Home Americas Driving down California’s Redwood Coast: List of Scenic Stops

Driving down California’s Redwood Coast: List of Scenic Stops

written by ParoChak June 12, 2016
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Redwood coast drive

Picking up from where I left in the first post (a pet friendly guide to Mendocino), this post is all about our adventures along the redwood coast and pit-stops while returning to San Francisco after a restful long weekend at Little River, just south of the town of Mendocino. On our way up, we had taken the 101 North and 128 west (dotted with wineries) to get to our destination, so we decided to switch things a bit and take the Scenic highway/coastal route, aka California 1 for part of our drive back home. The scenic highway, although extremely winding,blesses you with incredible sights if you are in the passenger seat, with the jagged coastline, waves thrashing on the rocks and the angry waters of the Pacific, all meshed into one beautiful scene like no other. Also, we wanted to explore the small towns along the coast as we drove along, so we stopped at several points along the way.

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Redwood coast drive: Point Arena lighthouse

First on the list along the redwood coast, was Point Arena Lighthouse which is perched precariously on a piece of land jutting out into the ocean, that doubles up as a fog breaker for the coast down south. The lighthouse requires an entry fee and dogs are not allowed inside the structure, so we were content to take a few photos from a distance on the grounds like most others with their cameras. It was intensely foggy when we arrives, so much so that the top of the lighthouse had been completely swallowed by the fog. But we had fun taking in photos of the stormy sea-waves and the surrounding meadow, after which we continued our drive southward down the redwood coast.

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Redwood coast drive: Gualala

We drove through the quaint little town of Anchor Bay into Gualala, the last point of Mendocino county along the redwood coast, which gives way to Sonoma county. Gualala is famous for its inns and viewing points offering whale-watching from Dec-March and is another dog friendly town. We explored the Gualala bluff trail , part of the redwood coast conservancy effort, with the trail-head starting from the Surf motel (you cannot park there and parking has to be done on the street). The trail is a short one and provides amazing  estuary and ocean views for a half-mile stretch, parallel to the bluff edge as it runs west of the city’s commercial district. Because of sightings of otters, sea-lions and pelicans, this trail is not only popular with photographers but also with dog-owners since it is dog friendly. If you want to have even more fun with your pooch, a short drive further down will yield Gualala point regional park and beach, but the intense fog overruled beach exploration for us. For more ideas on where to stay and have fun with your canine companion in this beautiful village, visit this website.

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Redwood coast drive: Guerneville

We turned east from Gualala into the town of Guerneville in Sonoma County, which is know for its good eats. Guerneville is modestly dog-friendly and we did find a few places with outdoor seating that allowed dogs. We had a quick bite at Boon Eat + Drink, a nice little eatery with outdoor high chairs and then strolled through main street/downtown to peek into the local stores. After stretching our legs, it was back into the car and the final stretch to home, sweet home. As we drove out of the Robin Williams Tunnel, we were greeted with heavy fog that had enshrouded the Golden Gate bridge completely, with only the side railings peeking out. That was a surreal sight to behold, but we crawled along with the other cars and made it to the other side safely!

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This in a nutshell, was a long weekend well spent with Babu up north along the redwood coast, beyond the popular Sonoma county. The next dog-friendly trip will be down south, so watch out for this space!

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Redwoods driving dogs California coast road trip

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