At the risk of repeating myself I will once again say, Northern California has some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world.
There are a variety of towns along the California coast where the ocean views will take your breath away. Some of them are world-renowned such as Pebble Beach and others are unknown, tiny towns guarding their anonymity from the masses, yet all share the same stunning seaside.
Less than 3 hours north of San Francisco, between Bodega Bay and Mendocino, is the environmentally-conscious, unincorporated community of The Sea Ranch (yes, “The” is a part of the name but it is usually referred to just as Sea Ranch).
Sea Ranch spans over a 10 mile range and offers a 19-room lodge, Sea Ranch Lodge, with a fantastic restaurant called the Black Point Grill. It is also an established community of approximately 1800 residences, with the majority of these homes being vacation rentals.
Sea Ranch is noted for its distinctive architecture which consists of simple straight-lined structures clad in wooden siding or shingles with large picture windows. There are specific guidelines to be met when building within The Sea Ranch and all exterior architectural designs are subject to a review process for approval. The beauty of these strict guidelines is that it has created a cohesive and homogenous environment that gives this community a serene and peaceful feeling.
I’ve stayed at the lodge before which is lovely, however on this visit, I decided to rent an oceanfront home (The Woodland). The vacation rentals throughout this community are individually owned and managed by several different realty companies and a quick Google search for Sea Ranch vacation rentals will pull up numerous property options. A tip for you, this is an extremely large community and the homes are located on either side of Hwy 1, so if your desire is to be by the water with access to the walking trails be sure to confirm that the property is located on the west side of Hwy 1.
Staying at Sea Ranch is the perfect place to decompress and rejuvenate your soul. The view below was what I woke up to each morning. This photo was literally taken from my iPad while I was still in bed. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to this each morning? It was a great way to start the day.
The sunsets were even more spectacular. It was such a treat to go to sleep to the sound of the crashing waves against the rocky cliffs.
There are miles and miles of walking trails along the water’s edge and through the woods.
Sea Ranch is also a very dog friendly environment so don’t forget your furry babies.
Should you feel like exploring beyond Sea Ranch, there are numerous interesting places to visit such as the lighthouse at Point Arena, the town of Bodega Bay where Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Bird’s was filmed, the charming town of Mendocino and for meal options, gas and groceries visit the closest town of Gualala (the G is pronounced like a W).
Here’s another insider tip, almost everything closes down by 8:00 pm in this area. You will want to be sure that you have visited or picked up any items from the grocery store before this time or you will be out-of-luck. As mentioned above, the Sea Ranch Lodge has a wonderful restaurant but because it’s the only eating establishment within The Sea Ranch it tends to be quite busy and reservations are highly recommended. There are restaurants in Gualala but even those close down early. I was looking for a place to eat after 8:00 pm and the restaurants were in the process of shutting down. I luckily found one pizza place that had one medium dough left to make a pizza…so keep that in mind.
Sea Ranch is an amazing place to restore and rejuvenate and I look forward to returning soon.
Here is a gallery of all my images.
14 thoughts on “The Sea Ranch, CA”
oh my gosh it is gorgeous – love that they take dogs although bit far to bring them from NZ for this trip 😉
haha! Just a little too far. 🙂
Have friends that live in San Fran/Tahoe so will send them the link as I’m sure they’d love to go their – with puppies!
I know, right? It’s a gorgeous area!
Have never been north, next time though.
Oh you must, it’s the most beautiful part of California. 🙂
Oh wow, gorgeous images. Beautiful place. Will share your post with my sister who lives in the SF area.
Yes, if she hasn’t explored this area, it’s well worth the trip.
Thanks for the share and link.
I certainly have to agree with you and we pride ourselves that The Sea Ranch is “No Ordinary Resort!”
More, we also love the entire coastal community that extends areas south and north that locals affectionately call Mendonoma. That’s why we purchased our ocean front home, Abalone Bay and offer it as a dog-friendly vacation rental.
Hopefully, by now the folks who commented about wanting to visit have managed to make their way to our beautifully dramatic coast which can be filled with some white-knuckle hairpin curves and edge-of-the-world drop-offs. We recommend when you drive, you add in time to stretch your legs and give your knuckles a moment to regain their color as you photograph the ocean views beyond the horizons.
We also recommend you try the detour through Meyers Grade Road with a visit at Fort Ross Winery, a part of Fort Ross-Seaview American Viticultural Area (AVA). The views from their hilltop vantage point are also wonderful, as is their wine! In fact, you’ll want to pick up a bottle to enjoy later while relaxing in your vacation rental.
Much has changed since this article was posted in 2015. The Lodge continues to offer great food, but our treasured TwoFish Bakery has relocated to the historic Stewarts Point Store. They still offer their great bakery goods and hold Friday Pizza Nights (summers only). You would be VERY wise to pre-order. But now they have the upstairs bar and restaurant area for larger gatherings.
And the best news is The Gualala Hotel and Saloon has just reopened after a two-year close. They just had their soft opening and are working hard to be become the jewel it once was.
Up the road about 20 miles north is Point Arena with many more wonderful restaurants but like Gualala, they stop taking orders after 8m. For a lat(er) night meal (9:30pm) your best bet is 20 miles south of Sea Ranch at the recently renovated Timber Cove and its restaurant, Coast Kitchen with an updated menu.
During the summer one of our favorite meal stops is at the Surf Market. They offer BBQ ribs and chicken that is to die for!