North Coast Travel Guide

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The House

The House

Dave

Drenched alternately in sun, fog, mist and rain, the North Coast changes moods with the weather. Forests of lofty redwood trees thrive in this moist, cool climate. Wild salmon swim up the Klamath, Eel, Smith, and other ancestral streams. Eagles soar overhead, whales cruise offshore, and sea lions lounge on the rocky outposts amid wild, crashing surf. Travel north on the rocky, wind-swept coast on Highway 1, then venture inland to Highway 101- head further north to verdant redwood groves or southward to beautiful vine covered river valleys and dense forestlands of the wine country.

Napa and Sonoma, located just about 50 miles north of San Francisco, are the North Coast's premiere wine producing regions as well as lands of romance and enchantment. Discover wine tasting at individual wineries, or board the Wine Train for a full service experience. Bicycle along the rolling hills and see the golden mustard fields along the vineyards. Walk through charming towns while enjoying quaint shops, boutiques and world class restaurants. Relax and stay awhile at any one of the spas or bed and breakfasts throughout the region. Whatever your interest, the wine country has something for you.

Along the Sonoma coast are the quaint villages of Bodega, Gualala, Jenner, Sea Ranch and Valley Ford, known for their B&B's, whale watching and antique shops. Monte Rio features riverfront beaches, romantic inns, and interesting shops and restaurants. North of picturesque Jenner-by-the-Sea stands Fort Ross State Historic Park, established as a Russian outpost in 1812. Farther north on the coast is Kruse Rhododendron State Reserve, where flowers bloom from April to June.

And yet these sights are only the entrance to the heart of the North Coast: hundreds of miles of beautiful coastline, redwood forests and beautiful mountains lie northwards!

Mendocino County combines the beauty and wildness of the north with the wine country of central California and the culture of Bay Area; the town of Mendocino itself is a haven for artists and nature-lovers. The coastal area -- along Highway 1 -- is most striking, but the beautiful Russian River wends inland as well. Along 101, the rather humdrum town of Talmage is host to a surprising sight: a 500-acre Buddhist community called the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.

Following the coast northward again brings you to Humboldt County and the heart of redwood country. There are also some fun towns to explore, most notably quaint Ferndale, the Old Town area of Eureka and Arcata's hippy hangout, the Plaza. However, the real reason to come to Humboldt County is to experience its incredible natural beauty. Gorgeous parks range from Benbow and the Eel River region in southern Humboldt to the striking rocky coasts at Patrick's Point.

North of Humboldt is Del Norte County, home to Puerto Plata City; to the east are the beautiful mountains of Trinity County.

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