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Trip List by GD2004

California's Lost Coast

May 1, 2006  Recent trip to this region
3.5 of 5 stars based on 10 votes

Wildflowers, vast and empty beaches, roads nobody else is driving - what better way to welcome spring

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Shelter Cove, Ferndale, Scotia, California, Fortuna, Fort Bragg
  • Category: Roadtrip
  • Traveler type: Sightseeing, Active/Outdoors, Beachgoers
  • Appeals to: Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Singles, Families with small children, Families with teenagers, Large groups, Students, Budget travelers, Active/adventure, Tourists
  • Seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Shelter Cove
    Shelter Cove, California

    Here you'll find an amazing black sand beach you can walk for miles past huge surf - and hardly see a soul

  • 2. Ferndale
    Ferndale, California

    Beautiful Victorian houses and quaint antique shops, and moving through town you'll find your way to Mattole River Road - a narrow, winding, but incomparable drive

  • 3. Mattole River Road

    This is an amazing drive from antique filled Ferndale along a raw and twisted coast, with stunning ocean views, lighthouses, a few cows and horses - hardly any other cars and no civilization past Cape Mendocino. After moving inland through the town of Honeydew, it will take you out through the redwoods and onto hwy. 101 again. Not for the car sick!

  • 4. Scotia
    Scotia, California

    This is one of the last "company towns" around California, and as such is historically interesting. The old hotel is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, and the restaurant excellent if somewhat expensive. It is also quite interesting to take the self guiding tour of the massive lumber mill here.

  • 5. Avenue of the Giants
    Avenue of the Giants, California, United States

    Trees, trees, very big trees. Shops you can stop in made from tree trunks. Cabins made from tree trunks. Great espresso shakes in shops made from tree trunks and logs. Mighty logs. And of course there are Drive Through Trees (don't bring your Expedition) and hokey attractions like Confusion Hill (we go to lots of these gravity doesn't apply type of places - the best one we've found in Montana, near Glacier National Park but that's another story).

    And of course there are still growing, beautiful trees along with all the kitsch.

  • 6. Fortuna
    Fortuna, California

    In our family's opinion a great place to stay. Relatively inexpensive and centrally located - from here you can easily visit Ferndale, Scotia, Avenue of the Trees, and less conveniently, Shelter Cove on the lost coast. They don't call it lost for nothing. Garberville is closer to Shelter Cove, but in our opinion the accomodations are less attractive and/or substantially more expensive; there's a certain just passing through feeling to that community that isn't particularly welcoming. Fortuna is a real town, with an excellent brew pub that serves dinner LATE - so you can do your drives and hikes and hit the motel hot tub before you eat - at least we did.

  • 7. Fort Bragg
    Fort Bragg, Mendocino County

    Yes, Mendocino is more picturesque, but here you'll find the beach with the sea-smoothed pieces of glass- hours of picking fun, and nothing else like it anywhere we've seen. A good stop on the way to or from San Francisco. Lots of nice beaches just north of town - and if you have four wheel drive consider accessing the Lost Coast north of Westport instead of going up the 101 and then swinging west from Garberville.