Vacation Ideas California Coast

Vacation Ideas California Coast #1: Bodega Bay is the place to go if you are looking for quiet, relaxed, small town atmosphere vacation ideas. Bodega Bay is a small fishing village in Sonoma County just a couple hours north of San Francisco. The California coast here is rocky and isolated and beautiful. Bodega Bay and the small town of Bodega offer a place to go for couples on a romantic getaway or anyone who wants enjoy the California coast with a little peace and quiet.

A highlight of the bay is Bodega Head. This is a small peninsula of land along the bay with two excellent ocean view walking trails. This is also a premier whale watching spot.

The shore along here consists of miles of small beaches and secluded coves, separated by the rocky cliffs and headlands Northern California is famous for. The beaches and the scenery are all accessible along Highway 1.

There are a few nice places to stay if you vacation in Bodega Bay. You can rent a very nice vacation home or cottage through Bodega Bay and Beyond Vacation Home Rentals.

Another is Bodega Bay Lodge which features excellent amenities, great water views and is the perfect spot for a romantic vacation.


Vacation Ideas California Coast #2: Healdsburg is a small town about 20 miles from the coast. It’s along Highway 101 about 2 hours north of San Francisco. Along with the towns of Geyserville and Guerneville, this area is a popular romantic vacation idea.

This area is the Russian River Valley and it’s loaded with off the beaten path wineries like Dry Creek Vineyard, Calderwood Inn, Camellia Inn and Everett Ridge Vineyards & Winery. Take a relaxing tour of the scenic countryside and visiting the wineries.

This is also a popular spot for vacationers to enjoy the outdoors. Biking and hiking are big as well as canoeing and kayaking on the Russian River. Check out SOAR Inflatables, Getaway Adventures / Wine Country Bike Tours or Burke's Canoe Trips. The Russian River is also the place to go for superb steelhead, shad, Smallmouth Bass, Bluegill, and Carp fishing. If you like hot air ballooning this is a great place because of the beautiful countryside.

Above the Wine Country Balloon Tours in nearby Sebastopol can get you in the air. One of the very best places to stay when vacationing in Healdsburg is The Honor Mansion. This is a beautiful and luxurious home with 13 rooms. If you are looking for romantic vacation ideas you can’t go wrong with Honor Mansion.


Vacation Ideas California Coast #3: The rugged California coastline that visitors come to enjoy and photograph just gets wilder and more dramatic as you go farther north. You can drive up Highway 101 a little inland or go Highway 1 for an intimate experience with this isolated and pristine terrain.

Gualala is one of the many great spots to vacation here and you should consider staying at the Sea Cliff on the Bluff. As the name implies, Sea Cliff is located high on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean and the Gualala River. Here you can relax on your own private deck overlooking the ocean. There’s shopping, boutiques and art galleries in Gualala.

Nearby is golfing at an 18-hole Scottish Links course, Sea Ranch. Head down to the Gualala River for swimming, canoeing and kayaking. Take a guided tour of the historical Point Arena Lighthouse. Take a day fishing trip with one of the boats at Point Arena Wharf.


Vacation Ideas California Coast #4: Way up the north coast of California, around the towns of Eureka and Ferndale, is an area often referred to as the Lost Coast. Comprised mostly of wilderness forest, this rugged coastal area is popular with backpackers and nature lovers and romantic couples looking to get away by themselves.

A nice place to stay is the bed & breakfast Gingerbread Mansion Inn in Ferndale. Built in 1899 and featuring 11 rooms, the beauty and splendor of this home has made it a popular subject of photographers. In Eureka, the Hotel Carter is a restored Victorian home that has been transformed into a luxury accommodation with a view of Humboldt Bay.

In the area you can visit the Humboldt Bay Wildlife Refuge and the Humboldt Botanical Garden. If you are visiting in August, check out the Humboldt County Fair & Horse Races at the Humboldt Fairgrounds.

Directly on the coast, in the Lost Coast area, are the King Range National Conservation Area and the Sinkyone Widerness State Park. Here you can hike the 25-mile Lost Coast Trail or hike to one of the beaches where you can camp, swim and surf.



Camping Channels Islands National Park
Photo Credit: flickr.com/photos/cityprojectca
Vacation Ideas California Coast #5: The Channel Islands are off the California central Coast. These isolated islands are a wonderful place for anyone seeking a pristine natural setting. They are often referred to as the “California Galapagos”. You can use the town of Ventura as a jumping off point to explore this extraordinary vacation resource.

There are various companies, such as Island Packers and Truth Aquatics that provide island boat tours, marine wildlife tours and whale watching tours. The Channel Islands provide a location for lots of activities. Bird watching and general wildlife viewing is superb here. For more active people you have a whole range of things to do here like kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, and island hiking.

There are five main islands – Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel and Santa Barbara. For you campers, all five islands allow camping, but be aware that this is primitive camping.


Vacation Ideas California Coast #6: For an unhurried relaxed vacation idea, try wine touring among the Paso Robles wineries. These wineries are located along the central coast of California. Originally, Paso Robles was a known for its hot mineral springs. The thermal waters in the area were considered healing elixirs for the sick.

But over the years grapevines have grown and changed the countryside into a wonderful landscape of wineries. The town of Paso Robles itself is a trip back in time with historic buildings and an art haven for painters and artisans. As for wineries, you can drive the back roads from winery to winery and have a wonderfully relaxed time exploring the rural countryside. You may want time your visit with the yearly events in the area.

In March there’s the Zinfandel Festival, in May the Wine festival and in October there’s the Harvest Wine Affair. Some of the major wineries in the Paso Robles area are the EOS Estate Winery at Arciero Vineyards, the Justin Vineyards & Winery, Meridan Vinyards, Tobin James Cellars, and York Mountain Winery.


Vacation Ideas California Coast #6: Carmel-By-The-Sea, California is a picturesque and beautiful place to vacation. This small seaside town has banned streetlights, franchise and billboards in an effort to keep the town as it was in years gone by.

There’s a lovely pet-friendly beach and the area just begs you to engage in a walking tour. There are a number of top quality art galleries to explore.

Mission Trail Park is 35 acres of tree-lined trails, footbridges and native plants. In July you can enjoy the Carmel Bach Festival which is a month-long celebration of concerts for the serious music lovers.

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