I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: California’s North Coast is one of my favorite corners of America. The California North Coast is a mash-up of so many of my favorite things about America, and more particularly the West Coast. It’s got it all: Unspoiled wilderness, beautiful off-the-beaten-path beaches, great parks, warm people, and amazing craft food and drinks. It’s the Rivendell of America!

So after years away, I was finally able to return to the California North Coast last month. My week-long trip had all of the elements that I love about this section of California, from moody foggy days along the coast to hikes beneath the cover of redwoods to afternoon paddle sessions at the mouth of the Russian River to fresh shucked oysters in the harbor to having entire beaches to myself. These are experiences you can’t just have anywhere in California, with a certain “offbeatness” to the area that you can’t find in many places along the coastline of the West Coast.

So coming off the busy summer holiday weekend, today I’m sharing photos from my latest trip to the California North Coast. And then get yourself there. It’s a little bit of a drive, and it’ll get long and winding at times, but the reward is one of my favorite stretches of coastline in America.

Sonoma Coast State Park

Hiking Goat Rock State Beach

The mouth of the Russian River on the Sonoma Coast

Road trip California North Coast

Big Hendy redwood grove at Hendy Woods State Park

Hiking trail in Elk, California

Elk, California beach

California North Coast beach in Elk, California

Mendocino County coastline

Waterfront vacation rental in Jenner, California

Kayaking the Russian River in Sonoma County

 

Hiking trail at Sonoma Coast State Park