Sometimes you need to get away-really far away. The drive seems long between San Francisco and the redwood forests in Humboldt County (home to the world's tallest tree) so an ideal way to break up the trip filled with winding country roads is to stop in Gualala. Located at the border of two counties, Sonoma and Mendocino, Gualala has some top notch vacation rentals that provide virtually the only places to stay overnight. While there are a few hotels scattered along this portion of the coast, the vacation rentals are more abundant and some steal the show.
Our favorite rental is called Serendipity (www.vrbo.com/54304). It was built within the decade and is a show stopper, winning an award for its architectural design. The wood patio decks overlook the Pacific Ocean, where migrating whales can be seen as you sit in the bubbly sauna. You can also watch the ocean from the living room, and even from the beds in rooms that face the ocean. A nice couple who owns the home (the guy's name is Richard) have begun renting it without the week minimum they used to require. You'll want to stay longer once you see the fabulous house! For other vacation rentals in Gualala: vrbo.com/vacation-rentals/usa/california/north-coast/gualala.
Gualala (pronounced wa-la-la) is a modest town that attracts tourists who come for the peace and quiet. Nature hikes, ocean life, fishing, kayaking, photography and some special events hosted at the Gulala Arts Center provide low-key entertainment and diversion from the pressing matters in your life.
Gualala has several convenience markets, a gas station, a few restaurants, and services in its little town. We've not discovered any memorable restaurants as of yet, so it's the kind of place where you should take full advantage of BBQs on the deck of your rental.
Getting there: There aren't any airports in close vicinity to Gualala, so this is definitely a drive trip. Take Highway 1 (Shoreline Highway) from San Francisco, approx. 2.5 hours away. Driving from Gualala to the Humboldt County Redwoods takes approx. 3 to 3.5 hours. Read more about Gualala...>