Road Trip Part 3 – Highlights of the California Coast -Lighthouses, Wildlife, History and Other gems!

Sorry, I left you dangling back in the Redwoods ( here ) so it’s time to move on to the California Coast! We turned off 101 at Leggett and took the (very) winding road from the Redwoods down to Highway 1 – remember this map?

It turns out the road from Leggett is winding indeed and we had to stop a few times to ward off motion sickness. Still it was only an hour before we were hugging the wild and rugged California Coast and I saw huge birds soaring everywhere! I thought (hoped?) they were California Condors, which were reintroduced after being on the brink of extinction. Maybe. But more likely these were Turkey Vultures, not quite as romantic a name but still beautiful, don’t you think?

Glass Beach, Fort Bragg

We spent the night at Fort Bragg as a base for exploring the Mendocino Coast, and made our trek to Glass Beach – famous for the colorful sea glass in its sand.

Point Cabrillo Lighthouse

Just south of Fort Bragg we walked to the Light Station at Point Cabrillo.

I thought the lighthouse was cute, but I enjoyed the wildflowers and wildlife even more.

Mendocino Town and Headlands

We went to Mendocino for lunch and shopping but the best part was a walk on the bluff to see the beach and wildflowers.

Point Arena Lighthouse

The next day we continued south on Highway 1 stopping at Point Arena for a look at the 115 ft. Lighthouse, the tallest on the Pacific Coast. In a non-covid world we could have climbed to the top for a tour – not saying I would have, but anyway, isn’t it a beauty?

Next up – Fort Ross – get ready for some history!

Fort Ross

The fort was established by the Russians in 1812 to provide food to support their settlements in Alaska and fur to enrich the Russian-American Company. Many of the buildings are reconstructions but the Rotchev House, built in 1836 is original.

After exploring the fort we stopped for lunch in Bodega Bay and I remembered to watch out for the birds – you can’t be too careful!

We continued south along the scenic coast highway – where there were very few guardrails I might add – and ‘hug the center dear” became my mantra.

Occasionally we stopped so the driver could (safely) enjoy the views and once we were surprised by dozens of resting sea lions below!

But San Francisco was our final destination for the night and it wasn’t long before signs of civilization appeared.

I’ll save that for Part 4.

~ Susanne

20 Comments on “Road Trip Part 3 – Highlights of the California Coast -Lighthouses, Wildlife, History and Other gems!

  1. I love lighthouses, and I promise not not to mention ‘Mendecino Beano’ this time! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
    Oops!
    Best wishes, Pete

    • Go ahead and mention it!!! I’ll not be able to think of Mendocino without remembering you and Zappa! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  2. We did that same trip a few years ago on our way to Big Sur. The coast is amazing. We stayed a night in Fort Bragg and remember walking through the park there. I also remember a delightful seafood restaurant on the bay.

  3. Another thought, I think I saw somewhere that the Point Arena Lighthouse is the closest part of the mainland U.S. to Hawaii.

  4. What a fun tour. I have to say I love winding road, the more twisty the better! And more sunny weather, you were on a roll.

    • That road was definitely twisty and winding. It was pretty through the woods but I felt it after a while. (Full disclosure I was reading at the same time!) And truly we had the best weather possible for our trip, blue skies and sunshine and increasing temps each day!

  5. One of the most beautiful drives on earth…nature showing off! Terrific photos and a great guide for anyone who wants to take an incredible road trip!

    • Thanks so much John! It had been a while since we made the drive down Highway 1 and I’d forgotten how incredible it really is! A perfect road trip! πŸ™‚

  6. Thank you for the wonderful tour and a walk down memory lane! I used to travel to Bodega Bay and Dillon’s Beach a lot back in the day (less than 2 hours from Sacramento). I loved that movie “The Birds,” and got a kick out of seeing that signed picture of Tippi! I’m glad you got to see some of the lovely coast of NorCal, Susanne!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it Terri! We had such a wonderful time, I’d forgotten how beautiful the California coast really is! We stopped for ice cream and it was fun to see the signed picture hanging on the wall. I haven’t seen the movie in years, but I always remember it being filmed in Bodega Bay. πŸ™‚

  7. What a wonderful drive! We did the Big Sur etc between LA and San Francisco many years ago and ever since I’ve wanted to go back to do this northern California coast. One day …

    • It was wonderful! We’ve done the southern portion too but it’s been a few years. hope to do that again too .. 😊

  8. We took this same route on a road trip a few years ago…wonderful scenery, and your pictures are just gorgeous!! Really enjoyed this.

  9. Pingback: Road Trip – Part 4 San Francisco! – Cats and Trails and Garden Tales

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