When visitors think of a vacation in California, they often see bikinis, hard bodies, sand and surf in their mind. Party towns, unique cultures, an eclectic art scene and movie stars fill their heads. California is all of that. There is so much more that this state offers visitors, too. Come and explore California’s North Coast. Here, a polar opposite to all you have ever thought of California waits to be explored.
Take a hike through quiet forest filled with majestic Redwoods. Watch as the surf curls and smashes against huge boulders. Feel the eerie loneliness as fog rolls thick and blinding from the ocean. This is the real California- wild and beautiful. The Redwood National and State Parks are tranquil places to rejuvenate. Walk among trees that tower 350 ft in the air. The ferns make a carpet around your feet as you follow the paths. Discover hundreds of shades of green in this place, all due to the plentiful rainfall. On average 60-80 inches of rain falls per year here. Bring your rain coat and a sturdy umbrella for your visit. Hike to Klamath River Overlook, where fresh water meets the Pacific Ocean. Here you can watch gray whales as they migrate (December- April) from your vantage point 650 feet above sea level. You may also spot Roosevelt Elks, huge mammals weighing in at half a ton, munching on the vegetation. Sea lions, brown pelicans and hidden beaches are also part of the joys of the parks.
Visit Mendocino on your North Coast trip for the freshest seafood dishes anywhere. Here among ragged cliffs and steely cold waters, fishermen haul in Dungeness crab, rock cod, salmon and more. Chefs create masterpieces from the fresh ocean hauls and guests enjoy their talents. A good way to enjoy the tasty gifts from Mendocino is at Mendocino crab, beer and wine festival which is held annually in January. Come and indulge in locally made wines, cioppino feeds and all-you-can-eat crab cruises. The owners of wineries, B&B’s and restaurants all join in to entice you with their offerings.
No tour of the northern coast of California would be complete without a stop in the City By The Bay, San Francisco. Everyone has heard of the famous cable cars that glide up and over high, steep hills and deposit shoppers in the district where a huge Macy’s store awaits them. Saks, Neiman-Marcus and Union Square are ready to fill your luxury gift ideas. After all of that shopping, stop and enjoy the beautiful Golden Gate Park. Here you can take a few minutes to catch your breath and enjoy the gorgeous scenery all around you. Rent a bike and pedal across the Golden Gate Bridge. Toss the Frisbee to your dog. Or just stare at the mesmerizing San Francisco Bay.
Make time in your trip to see the historic architecture all along this area. Victorian homes will lead your imagination to a time gone by when life was simple, gowns were elegant and furnishings were dainty. Follow the wine trails to thousands of vineyards and sample great wines. Enjoy mushroom festivals and county fairs and artists all along the coast, trying to capture the magnificence of the creation before them. Take good walking shoes and an open mind on your next California visit.