skip Point Reyes (California)?

Jun 23rd, 2007, 12:38 PM
  #1  
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skip Point Reyes (California)?

We are a family of 5 (kids are older--17, 20 and 23) and have two nights in San Francisco followed by 3 nights in Mendocino, then l night in Guerneville before our last night by the SFO. We will be driving from San Fran to Mendo on a Monday (July 16), and I am debating which route to take.

Originally, I was thinking we would stay on Hwy 1 up the coast, stopping at Point Reyes and other points before arriving in Mendocino. Then take 128 to 101 on the way back, stopping in Guerneville for the night.

Now I'm wondering if we should take 101/128 both ways, since I've heard the best scenery is further north anyway. If we did that, we would miss Point Reyes, but maybe we wouldn't have time to really enjoy Point Reyes anyway?

The reason I chose Guerneville for our last night is because it's near Armstrong Redwoods S.P. (we are skipping Muir Woods). I also thought we might stop by a winery or two. Healdsburg is right on 128 though, maybe we could see redwoods near Mendocino and I should try to stay in Healdsburg? (How long of a drive is it to Guerneville from 128?) I did check out Healdsburg originally, but the lodgings were too pricey and couples-oriented. Then I saw a link for private rentals I might check into if I can find it.

Any thoughts on the route or Guerneville vs. Healdsburg?

thanks!
buckminster is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 12:53 PM
  #2  
poolboy
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Driving up Highway 1 all the way to Mendocino is a long day, made even longer by a stop at Point Reyes. It sure would be a shame to miss it though. It is one of the most beautiful and uniuqes places in our state.

Maybe you could break up the trip to Mendocino with a night spent along the coast say in the Northern Sonoma coast area? That would give you more freedom to spend a couple of hours at Point Reyes. You could stay in Sea Ranch, Gualala, Point Arena or even further south in Jenner and then head north the next day to Mendocino.

Another option would be to make a trip to Point Reyes a day trip affair while in San Francisco. Maybe?

Where the best scenery is along the coast is a matter of opinion and open to debate. I think that some of the most interesting coastal landscape is between Bodega Bay and Gualala.

Sounds like a great trip. Have fun.
 
Jun 23rd, 2007, 12:54 PM
  #3  
 
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I'd personally go up hwy 1 and back 101 like you oroginally planned. Besides Point Reyes, there is fort Ross, Point Arena and lots of other great things you'd miss if you went inland both directions.
janisj is online now  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 12:56 PM
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I was posting the same time as poolboy - I agree there is so much to see between SF and Mendocino I probably stay one night enroute and only 2 nights in Mendocino.
janisj is online now  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 12:58 PM
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I drove from Seattle to SF and back this spring, down on 101 to 1, then back up on 101 to 128 to 1. I'm not sure what you mean by the "best scenery being further north". Further north of what? The section of Hwy 1 between Jenner and Gualala was definitely among the most spectacular of the entire trip. I didn't have time to go out to Point Reyes but I was VERY glad I'd taken the time to take Hwy 1 from Mendocino all the way to SF--it was amazing.
NWWanderer is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 01:34 PM
  #6  
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Thank you all for your excellent advice. Unfortunately, our reservations are all made so I can't change the number of nights in Mendocino (we are renting a little 3 bedroom house there). Plus, we are already changing hotels 4 times in one week 2 nights in S.F., 3 in Mendocino, 1 in Russian River Valley, last night at SFO before our morning flight out.)

What I'm thinking now is, maybe we will take 101 out of San Francisco and then cut over to Hwy 1 at Petaluma. There is a road (476?) that goes to Bodega Bay. Then we would follow the coast up from there. We would miss Point Reyes, but have more time to stop at some of the other scenic spots (Goat Rock State Beach) along the way.

I would like to see Point Reyes, but since we land in San Francisco on a Saturday afternoon and leave on Monday morning, it isn't feasible to do it as a day trip from there. Plus we're not going to have a car in San Francisco, we're picking it up on Monday morning.

