The North Coast, sometimes referred to as the Redwood Empire, runs from the idyllic Del Norte beaches near the Oregon border all the way down to the extraordinary Marin County. The mostly rural area is home to magnificent places you just can’t miss, such pods of whales swimming through the deep-blue seas and centuries-old towering redwoods.
A few of the thrilling possibilities include visiting Wine Country, learning about the Lost Coast, and taking a boat cruise along the North Coast. The picturesque coastal region must be seen to be believed; the breathtaking vistas and great attractions demand a trip to the North Coast. If you are looking forward to exploring California’s North Coast, make sure to read this guide and go ahead.
Best California’s North Coast trips
Don’t miss Alamere Falls, a unique tidefall that runs into the ocean, if you’re passing through the North Coast.
Marin County is the first stop on your North Coast getaway when you’re traveling down the Pacific Coast Highway in Northern California. As you pass the Northern California Coast Ranges, Mount Tamalpais, the county’s emblem, comes into view. The park’s summit, which covers 6,300 acres and has 60 miles of hiking paths, is its most notable feature.
Marin’s Point Bonita Lighthouse is must-see. The lighthouse, which lies in the Marin Headlands, was constructed in 1855 and is still operational today. You may learn about the area’s remarkable geology, natural scenery, and interesting history by taking a somewhat steep half-mile trek there.
Without going to the Point Reyes National Seashore, your trip to the North Coast would be incomplete. The long stretch of protected coastline, which is home to the famous Alamere Falls, a tidal fall that descends to Wildcat Beach, is a natural haven that you just can’t miss. Visit the Sonoma coast’s state parks for crystal-clear water, tidal pools, and breathtaking views.
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Sonoma, which is located in the same-named county, is a renowned location in California Wine Country. The valley is home to several stunning sites, including Quarry hill Botanical Garden, Mission San Francisco Solano, and Sonoma State Historic Park, and it hosts a broad variety of year-round festivals and events, such as the Sonoma International Film Festival.
Visit Salt Point State Park with the family; it’s a must while traveling to Sonoma on a thrilling North Coast trip. The park, which spans 6,000 acres and has 20 miles of hiking trails in addition to six miles of rocky, unforgiving coastline, offers a wide range of watersports possibilities as well as California’s first underwater sanctuaries.
Watch the breathtaking majesty of Glass Beach, one of the many breathtaking natural marvels Mendocino has to offer.
Sonoma County is the biggest wine producer in California Wine Country and is home to over 250 wineries, despite the fact that its wineries may not be as well-known as those in the Napa Valley. The county’s vast areas, stunning coastline, the towering trees at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, and the coastal village of Bodega Bay, where Alfred Hitchcock’s suspenseful The Birds was shot, are all explored by more than seven million tourists annually. Fort Ross is a state historic monument that maintains a fur trading station that was run by Russia from 1812–1841 for people with an interest in early California history.
Mendocino is the ideal place to spend your holiday along the North Coast because of its charming city, stunning scenery, and world-class vineyards. One of the most breathtaking views in this area is Glass Beach, a former landfill that is now a popular tourist destination. Years of rubbish disposal along this shoreline have left the sands littered with multicolored sea glass.
Russian Gulch State Park is the place to go if you want to see the Mendocino Headlands from a great vantage point. The park has stunning scenery like the Frederick W. Panhorst Bridge and a 36-foot waterfall that cascades into a bower of redwoods, mosses, and ferns. It combines a lush, three-mile canyon with beautiful beaches along the rocky coastline. The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens are a popular destination in California that you may visit whenever you want. There is always something blooming here on its 47 acres of canyons, marshes, coastal bluffs, and closed-cone pine forest. Is there somewhere on the north coast with as much vibrant greenery as Humboldt? Explore this wonderland for a while.
Mendocino County, located midway between San Francisco and the Oregon border, is home to redwood forests, vineyards, breweries, and undeveloped, far-flung shoreline. In addition to its natural attractions, the county is home to the 400+ acre City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Ukiah, which is the biggest Buddhist temple in the Western Hemisphere. The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens are a 47 acre public garden with views of the ocean that is close to Fort Bragg. The Skunk Train, a railroad that has been running since 1885 and takes passengers 40 miles through old growth forests and across historic trestles between Fort Bragg and Willits, is a less strenuous option for those looking to enjoy the scenery. While hikers and backpackers have plenty of options, they should also know that there are many other ways to enjoy the area.
4. Humboldt County
The next destination is Humboldt as you continue north. This place is well-known for its majestic coastal redwoods, but there are also many other parks, beaches, and preserves throughout the county. The county seat, Eureka, is unlike any other city you have ever seen; on one side, it is surrounded by the magnificent multi-basin Humboldt Bay, and on the other, by mountains covered in dense stands of enormous redwoods. This city is also home to Sequoia Park Zoo, the oldest zoo in California. Its seven acres are home to 200 vertebrates, hundreds of invertebrates, and a variety of rhododendrons.
Additionally, you should go to Humboldt Redwoods State Park, which is home to the biggest continuous old-growth coastal redwood forest still standing in the world. Drive the picturesque Avenue of the Giants, which is 31 miles long, and take in the vistas of the enormous trees as you pass through the dense forest.
