Things to do along the California Pacific Coast Highway:
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco and Marin County.
World’s largest urban park with 72,000 acres. Miles of urban
beachfront, redwood groves and dozens of hiking trails.
Marin Headlands, Golden Gate National Recreation Area. On the north
shore of the Golden Gate, between the bridge and ocean, with
outstanding views. The Farallon Islands can be seen from the western
Mount Tamalpais State Park. Extensive panorama of the Bay Area and the
ocean coast; numerous hiking and mountain biking trails.
Muir Woods National Monument. Pristine redwood grove with trails and limited guided tours.
Muir Beach. Scenic beach in southern Marin County.
Point Reyes National Seashore.
Miles of trails, some with sweeping
coastal vistas. Variety of habitats to lure hundreds of water and shore
birds. Unique vantage points to spy whale migrations.
Point Reyes Lighthouse, at the end of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, 16
miles west of Inverness, Point Reyes National Seashore. Located at the
bottom of 300 stairs. With ocean views and late-winter whalewatching.
(415) 663-1092. Closed Tues. & Wed.
Point Bonita Lighthouse, in the Marin Headlands. Connected to mainland by small suspension footbridge; fabulous views.
(415) 331-1540. Open Sat. and Sun. afternoons.
. Bordering Bolinas Lagoon, a birdwatching paradise, this town
may be hard to find. Local residents keep removing the road signs.
Audubon Canyon Ranch, on Hwy 1 at Bolinas Lagoon. Outstanding
birdwatching opportunity. Trail leads to observation area overlooking
blue herons and egrets nesting in treetops.
(415) 868-9244. Open
weekends, mid-Mar.- mid-July. Open Tues.-Fri. by reservation.
Tomales Bay State Park, on Tomales Bay, near Inverness. Tranquil
destination for non-motorized boating and swimming. Bay well sheltered
from strong ocean winds. (415) 669-1140.
Tomales Point Trail, at the end of Pierce Point Rd off Sir Francis
Drake Blvd, Point Reyes National Seashore. Easy 4.7 mile trail with
numerous tule elk and other wildlife. Tomales Bay on one side, Pacific
Ocean on the other.
(415) 669-1140, (415) 663-1092.
Bodega Head State Park, Bodega Bay. Part of the Pacific Flyway;
seasonal whale migrations and great ocean vistas.
Salt Point State Park. Beautiful coastal park popular with divers; good tide pools. (707) 847-3221.
Fort Ross State Historic Park, 11 miles north of Jenner on Hwy 1. Restored Russian compound built in 1812.
Sonoma Coast State Beach. From north of Russian River south to Bodega
Head. Over 5,000 acres of beachfront with great views from oceanside
cliffs, especially at Duncan's Landing.
(707) 875-3483, (707) 875-3483.
(707) 875-3483 Sonoma Coast State Beach.
Gualala. Tiny old lumber town close to many coastside wonders.
Kruse Rhododendron State Reserve, near Gerstle Cove, half-mile east of
Hwy 1. Amid a redwood forest, some of the blossoming plants are over
30'. Best April through early June.
Mendocino. Built along seaside cliffs, a charming New England-like village with shops and nearby coastal state parks.
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, 2 miles south of Fort Bragg on Hwy
1. Old botanical gardens featuring north coast plant species.
Mendocino Headlands State Park
, Mendocino. Sandstone bluffs and sculptures. Great vantage points for whale watching in season.
(707) 937-5804 Mendocino State Parks.
Mendocino National Forest
. Miles of forested trails, numerous mountain
lakes and rivers. More than 885,000 acres west of the Sacramento
Valley, including the Snow Mountain Wilderness Area and the southern
half of Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel. (916) 934-2350.
Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve
, 2 miles north of Guerneville. Numerous trails through 4000 acres of redwood groves.
. Good vantage points for seasonal whale migrations; boat trips for deep-sea salmon fishing.
MacKerricher State Park
, on Hwy 1, just north of Fort Bragg. Access to
beaches, forests and wetlands. Good tidepooling and fishing.
California Western Railroad’s Skunk Train
, connecting Fort Bragg and
Willits. Historic train passes beneath famous redwood giants.
(800) 866-1690 or (707) 964-6371.
Point Arena Lighthouse
, 1 mile west of Hwy 1 on Lighthouse Rd. 1908
lighthouse includes a museum; guided tours available. (707) 882-2777.
Manchester State Park
, west of Hwy 1, 7 miles north of the town of Point Arena. Lots of driftwood. Excellent for birdwatching.
. Small town in the scenic Anderson Valley, known for its own
language, Boontling. Stop and have a horn of zeese (cup of coffee) or
use a bucky walters (telephone).