California is such a beautiful state. I've never been north of San Francisco before and am really looking forward to it. Maybe we'll have to save Point Reyes for our next trip. There's just too many beautiful spots to visit in one week!

I suppose on our last day, when we leave Guerneville, we could drive to Point Reyes on our way back. We are staying at the airport that night, so we will be in no hurry to get there. I was thinking we might want to hang out in Russian River valley that day (since we only have one night there), but we could play that by ear...
buckminster is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 02:39 PM
  #7  
poolboy
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I'd try to hit Point Reyes on your way south on that last day then.
 
Jun 23rd, 2007, 03:06 PM
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Instead of cutting over at Petaluma, take Lucas Valley Road off of 101, just past San Rafael. This is a gorgeous drive and you go through the small town of Nacasio, which is picturesque. You'll hit Highway 1 at Pt. Reyes Station, which is fun to stop for a bit if you need food (Pt. Reyes Station Cafe) or just sweets (The Bovine Bakery). Pt. Reyes is really best when you have time to hike its trails, so it gives you something to come back for. You'll love Mendocino. Cafe Beaujolais is one of their best restaurants, but there are many more. For great pub food, try the pulled pork sandwich at Patterson's Pub, which is a local hangout. Enjoy!
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Jun 23rd, 2007, 03:27 PM
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The drive from Bodega Bay to Mendocino is a long day trip. There is much to see along the route and there are great beaches to explore.

Pt. Reyes also has great beaches but it should be enjoyed as a full day's destination (or more). It's a penninsula that sticks way out into the ocean and there's only one way in and out. Also, Pt. Reyes is one of the foggiest places on the coast and July is the foggiest month of the year. I would save it for another trip. There's more than enough to see on Hwy 1.

Along Hwy 128 are several redwood groves - Navarro River Redwoods State Park, Hendy Woods State Park, and Maillard Redwoods State Park. So, you really don't need to go to Guerneville which can be very crowded in summer.

You don't say if you are interested in wineries or not but if it was my choice, I'd spend that last day visiting some of them near Healdsburg.
Otis_B_Driftwood is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 04:24 PM
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buckminster,

I would do what you mentioned....101 to Petaluma. Take the East Washington exit, turn left after you get off and follow East Washington, which becomes Bodega Highway, to Bodega Bay.

You will now pass several state beaches. After about 10 miles you come to an intersection with Hwy 116.

If you want to stop at Armstrong Grove Redwoods in Guerneville, turn right on 116 just after you cross the Russian River and go on into Guerneville. Then come back the way you came, stay on the right side of the river and go to Jenner, where the Russian River enters the Pacific.

The next 13 miles north is a spectacular coastal drive. It would be a shame to miss it. You pass Fort Ross State Historical Park, which is a Russian outpost from the early 1800's and worth a stop. There are state parks from here up.

I would do as someone else suggested and stay overnight in Gualala, which is just over the Sonoma/Mendocino County line. You should make reservations WAY ahead of time, however. The Surf Motel is plain but inexpensive. The Breakers Inn or the Gualala Country Inn are other choices.

But the North Coast Country Inn has 6 cottages on a hillside overlooking the Pacific and AAA rates are from $195 for 2 with $25 extra p/p. This might work for your family. Full breakfast is included, which might help with the expense.

Don't fret about missing wineries along the way. Mendocino has some good ones and my favorite wine, zinfandel, is very prolific. I was listening to the radio this morning of a broadcast from Mendocino where a wine and food festival was being held.

Too many choices, eh?
jtrandolph is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 04:36 PM
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Otis B has a good point - you probably won't be able to see anything in July due to the heavy fog that is typical that time of year. I'd skip it.
luvtravl is offline  
Jun 24th, 2007, 11:05 AM
  #12  
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Thanks again for your helpful advice!

