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Heading North of SF?

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Heading North of SF?

A few years ago my wife and I went to California and stayed in Monteray. We loved it. It was our first time there and we just couldnt get enough of the area.

This year we are planning on going back, but we are thinking about heading North of San Fransico.

The plan is to fly into SF and drive an hour or so to our first destination (Hoping you might help me figure our that destination). Spend a couple of days there, and then drive a few more hours up the cost. Spend a few days there, and then head back to SF, and spend a day or two there before flying back.

What we are looking for are beach towns. My wife loves to wake up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee and walk the beach. She also loves to shop in little ma, and pop stores.

Im looking forward to driving down more of HWY 1 and just stopping whenever we feel like it. If I can find a kayak rental some where along the way Ill be more than happy (was introduced to kayaking in Monteray and try to find a place to kayak every vacation we go on now).

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Thank you


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1. Re: Heading North of SF?

Look at posts in these forums: Marin County and Sonoma County, and look at a map. Also the Top Questions for each.

San Francisco...
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2. Re: Heading North of SF?

Look at bodega bay Jenner Mendocino. The north coast has a more rocky coast and fewer beaches

Napa, CA
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3. Re: Heading North of SF?

Bodega Bay might be a good choice for your first night. There are nice walkable beaches nearby. Then, you could drive up the scenic coastal highway to Mendocino or Fort Bragg. Fort Bragg has one of the longest beaches in Northern California. Mendocino has beautiful headlands that are great for walking but there are also beaches nearby and kayaking on Big River and through the sea caves in the rocky headlands . The shops in Mendocino are probably the type your wife would love.

After the Mendocino Coast, you could drive back to SF via Hwy 128 which goes through the Anderson Valley which has some beautiful redwood groves as well as a highly regarded grape growing region with some outstanding wineries. There's even one of the state's best micro breweries in Boonville. Last Sunday's SF Chronicle had a nice article about the region:


For the coast, our best weather is in the Fall. Summer can be foggy and cool.

Santa Cruz...
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4. Re: Heading North of SF?

I think Sonapaoma has a good plan for you.

Bodega Bay will be about an hour from SFO. The Bodega Bay Lodge is a good place to stay there. The beaches mentioned are not in town, but just north and there are several of them in the 10 miles up the coast before the Russian River.

On your way to Mendocino and/or Fort Bragg, north of Jenner, you will travel a part of the coast which rivals Big Sur. Then you will pass Fort Ross State Historic Park, which was an outpost of the Russians to trade sea otter pelts and keep their presence in the New World, in the early 1800's. There is a real photo op in the wooden Russian Orthodox chapel.


Three miles north of that stop for a coffee or a look at the Timber Cove Inn for the architecture and the views.

The next stop should be the small town of Gualala, which is an artist colony with galleries in town but a beautiful arts center south of town and slightly off the highway.

It is a great trip. Don't worry about the weather, the country is beautiful even if, or especially when, you run into some fog.

5. Re: Heading North of SF?

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