Northern California is home to some of the most breathtaking coastal views in the world. From towering cliffs to peaceful beaches, this region is a perfect destination for a scenic coastal road trip. We've pulled together our recommendations for an epic Northern California coastal road trip! We’ll take you on a journey along the coast of Northern California, highlighting some of the must-see stops along the way.
Day 1: San Francisco to Point Reyes National Seashore
Starting in San Francisco, head north on Highway 1 towards Point Reyes National Seashore. This drive will take you past stunning coastal vistas, including the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
Once you arrive at Point Reyes National Seashore, take some time to explore the beaches and hiking trails. Check out the historic Point Reyes lighthouse, built in 1870 and served passing ships for 105 years. Wear comfy shoes as the walk down to the lighthouse requires you to walk down 313 steps and back up.
Day 2: Point Reyes to Mendocino
Leaving Point Reyes, continue north on Highway 1 towards Mendocino. This stretch of the coast is home to some of the most dramatic cliffs and stunning views in California. Be sure to stop at Bodega Bay and Fort Ross State Historic Park along the way. Once you arrive in Mendocino, take some time to explore what is possibly the most charming storybook town in California and its many galleries, shops, and restaurants. Walk down to the beach on the trail located just behind the historic Presbyterian church.
Must Try: Patterson's Pub in Mendocino, a folksy Irish pub with epic eats and 26 beers on tap.
Day 3: Mendocino to Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Leaving Mendocino, head north on Highway 1 towards Humboldt Redwoods State Park. This 53,000 acre park is home to some of the tallest trees in the world and offers plenty of hiking trails and scenic drives.
Fun Fact: 17,000 acres of Humboldt Redwoods State Park is old-growth redwood forest, the largest collection of ancient redwoods left in the world.
Be sure to check out the Avenue of the Giants, a scenic drive through a forest of towering redwoods. You can also take a hike to the top of Rockefeller Forest to get a bird’s eye view of the park.
Day 4: Humboldt Redwoods State Park to Trinidad
Leaving Humboldt Redwoods State Park, head north on Highway 101 towards Trinidad. This charming seaside town is home to beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and stunning ocean views.
Be sure to check out Trinidad State Beach and hike to the top of Trinidad Head for panoramic views of the coast. You can also explore the town’s many galleries, shops, and restaurants.
Must See: If you are a plant lover, check out Fern Canyon! The canyon was carved over millions of years and now the canyon sprouts walls of various ferns and other moisture loving plants.
Day 5: Trinidad to Crescent City
Leaving Trinidad, head north on Highway 101 towards Crescent City. This coastal drive will take you past some of the most scenic views in Northern California, including the rugged coastline and towering sea stacks.
Once you arrive in Crescent City, be sure to check out Battery Point Lighthouse and explore the town’s many shops and restaurants.
Must See: Castle Rock Wildlife Refuge
Day 6: Crescent City to Klamath
Leaving Crescent City, head north on Highway 101 towards Klamath. This stretch of the coast is home to stunning ocean views, dense forests, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure. Be sure to stop at Redwood National and State Parks to hike among the towering trees and explore the park’s many trails. You can also take a scenic drive along Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway for breathtaking views of the park.
Day 7: Klamath to Eureka
Leaving Klamath, head south on Highway 101 towards Eureka. This charming town is home to historic Victorian architecture, beautiful beaches, and plenty of outdoor adventure. In fact this area has some of the most diverse architecture in California, with many built from original local redwood timber. You can also hike through the Headwaters Forest Reserve or take a stroll along the beautiful Humboldt Bay.
Fun Fact: Eureka was originally populated by the Wiyot people, a Native American Tribe that lived in the region for thousands of years.
Plan Before You Go
A road trip along the Northern California coast is an unforgettable experience. From the towering redwoods to the dramatic cliffs and beautiful beaches, this region offers some of the most stunning landscapes in the world. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, a road trip along the coast of Northern California is sure to be a trip of a lifetime.