Northern California Coast Road Trip – Part 1

Kristi from @travellovefashion and I took a seven night road trip starting in Los Angeles at 4am, stopping first near Santa Cruz at Pleasure Point Park for lunch at this little cafe along the cliffs. We then continued on to Natural Bridges State Beach, but unless you pay to park, the view from the lookout point isn’t that good.

Shark Fin Cove was our next stop, great view from up top and we hiked to the bottom to check out the tunnel that looks out to the ocean. We were able to finally find Davenport Pier, but didn’t get close enough, or look for the way to hike down to the beach from the cliffs above.

We made it to San Francisco and were planning to go to Kirby Cove to the swing, but it was so crowded. We parked on the right side up on the curb where there was dirt, then the cops came and told everyone to move or they’ll be giving out tickets. So don’t park anywhere it’s not clearly a parking spot. So we decided to leave and go to the Hippie Swing in Tiburon, now this was much better, only 2 cars parked along the street in this neighborhood on the hill overlooking the bay. It was a short hike to the tree with a very high swing, Kristi needed a boost to get up, but it made for some great photos and video.

Next we headed back South to meet Crystal @petiteadventurer for dinner at a chicken and waffle place, it was great to see her again since it’s been a couple months. We will be joining her and a few others on an epic trip to Iceland in September!

It was now time to check into our hotel in San Rafael. It was the cheapest we could find since we were only going to be there for about 8 hours to sleep. Unfortunately in the morning I found a bug in my bed, luckily it was on the outside of the sheets, but it could have been a bed bug or tick. I posted a photo on my Instagram Stories and everyone said it was a tick. We complained and got a refund for our hotel stay at least, but hopefully I don’t get Lime disease!

We were going to go back to the Golden Gate Bridge to check out the swing, parked, started walking down the path, then I looked it up on Yelp and recent posts said the swing was cut down and replaced with a rope. So we left and headed North to the Cypress Tree Tunnel which was amazing.

We continued on to Point Reyes Lighthouse which was so windy and cold, but pretty interesting. We then went to Bodega Bay and had lunch, checked out the bay, and headed North to Bowling Ball Beach. It was extremely hard to find, we finally found the turnout and headed down a trail, but it was the wrong trail. Take the one on the right, or North side of the turnout. Don’t go through the forest, but through a field. Then once on the beach, go right and you’ll see maybe 10 rocks sticking out of the sand, if it’s high tide. If it’s low tide you’ll see a bunch of rocks. Unfortunately we were there at high tide and could only see a few in the water while the waves crashed. So check on the tidal schedule if you want the best shot.

We didn’t make it to the Mendocino Headlands State Park for sunset, but found a lighthouse nearby and took some sunset shots there instead. Finally made it to Fort Bragg to our hotel and I don’t even remember what we had for dinner that night.

The next morning it was so overcast along the coast, we had planned to go back South 10 miles to the Mendocino Headlands State Park where they have a big arch you can walk on. But with the poor visibility, we decided to skip it, and the Glass Beach. It was time for one of the highlights of the trip, the Candelabra Redwoods. A friend told me about them last month, so that was one of the main reasons for this trip. It was a bit difficult to find the dirt road turnoff, especially since we passed it by 20 miles and didn’t realize it until I pulled over to check. We then went back, found the turnoff which was a one lane dirt road, pretty rough at times, with a cliff on one side sometimes, but not a problem for the Rubicon. I was a little worried about oncoming traffic since there were few places to actually pull over to let someone pass, but luckily on the way there, we didn’t encounter anyone. Just once on the way back in an area that was wide enough.

Once we made it to the campground area, we parked and looked around for the trailhead, couldn’t find it so we got back in the car, drove about 100ft and found it, parked in the turnout and made our way maybe 200 yards and found them! It was pretty amazing, we spent about an hour there shooting video and photos, just taking out time and enjoying the unique trees, all by ourselves. Oh yeah, on the way we almost hit a deer coming around a turn, luckily I stopped in time and it ran away unharmed.

We then went back the way we came, headed North to the Avenue of the Giants. We stopped a couple times, enjoyed the huge trees, then went to our best dinner of the trip at Larrupin Cafe. I had taken a tour group there on our Oregon Coast road trip a couple years ago, it’s the best restaurant in the area, so good!

After dinner we made the long 3 hour drive to Redding for our next adventure near Mount Shasta.

Check out my friends:
Kristi @travellovefashion
Crystal @petiteadventurer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *