California-bound? Sure it’s tempting to only hit up the major stops: Los Angeles, swinging by Hollywood while you’re there, San Diego and on-trend San Francisco but if you want to taste California’s wild coast and glorious surroundings without a concrete block in sight, the North Coast is where it’s at.
Catch a flight to San Francisco because let’s face it. You can’t fly all the way to California and skip SF. Your friends would never forgive you. While you’re there, check out the essentials like Alcatraz, taking a selfie in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, munch on vegan sandwiches in the city’s alternative neighbourhoods and ride a tram or two. Short on cash? Experience San Francisco for free.
Destination: Mendocino Coast
After a few days in SF to get over jet-lag, it’s time to head north. After being on the road for 100 clicks or so, you’ll start to notice a dramatic change in landscape. The Mendocino Coast has long been a place for spotting some spectacular wildlife, from passing humpback whales and blubberific sea lions enjoying catching some rays on the beaches.[googlemap src=”https://www.google.com/maps?saddr=San+Francisco,+CA,+United+States&daddr=Mendocino,+CA,+United+States&hl=en&ll=38.539573,-123.101807&spn=6.117339,11.623535&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=49.176833,92.988281&geocode=FVJmQAIdKAe0-CkhAGkAbZqFgDH_rXbwZxNQSg%3BFZrJVwIdXfie-Ckz61Y8a7KBgDE7s8BB8pcP1g&oq=Mendocino&mra=ls&t=m&z=7″]
Only recently was the public given access to the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands which include a whopping 1,300 acres of land previously off-limits to hikers. This opens up 12 additional miles of trails along the coastline and access to endless fields of wildflowers, cypress and redwood forests and access to cliffs that overlook the ocean, caves and exposed reefs.
Hint: now is the time to pull out your hiking boots from the bottom of your closet.
Exploring Mendocino County
When places like this await, all we can say is, be prepared to spend your days outdoors, taking it all in.
- Where to see the tallest living tree in the world: Montgomery Woods, home of the most amazing, tall, gracious and ginormous redwoods in the world.
- Where to enjoy wild and remote camping: Jackson State Forest, if you’re willing to work for it! Volcano is one of the most remote campsites in the park and worth the hike to get there.
- Where to snap that perfect picture: The trails around Mendocino Village take you right down to the coast where you can get fab photos of rocky sea arches, ancient blow holes and hidden caves. These are the shots you’ll see on the front of postcards.
- And for great beaches: Van Damme State Park has acre upon acre of beach that look just like the one at the top of this post.