California Cities


Gualala on California North Coast

Gualala (pronounced with the letter "w" as wa-la-la.

Getting to Gualala California: There are no airports in close vicinity to Gualala, so this is definitely a drive trip. The town is located on I-1 or Shoreline Highway. The closest major cities include San Francisco, a 2.5 hour drive away or Oakland, also 2.5 hours distance. Driving from Gualala to the Humboldt County Redwoods takes approx.3 to 3.5 hours.


For those who love the Pacific Ocean, whale watching, rain, sunshine, flowers, beaches and the small town feel, you gotta' head for Gualala and check it out. The town is located on the Northern California Coast where redwoods meet the sea and migrating whales pass, by visible from many vacation homes and residences. You suddenly realize the town's natural setting is incredibly rejuvenating for the soul. City dwellers who need to get away from it all--go!

Those who live in Gualala live primarily on the tourist trade, local services or are independently wealthy. Some of the fine houses built in the small town include award-winning architectural designs, and are owned as second homes or vacation rentals. One such house you can't go wrong with a stay at is Serendipity. You'll find it on the vacation rental sights.

For vacations, plan to explore the ocean, beaches, trails, woods, and back roads that ramble through green rolling hills. Perfect for kayakers, anglers, and photographers, the misty mornings offer great opportunities for mellow relaxation before the sun breaks through and everything kicks into high gear.

Expect to see deer grazing, wildflower abundance, sea lions basking on rocks, starfish, and migrating whales. The conjunction of several elements of natural beauty provides the setting for the town of Gualala. Located on the north bank of the Gualala River at its junction with the sea, on the south side of the river in Sonoma County, the headlands and beach at Gualala Point are a public park.

The town of Gualala has no particular town center or distinctive architectural style. Though charming in its own right because of the ocean setting and redwood forests seen in the distance, there are no visible remnants of the saw mills or logging industry that formed the town's economic base. The logging town eventually began to serve as a vacation destination and tourism is now its central economic activity.

Most buildings were constructed in the 1960's and 1970's and reflect the north coast style which is characterized by one- or two-story, wood frame structures with mildly sloping roofs and some overhang. Windows and door openings are simple.

Directly on the border of Sonoma and Mendocino County Line, Gualala's main thoroughfare is Highway 1. The commercial district of Gualala stretches along a two-mile section of the highway with stores, residences, and services scattered along the highway strip. There are very few sidewalks, so while some pedestrians brave the traffic and walk on the roadside, most drive their cars to access shops close by.

Gualala, is recognized as the southern "gateway to the Mendocino Coast," and serves as the commercial center for the surrounding area.

The Anchor Bay Beach shoreline access is requires a day-use fee. Informal coastal access (i.e., across private property) is obtained at several other locations, including Getchell Cove, St. Orres Beach, Cooks Beach, and at the Gualala River bridge.

Gualala Point Park, 42401 Coast Highway 1, approximately 1 mile south of the town Gualala, CA

Coastal access is available at Gualala Point Regional Park in Sonoma County (day-use fee). Gualala Point Regional Park is open daily from sunrise to sunset. Gualala Point Park is popular with day hikers, picnickers and also offers a beautiful setting for small weddings. For information call (707) 785-2377. The campground is situated among the majestic redwood trees and is adjacent to the Gualala River. Camping and reservation information.

The day use area of the park has a Visitors Center, picnic tables, BBQ's and restrooms. The campground has electrical outlets and coin operated showers ($1.50 for 5 minutes). There is also a dump station, but there are no RV hook-ups. Individual campsites, walk-to sites and a hiker/bicycle site are offered. Call (707) 785-2377.

Gualala River 195 acre park has open meadows mixed with coastal forest. The park contains a campground, trail system, Visitors Center, coastal vistas, and sandy beaches. The park is located adjacent to the Gualala River, which offers limited seasonal fishing. Please check current regulations.

The Visitors Center is hosted by volunteers and has outstanding displays of early California History, information regarding Native Americans, and the turn of the century logging industry. Hiking trails from the campground will take you through the 195-acre park.

Other camping options include Gualala River Redwood Park Campsite Rental -

The Gualala River estuary and lagoon is one of the primary environmental resources. It is a fragile ecosystem which provides habitat for numerous species, including the anadromous steelhead trout. The river offers numerous recreational opportunities and is a key element in scenic vistas from Highway 1 and other properties in Gualala.

Arts: Concerts, art exhibits, lectures, and facilities rentals are offered at The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Gualala Road. Call (707) 884-1138.

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