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North Coast Small Towns

North Coast Small Towns Overview

North Coast

The North Coast of California has a wide variety of small towns. Some are situated in the shadows of towering Redwood trees. Others are located along the rugged and picturesque coastline. The region of coast from Ferndale to Rockport is known as 'The Lost Coast' due to its remoteness and lack of population. Several small towns of lumber origin have long since given up on logging and now cater to tourism. Stand in the shadow of Giant Redwoods in Redwood National Park outside of Trinidad. Visit Ferndale Village with California's most impressive examples of Victorian architecture. Join a whale watching tour out of Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg. Climb to the top of the tallest lighthouse in Point Arena. Stay in a quaint seaside village in Mendocino. From the Redwoods to the headlands, you'll find all of the small towns on the North Coast listed on this page.

North Coast Small Towns

Trinidad Bay

Trinidad is located north of Eureka and is best known for its rugged coastal landscape. Lush redwood forest is separated from the ocean by rocky coastal headlands that flank sandy beaches. Squeezed into the headlands is the small town of Trinidad. Activities include fishing, crabbing, kayaking, hiking, camping, beach combing, shopping, wine tasting, gambling and more. Stay & dine at one of dozens of Bed & Breakfast Inns, many with ocean views. Several of California's most beautiful State Beaches are located in Trinidad including Patrick's Point State Park, Trinidad State Beach and Little River State Beach. Collect agates on Agate Beach at the north end of Patrick's Point State Park. Try your luck and enjoy a great meal with spectacular views at Cher-ae Heights Casino. Nearby attractions include the Mad River Fish Hatchery, Redwood National Park and Trees of Mystery.

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Arcata is located off Highway 101 between Trinidad and Eureka. Home to Humboldt State University, the sleepy town of Arcata is awakened with hip restaurants, boutique hotels, happening night clubs and festive events that are fed by the nearby Humboldt State University. Most of the buzz in the small town of Arcata occurs at the Plaza, a one-block square park surrounded by trendy businesses with historic storefronts. Enjoy classical theatre and music at the Arcata Playhouse. Find a comedian or DJ party at the Arcata Theatre Lounge. Catch the latest up-and-coming band at The Alibi. Take the self-guided historic homes tour throughout Arcata. Stop by café Mokka for Scandinavian treats and wind down in their Finnish country saunas and hot tubs. Enjoy the solitude and coastal dunes at Mad River Beach. Savor a craft brew beer at one of several local micro-breweries. Try your luck at the nearby Blue Lake Casino featuring a hotel, restaurant and casino with slots, table games and more.

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Old Town Eureka is located off Highway 101 in the heart of downtown Eureka. Situated on the waterfront of Humboldt Bay, Old Town Eureka is filled with cafés, restaurants, art galleries, antique stores, museums, boutiques and much, much more within several square blocks. This historic part of Eureka offers a small town feel with original buildings from the late 1800's, brick streets, wide sidewalks and a bayside boardwalk. Situated in Old Town Eureka, the Carson Mansion is one of the finest and most elaborate examples of early Victorian architecture in California. Enjoy a refreshing microbrew beer and meal at Lost Coast Brewery. Nearby attractions include the Sequoia Park Zoo, Mad River Fish Hatchery, Redwood National Park, Trees of Mystery, museums, and several State Parks including Humboldt Redwoods State Park and Fort Humboldt State Historic Park.

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The Victorian Village of Ferndale

Ferndale is located south of Eureka along California's Lost Coast. Visit 'The Victorian Village of Ferndale' for one of California's most impressive displays of Victorian architecture. The entire village is a California Historical Landmark. Peruse multiple antique stores and galleries along Main Street. Cultural touches of early immigrants from Scandinavia, Switzerland, Italy and Portugal still remain throughout the village. Enjoy a fine Italian dinner at the Hotel Ivanhoe or a fresh-baked cinnamon roll at Humboldt Sweets Bakery. Stop by the dry goods store for candy, jams, soups and other locally made goods and notice the uneven floor altered by decades of area earthquakes. Ferndale is only a 5-minute drive from the ocean and several spectacular hiking trails. The small town of Ferndale has been recognized as one of California's most beautiful towns by several well-known travel publications. Every year, Ferndale hosts the Kinetic Sculpture Race where contestants compete in homemade artistic vehicles over land and sea. Just a short distance from town is Centerville Beach with a large sandy beach that's great for beach combing. Nearby attractions include Humboldt Lagoons State Park and Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

Blog See our Victorian Village of Ferndale blog.