I can see that it would be an awfully long day to drive all the way to Mendocino from San Francisco. I called my lodgings in Mendocino and was able to change my arrival date so we will have time to stop overnight along the coast. I think we are going to stay one night at Sea Ranch Lodge just south of Gualala. That way, we'll have more time to stop along the way between Bodega Bay and Sea Ranch. Goat Rock State Park looks beautiful, and Fort Ross sounds interesting. Of course, if it's too foggy, we may have to take an inland route which would be a shame. The people at our Mendocino lodging suggested stopping in Jenner, at a place called Jenner's Inn by the Sea, which is also a possibility although I think my husband wants to stay at Sea Ranch.

On our last day, we will have to take the inland route because we are going to drive from Mendocino to the San Francisco airport and spend the night there. (We are skipping spending the night in Guerneville).We'll have all day, so I figure we can stop and see some redwoods and stop in Healdsburg for a meal and a glass of wine at one of the wineries. (we'll have two underage kids with us so wineries aren't the focus of this trip).

I feel much better about the itinerary now--thanks so much.
buckminster is offline  
Jun 24th, 2007, 11:16 AM
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I would go on 101 to 128. On 128 you'll get a chance to stop at some wineries AND you'll go through a redwood forest (not like Armstrong Redwoods, but redwoods none the less). Stop for a stroll at Paul M. Dimmick State Park. It's not far at all to the coast from there. Between 128 and Mendocino on Highway 1 you'll get plenty of Coastline to drive along.

While you're in Mendocino, take a drive south to Elk and go to Queenies for breakfast, brunch or lunch. Stop at Van Damm State Beach on the way back. See if you can find the hike that takes you through the pigmy forest.
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Jun 24th, 2007, 11:18 AM
  #14  
poolboy
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Excellent! You will love the Sea Ranch area and you'll be glad that you saw Point Reyes. I know the Sea Ranch fairly well, so if you have any questions, let me know.
 
Jun 24th, 2007, 02:38 PM
  #15  
 
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buckminster,

Don't worry about fog. If there is some it often burns off by noon, and it isn't pea soup, but usually just a high "marine layer".

I do hope you can get lodgings at Sea Ranch Lodge. It is beautifual there. We will be there ourselves July 14-17 for a family wedding. You will be so glad you saw the Sonoma Coast.

Keep us informed.
jtrandolph is offline  
Jun 24th, 2007, 04:02 PM
  #16  
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Jt, thanks for the reassurance on the fog. I was a bit concerned about driving in it as we don't get much in Chicago, not to mention we have flat, straight roads! We did get reservations the night of the 16th so we'll be there when you are... We'll be the family with the 17 year old son and two daughters aged 20 and 23.

Can't wait; it looks so beautiful.
buckminster is offline  
Jun 25th, 2007, 02:01 PM
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I'll keep an eye out for you. But we aren't staying at the lodge. We have rented a house for the four days.

If you are interested, Gualala has a very nice Arts Center full of works by local artists...look for the sign to turn just as you enter the town, across the bridge. It is worth a short stop. My SIL does the pine needle baskets.
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Jun 26th, 2007, 12:50 PM
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buckminster

You don't have to be 21 to take a winery tour. I used to lead tours in another life and found that some teens were more interested in the process than their parents.

One winery to consider is the new Coppola Winery. You'll be driving right by it between Geyserville and Healdsburg. It's not really a new building but Coppola just bought it last year and is re-modeling it. I hear he has some of his oscars on display.

They have tours at 12:30 and 2:30. The kids may find it interesting there. Also, they have a cafe'.
Otis_B_Driftwood is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 02:03 PM
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The winery OtisB is referring to is called Rosso & Bianco, after Coppola's
blended red & white table wines.

Do your level best to not miss Queenies
in ELk !

You'll love Sea Ranch as jt says, don't worry about the fog, just come out and enjoy !

R5
razzledazzle is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 03:57 PM
  #20  
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Thanks again,

We do plan to check out a winery or two, it's just not the focus and that's why we're not spending a night in wine country. I would like to, so we could drink more wine, but there just aren't enough days the way I've got it planned. In a couple years, we'll be empty nesters and will hopefully go back on our own.
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