A trip up the rugged coastline through Mendocino County offers amazing vistas of the ocean’s mighty powers, stretches of sandy beaches and the opportunity to watch migrating whales. You will be able to enjoy some of the best wines in this wine country and witness some of the most beautiful redwoods you’ve ever seen. Start your trip in Santa Rosa, California. Here you can feel the flavor of the art and culture before beginning your 130-mile drive up the coast.
Before you reach Bodega Bay, stop at Doran Park, a spot to stand on a cliff to see the fabulous views of the Pacific. Take a nature walk or picnic in one of the lovely picnic areas. Go clamming or surfing. The opportunities are virtually endless. Move on to Bodega Bay and pull over into any one of the outlooks to see the crashing waves against the rocky coast. RV camping in Bodega Bay puts you in close reach of the ocean. Try Bodega Bay RV Park for the ideal place to make a home base for a while.
Sonoma Coast State Beach gives you the chance to get out and stretch those tired muscles. Get in some beachcombing. You can even fish from the shore. There are dozens of places along Highway 1 to get to the beach. Even if it is slightly foggy, it won’t last long. It should burn off by the middle of the day.
Need your history fix? The Fort Ross State Historic Park will give you that. Tour the historic structures from the 1800s, including the stockade, a Russian chapel and blockhouses. Continue your journey then to The Sea Ranch. The structures here are among the most creative in California. Coastal access is easy at numerous points. There are many trails leading to the beaches.
Further up the coast, you will find Anchor Bay which also has RV camping if you want to stay here for a day or so. At Anchor Bay Campground you’ll find amazing spots right on a bluff above the beach. Next stop? Manchester State Park. You can fish in either of the two streams in the park, or you can hunt for driftwood. There is a lot of it because of the way the beach curves to form a sort of “catch basin.”
Greenwood State Beach is a real pleasure when you wish some lovely views of the ocean. This spot was a lumber town in the late 1800s. Stop by the Visitor Center to see what life was like in those days. Pick up a few mementos before continuing your trip. When you reach Highway 128, it is highly recommended to take a short detour to visit Navarro River Redwoods State Park. You will discover an eleven-mile tunnel of redwoods where you can pull off and have a picnic or swim in the Navarro River.
Keep going for more wonderful sights. Stop at Cabrillo Point to see the lighthouse and take the self-guided nature trail at Jug Handle State Reserve. Your trip is coming to an end, but there is more to see in Fort Bragg, California. The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens offers a quiet place to recall the favorite parts of your trip and prepare yourself for heading home.