5. Del Norte County
Del Norte is where your North Coast trip will end. The county is well-liked among Bigfoot enthusiasts and environment lovers looking for outdoor experiences because of its mountainous coastline, California redwoods, and ancient lighthouses. Visit the Trees of Mystery in Del Norte County for a thrilling adventure. It’s one of California’s odd roadside attractions. The park’s 49-foot monument of Paul Bunyan and its 35-foot statue of Bunyan’s companion, Babe the Blue Ox, are its two most well-known features. It also offers interpretative paths through enormous redwoods and a variety of interesting tree formations.
You’ll be taken aback by a trip to the Redwood National and State Parks as well. Large prairies, oak woods, wild rivers, and over 40 miles of rocky shoreline may be seen in the protected forests, beaches, and grasslands along Northern California’s coast.
What are the best hotels in California’s North Coast
There are few outstanding hotels available for you to stay when you are exploring California’s North Coast as well. Here are some of them.
1. Casa Madrona Hotel and Spa
Casa Madrona Hotel and Spa is the perfect North Coast vacation rental since it offers a magnificent hideaway amid Marin County’s breathtaking settings. The hotel is situated on a hilltop with views of San Francisco Bay and is included on the National Register of Historic Places. Each of the amenities available at Casa Madrona—mansions, hillside cottages, and harborside rooms—is more exquisite than the last. The spa program is also remarkable; clients seeking relaxation may choose from facial treatments, peels, therapeutic massages, and wellness trips.
2. Timber Cove Resort
The seaside getaway you didn’t realize you needed is at Timber Cove Resort. The resort is one of the greatest places to stay when visiting Sonoma County’s North Coast since it is perched on a picturesque cliff high above the Pacific Ocean. Timber Cove welcomes pets and has 46 guest rooms, including eight newly built suites. In addition to the necessities, each room has a range of extras, such Crosley LP record players that come with an impressive library of vinyl recordings. Along with everyday activities like hikes and wine tastings, the resort also provides visitors with access to other entertainment options in the neighborhood. At this charming holiday home on the North Coast, there are firepits in the outdoor living area where you may unwind at night.
3. The Stanford Inn by the Sea
The lovely Stanford Inn by the Sea is situated on a meadow with views of the Mendocino Bay and organic gardens. The tranquil inn is without a doubt one of the nicest places to stay while on vacation along the North Coast. The hotel’s certified-organic gardens serve as inspiration for the famed on-site Ravens Restaurant’s gourmet plant-based cuisine. There are many things to do here, including free mountain biking, gardening, cooking, and yoga courses, as well as creative workshops where you may express yourself via painting and sketching. Once you visit the inn’s spa facility, your trip to the North Coast becomes even better.
4. The Front Porch Inn
The Front Porch Inn offers handmade housing in authentic Humboldt style, offering travelers seeking a retreat comfort, quality, and uniqueness. The inn, which is one of the best places to stay when visiting the North Coast, underwent extensive renovations recently to acquire its distinctive rustic-chic look. The bathhouse delivers a one-of-a-kind experience where you may find a new feeling of calm thanks to individual outdoor deep soaking tubs surrounded by living fern walls, open sky, and fresh air. Relax beside the pond and take in the serenity of the garden while enjoying a private vacation along the North Coast.
5. Visit White Rock Resort
Visit White Rock Resort Ocean Rentals to find a temporary residence. Each of the fully furnished beachfront cottages has its own distinct style, character, and history while providing outstanding service and breathtaking ocean views. Every cottage at White Rock Resort has a veranda where you can watch the sun’s last rays go into the horizon and a hot tub. Your break along the North Coast has never been more comfortable or well equipped.
Best boat tours
You can find numerous boat tours in the region as well. If you are interested in getting the best experience, you may go ahead with these boat tours.
1. Blue Waters Kayaking
Outdoor activities of the highest caliber are offered by Blue Waters Kayaking throughout the Point Reyes region and beyond. They are available as rentals, excursions, and workshops for groups of any size. The highlight of your trip to the North Coast is learning how to peacefully traverse Tomales Bay while admiring the natural beauty of kayaking. The kayak programs emphasize environmental awareness while working to protect the Marin County inlet.
2. Bodega Bay Sailing Adventures
During your trip to the North Coast, a three-hour sailing tour of Bodega Bay can be just what you need. The impeccably kept 33-foot yacht from Bodega Bay Sailing Adventures provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience where you may make memories with your loved ones. Make sure to say hello to any whales, dolphins, sea lions, or harbor seals you see.
3. Captain Dan’s Noyo Tours
Experience life on a boat with Noyo Harbor Tours while admiring the stunning Noyo Bridge. The hour-long North Coast boat trip is just what you’d expect—as you take in the breathtaking countryside, harbor seals, ducks, and sea lions come into view. As you float through the enchanted waves, unwind, and relax.
4. Trinidad Kayaking
With some of the greatest coastal paddling in the whole world, Kayak Trinidad offers a range of alternatives for paddlers of all abilities to get the most out of their trip along the North Coast. Take a Trinidad Bay whale and animal excursion to learn more about what makes these waters so unique.
Visit the North Coast with Klamath Jet Boat Tours and take a two-hour jet boat trip. While traveling 45 miles up the Klamath River, you may discover more about its past, the Yurok Tribe’s culture, and the local animals. View bears, elks, deer, bald eagles, hawks, ospreys, and golden eagles.
Now you know how to get a thrilling experience by visiting California’s North Coast. Go ahead and plan your tour accordingly based on this. Then you will be able to get the most out of what you do here as well.