Windswept headlands, spectral fog, and massive redwood trees lend a mysterious sort of romance to California’s North Coast. In the fourth episode of California Pop, Anthony and Shikira tour this Golden State region in search of off-the-beaten-path experiences.
Travel along the North Coast and you’re sure to find tiny towns tucked against coastal bluffs and hidden in thickly wooded forests. One of the best ways to experience the culture of these charming spots is with four wheels and a flexible agenda. Head to Fort Bragg to roll through nature in an unusual way or learn a few phrases of a language so rare, only a few dozen people worldwide speak it in Boonville.
Get inspired to plan your own North Coast adventure with the California Pop itinerary.
Skunk Train Railbikes
Pedal through fern-lined canyons and moss-covered forests on electric-powered railbikes built for two. Keep your eyes peeled for black bears, blue herons, and the elusive Sasquatch as you glide along the historic train line that once carried passengers from Willits to Fort Bragg.
Triangle Tattoo & Museum
Explore the history of “art with a pulse” at Triangle Tattoo & Museum in downtown Fort Bragg. Get some fresh ink or simply tour the classic Victorian structure to learn about a decorative custom dating back to the invention of fire.
Anderson Valley Brewing
Come to Boonville for craft beer and you might be treated to a not-so-foreign language lesson. A handful of locals in this little town speak their own curious dialect called Boontling—for starters “breggo” means sheep and “hood” is an oddball. Saddle up at the brewery to sample beers, many of which are named for Boontling lingo.
Mendocino Headlands State Park
Stroll along the 2.5-mile coastal trail in this stunning state park in Mendocino to find hidden beaches and sweeping ocean views, marked by natural arches formed by waves pounding against offshore rocks.
Curiosities abound at Confusion Hill in Mendocino County. This playful attraction has been delighting visitors since 1949 with a miniature train ride, the world’s largest freestanding redwood chainsaw carving, and the gravity house, where optical illusions give guests a topsy-turvy feel.
Originally commissioned by Gold Rush prospector Rufus Tallman, the Tallman Hotel dates back to the 1870s. Visit this Lake County gem to spend the night in carefully appointed rooms with Japanese teak soaking tubs. Visit the on-site Blue Wing Saloon for cocktails and California comfort food.
Cowlick’s Ice Cream
The family-owned Cowlick’s Ice Cream in Fort Bragg uses dairy from North Coast cows to make small batches of both classic and unusual flavors, including “mushroom,” created from locally foraged candy caps. Stop by and sample a few scoops.
Big River Estuary
This state park in Mendocino, established in 2012, protects the longest estuary in Northern California. Rent an outrigger—a Polynesian-style double canoe crafted from reclaimed redwood—from Catch a Canoe and cruise up the eight-mile waterway to find curious seals and frolicking otters.