Established in 1902, Big Basin is California's oldest state park. If you want to get lost, Big Basin is the place. With more than 80 miles of trails, Big Basin boasts over 19,000 acres of semi-wilderness, including a rare, virgin redwood forest. Hike into the park directly from one of Costanoa's trails or drive to either of the nearby entrances.
For a tranquil change of pace from the crashing waves and coastal winds, take a short jaunt inland from Costanoa to the lush solitude of Butano State Park. The park is close enough to ride your bike and is filled with twenty miles of trails throughout the snug canyons of Redwoods.
This state reserve hosts the largest and most important elephant seal rookery in North America. From December to March, during mating season, you must have a reservation for docent-guided tours. These guided walks take about two and a half hours and cover three miles. During the off-season, grab a permit from the entrance station and take a self-guided tour through the rookery.
Next to the Pacific Ocean itself, Costanoa's most visible landmark is Pigeon Point Lighthouse. Three miles north of Costanoa, this rather distinctive and flashy lighthouse has watched over the sheer cliffs and rocky shore since 1872. Its white tower has weathered shipwrecks, rumrunners, a fire, earthquakes, modern technology and even politics. It now stands as the second tallest lighthouse in the West and one of the most photographed lighthouses in the country.
Ten miles north and east of Costanoa, Pescadero was founded by Portuguese and Spanish settlers, who, knowing it was a favorite fishing spot of the Ohlone indians, named it "Fishing Town." In 1856, pioneers from the east coast came to farm the area, contributing the distinctive New England architecture that still stands today.