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Fort Bragg

Fort Bragg is located off Highway 1 just north of Highway 20. Charter a salmon fishing trip or whale watching tour out of Noyo harbor. Collect pieces of glass on Glass Beach, an old dumping area for glass bottles. The glass has been smoothed by the sea and is now in the form of brightly colored pebbles. Enjoy camping, fishing, biking, tide pool exploration, or horseback riding at MacKerricher State Beach. Explore shops, cafés and bars of the historic town. Take a train ride on the historic Skunk Train for a day trip or dinner train. Meander the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens located right on the ocean and featuring azaleas, rhododendrons and so much more. Every year Fort Bragg hosts the 'World's Largest Salmon barbecue' along with other festivals celebrating whales, sea glass and more. Nearby attractions include Jug Handle State Reserve, Caspar Headlands State Beach and Russian Gulch State Park.

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Mendocino

Mendocino is located off Highway 1 just a few miles south of Highway 20. This refined New England-style village offers upscale amenities like Victorian Inns and day spas. Known for its quaint shops and antique treasures, this small town also has much to offer in outdoor activities. Enjoy camping at one of several campgrounds in the region. Find large secluded beaches at the mouth of the Big River or one of the many coves along the coast. Explore tide pools and rocky coastline at Mendocino Headlands State Park. Mountain bike some of the many trails that flow through the pristine redwood forest. Visit one of the many state parks in the region. See a picturesque bridge and collapsed sea cave at Russian Gulch State Park. Visit the 1909 Point Cabrillo Light House. Rent a kayak for kelp forest and sea cave exploration at Van Damme State Park. Enjoy one of many Mendocino festivals celebrating crab, wine, whales, mushrooms, music and more. Mendocino is our favorite small town on the North Coast.

Blog View our Mendocino blog for more details.

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Healdsburg is located off Highway 101 north of Santa Rosa. Healdsburg offers the best of Sonoma Valley. Venture out wine tasting at hundreds of local wineries in the Alexander Valley, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek Valley or Russian River Valley. Healdsburg is chock full of luxury bed & breakfasts and spa resorts. Hit a quick round at the 9-hole Healdsburg Golf Course at Tayman Park. Savor Wine Country fare at some of the best restaurants in the region. Shop for antiques, hand-crafted jewelry, bath products, art galleries and more in downtown Healdsburg. Float down the beautiful Russian River past vineyards and redwoods and get a ride back with SOAR inflatables or River's Edge Kayak & Canoe Trips.

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Occidental is located off Highway 101 between Santa Rosa and Bodega Bay. Nestled in a dense redwood forest, Occidental has a rich background in the timber industry. This small town is situated along the 10-mile Bohemian Highway which also passes through Russian River Meadows, Monte Rio, Camp Meeker and Freestone. Occidental features boutique shops and renowned restaurants including an Italian restaurant still run by the family of original immigrants. Head out wine tasting at one of several local wineries that produce world-class pinot noir. Leave all stresses behind with a visit to Osmosis Day Spa with its Japanese gardens and cedar enzyme baths. Navigate several miles of the Russian River in a canoe and shuttle back with Burke's Canoe Trips. Walk through Giant Redwoods at Armstrong Redwoods State Park where camping and horseback riding are other popular activities. Practice your game at the beautiful Northwood Golf Course.

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Sebastopol is located 5-miles west of Santa Rosa on Highway 12. Sebastopol is a small town known for its apple harvest and quaint little downtown comprised of cafés, restaurants, art galleries and boutique shops. Join the Apple Blossom Festival in April for a parade, live entertainment, food and more. Head out to local wineries for some wine tasting. Hit a quick round at the Sebastopol executive 9-hole golf course. Catch a play at the Main Stage West Theatre in downtown. Take a walk or bike ride on the 14 miles of paved trail from Forestville to Santa Rosa along an old railcar route. Spot all kinds of waterfowl at the Laguna de Santa Rosa Wetlands Preserve. Head north on Highway 12 to Forestville for a one-way canoe trip down the Russian River.

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