i'll be traveling to both the redwoods and yosemite national park with my boyfriend within the next two weeks and would really like some suggestions on the best hikes and places to camp out around those areas.
though, strenuous hikes are probably out of question, since, for the most part, i'm not fully in shape enough to do them.
Hmm, tough one. I was going to recommend Sentinel Dome and Lembert Dome for Yosemite, but then I realized it's still really early in the year, and both Tioga and Glacier Point roads will still be closed due to snow.
The various walks to the base of the falls are of course very worthwhile, but barely worth the word "hike".
Maybe the valley hike to the base of Nevada Falls is good, or there's always mirror lakes. I don't really know; I've mostly avoided the valley during my visits to get away from the crowds as much as possible.
The national park service and California park websites always have some good suggestions.
Try out these:
(note that this site lists stuff for winter--which is what it still is in Sequoia Park until mid-April)
and if you are worried about going someplace with Redwoods where it won't be quite as cold (but still cold)--and also has good hiking, try out this Redwood Park near Santa Cruz (south of San Francisco about 1 hour).
or this one just north of San Francisco (I highly recommend this one--which is beautiful, but less crowded than one would expect):
or one of these many state parks with Redwoods:
Here's the trail descriptions for Yosemite:
One other thing I should have mentioned:
Trails in Yosemite may seem short in some cases--maybe only 4 miles or so--but check and see if the trail changes elevation much. There are trails only 4 to 8 miles in length that seem simple when you look on the map--but that change elevation by over 2,000 or 3,000 feet in that short ways.
Another thing--map out your trail well--since there are over 800 miles of trails in Yosemite alone--and if you get on the wrong one, it may take you a few days before you realize that you took the wrong one to begin with--and are 20 hiking miles (or more) from your planned destination.