guidebooks

All content of this blog (c) Shelly Rivoli 2007 – 2011 

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