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Redwood & Mendocino Scenic Drive

Introduction to Your Scenic Drive from San Francisco

You’ll miss none of the highlights on this wonderfully scenic drive along the Mendocino coastline and through the California redwood parks in Northern California. This is truly a Mendocino scenic drive and a redwoods scenic drive.

Within a short time, you’ll enjoy numerous redwood state and national parks, including Humboldt Redwoods State Park, the largest remaining redwood forest in the world, and gorgeous Redwood National Park, with the tallest tree in the world.

You’ll also enjoy fine photo opportunities on California Highway 1 along the stunningly beautiful Mendocino coastline and visits to various Mendocino area parks. The drive also puts you in touch with some of the finest examples of traditional New England and Victorian architecture in the U.S.

Highlights include

You’ll remember these forever.

Throughout, you’ll find easy-to-follow driving directions, as well as the best ways to travel between the most scenic sections. There’s also camping and accommodation information.

In order to enrich your experience, we’ve included the social, economic, and political background of this fascinating area, as well as in depth coverage in an Arcata travel guide of the most unusual town in the region.

Three days minimum

The entire drive can be done in as little as 3 full days without strain.

Three days gives time for several short hikes, but please try to allow more time for this trip, if you possibly can.

Additions to your scenic drive

Seriously consider spending an extra day on the beautiful Marin County scenic drive before starting your redwoods and Mendocino scenic drive. In Marin County, skip Muir Woods (you’ll enjoy better redwood groves later) and devote more time to lovely Point Reyes National Seashore.

Also, a scenic drive through Napa Valley goes well with your return to San Francisco. You'll find information on how to coordinate the drives.

You could also continue up to the Oregon coast or go inland to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park, Crater Lake, or Lake Tahoe.

Reaching the Mendocino Coast

The next page, Part 2: Directions from San Francisco to Mendocino, gives you options for reaching Mendocino from the Bay Area:

  • Fast,
  • Slow and scenic, or
  • Combination of both.

Go on to Part 2: Directions from San Francisco to Mendocino, and start your redwoods and Mendocino scenic drive!

Mendocino scenic drive space bar

Part 1: Redwood and Mendocino scenic drive introduction,
Part 2: Directions from San Francisco to Mendocino,
Part 3: Mendocino scenic drive,
Part 4: Avenue of the Giants scenic drive,
Part 5: Avenue of the Giants scenic drive (continued),
Part 6: Scenic drive from Avenue of the Giants to Arcata,
Part 7: Arcata travel guide – what to do,
Part 8: Humboldt and Mendocino counties in depth,
Part 9: Scenic drive from Arcata to Redwood National Park,
Part 10: From Redwood National Park to San Francisco,
Part 11: Motels and hotels along your redwood scenic drive,
Part 12: Camping along your redwood scenic drive, and
Part 13: Mendocino and Redwood parks airport choices.


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