North Coast (California)
The North Coast of California has beautiful redwoods and small coastal towns. It stretches along the Pacific from the Bay Area to the Oregon border. The inland valleys of Mendocino County are a significant wine-growing area, and the region is noted for organic produce and its art community. Recreation opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, boating, kayaking, fishing, horseback riding and simple sightseeing abound. For those with more urban tastes, art galleries, winetasting, and upscale restaurants are plentiful. Working harbors at Fort Bragg and Eureka offer opportunities for whale-watching, crabbing tours, ocean fishing and the chance to buy fresh salmon right from the boat. Even a simple drive along any road in this region is a refreshing experience.
English is widely spoken and understood. Spanish is a minority language but not spoken as much as in the rest of the state.
United Express and Horizon Air fly into the Arcata-Eureka airport, near McKinleyville.
United Express flies into the airport in Crescent City, but keep in mind that flights are expensive and scarce at this particular airport.
There are various Amtrak terminals on the North Coast but none go north of the Eureka area.
Greyhound has terminals in Rio Dell, Arcata, and Eureka ( Note: the Eureka station is not a full-service station).
Horizon flies from Santa Rosa (STS) direct to Seattle, Portland, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
There are taxi cab companies, shuttles, and buses that provide public transportation.
Crescent City is home to Ocean World. This is an aquarium similar to Sea World (but much smaller).
Klamath is where the Trees of Mystery park is located. In addition to the actual trees, there is a statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.
There are three drive-thru redwood trees. One is the Chandlier Tree in Leggett. This is north of Laytonville, near the Highway 101 and Highway 1 junction.
The other two are located in Myers Flat (a town on the Avenue of the Giants)and Klamath (a town south of Crescent City).
There is a Redwoods National Park and a Redwoods State Park. Avenue of the Giants is a road that runs along side of Highway 101. It takes you through or near the following towns: Phillipsville, Miranda, Myers Flat, Weott, Redcrest, and Pepperwood. Many of the businesses that cater to tourists close after the summer tourist season. Phone ahead to verify opening dates and times.
Confusion Hill is near Piercy. This is a tourist attraction similar to the many so-called, "Mystery Spots."
Goat Rock Beach on Highway 1 between Jenner and Bodega Bay is a particularly scenic spot on the Sonoma Coast. There are many public beaches in this area, but most are too treacherous for swimming.
The Alexander Valley, Anderson Valley, Napa Valley, Dry Creek, and Russian River wine regions are all a day trip from Santa Rosa. There are hundreds of wineries, with tasting fees ranging anywhere from free to $20 and up. While most of the tourist-heavy wineries in Napa charge for a taste, many of the smaller operations in Sonoma and Mendocino counties do not.
Violent crime is low because the population is small on the North Coast. The usual safety precautions should be exercised.
Many campgrounds and state parks charge about $45/night for camping. If you're only camping to save money, it might be easier to find cheap motels.