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Any advice on sights and routes to take from SF to Pt Arena...

Billings, Montana
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Any advice on sights and routes to take from SF to Pt Arena...

Staying near Point Arena in a rental house. We will be there 4 nights. Flying into SF on a Wednesday in October and out on a Sunday afternoon. Would the all coastal route be a complete bear for a drive. Was thinking about doing it on the way there but inland on the way back. Also, it looks like there is not much to do in that area. Which would be better to explore... Mendocino or Gualala? Is October too late for novice kayakers to explore coastal caves? Also interested in visiting some wineries. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

Boston and...
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1. Re: Any advice on sights and routes to take from SF to Pt Arena...

It does take a while to traverse winding Highway 1, but you will be richly rewarded all along the way. The views are spectacular, and October is the best, or at least the most dependable, for weather (e.g., getting to see all the spectacular scenery). Indian Summer isn't guaranteed, but it usually shows up then. This is good for kayaking, too. Bad weather, or bad weather way offshore that sets up big waves, is extremely rare in October. Caution would dictate going out in the morning only, in any season.

You will probably want to do one direction - up or back - taking US101 and California 128. This is the most efficient route. It also goes through the Anderson Valley, with its many wineries, and Boonville, a town with an interesting, quirky history. While the coastal route is interesting virtually all the way, you have options to cut across between US101 and Highway 1 at Sir Francis Drake Blvd. in Larkspur, Highway 116 in Rohnert Park, or River Road in Santa Rosa to save some time and wear on the arms. Actually, River Road takes you along the Russian River and through redwood groves, if that appeals. There are wineries on that route, too. Others might note that these options do not save a large amount of time, but they save some... Highway 128 is still the fastest.

One person's opinion: Mendocino is much more interesting than Gualala. If you take the coast route, you're likely to go through Gualala. There isn't much more to it than what you see from the highway. It's best to do Mendocino by foot - the town, the cliffs, the mouth of the river. Suggest reservations at the Mendocino Hotel's restaurant, too.

Paris, finally!
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2. Re: Any advice on sights and routes to take from SF to Pt Arena...

WoW!!! Driving with a covertible car, in October, stopping sometimes to taste a nice glass of red win....

Who could ask for more???

Paris, finally!
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3. Re: Any advice on sights and routes to take from SF to Pt Arena...

meant wine...vin ...vino!!

Watford
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4. Re: Any advice on sights and routes to take from SF to Pt Arena...

We drove north on Highway 1 from Bodega Bay to Mendocino in October 2003 and wish we could have the time to head back the same way. Awesome scenery. Fort Ross SP is worth a stop and Mendocino itself is delightful. Fancy restaurants (and a few affordable ones) and a great choice of B&B's. A truly wonderful place to hike, wander or just relax.

Not sure about kayaking though. However a couple of miles south there is a tiny beach right on Highway 1 that is part of Van Damme State Park and is said to be a popular launch point for scuba divers so may also be suitable for kayaking.

A few miles north on the way to Fort Bragg are The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens which are delighful.

There are some wineries inland on highway 128 near Philo and Fetzer have a tasting room in Mendocino itself.

Have a great time!

Billings, Montana
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5. Re: Any advice on sights and routes to take from SF to Pt Arena...

Thank you for all the info. We are really looking forward to relaxing and exploring at our own pace. We usually have kids tagging along, so it will be an experience to have this time to ourselves!

New York, NY
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6. Re: Any advice on sights and routes to take from SF to Pt Arena...

I am also going out to SF in October - flying in and out of SF and will be in the area for a week. I'd love some suggestions on towns to stay in on the coast as we are just planning our trip. Mendocino sounds lovely.. we're looking for a few towns that are pretty quiet, good restaurants, good hiking and/or other activities. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

Boston and...
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7. Re: Any advice on sights and routes to take from SF to Pt Arena...

Bodega Bay, Mendocino and Fort Bragg are all beautiful places to stay. Bodega is a good hub for things to see and places to eat. There are three good places to stay with views and fireplaces. Mendocino is lovely. There are several places to stay and eat, but the Mendocino Hotel is remarkably situated for views. There are also places in towns near Mendocino, so check a map and then hotels in those towns if Mendocino is full. Ft. Bragg also has some magnificent vistas of the ocean, river and cliffs. It's a ways up highway 1, though, and can be foggy. The chances of fog in October are small, however. You are truly choosing one of the best times of year to do this.

Paris, finally!
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8. Re: Any advice on sights and routes to take from SF to Pt Arena...

One post more and you will reach 300!! WOW!! The world is full of beautiful places and I want to see them all with you.