Even Getting To Fort Bragg Is Fun

From The South

If you’re heading north from the San Francisco Bay Area, you have a beautiful drive ahead of you with plenty to do and see, so give yourself some time. Of course, the City By the Bay is beautiful, but let’s head over the Golden Gate Bridge and find some points of interest as we work our way towards Fort Bragg.

That’s Mount Tamalpais to your left. Can you see the shape of the sleeping lady in the towering ridgeline? If you’re up for a hike, you could do worse than heading out to Muir Woods for a saunter through the spectacular redwood tree canopy.

For a flavor of the region’s rich rock and roll legacy, try grabbing a bite at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, founded by Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh and featuring a continuous line-up of live music.

As you cross into Sonoma County you’ll find plenty of small-town charm in downtown Petaluma. Brewsters Beer Garden is a fun, sprawling, indoor/outdoor space and a good place to plan a walk along the river while dropping into a few cute shops.

You may have noticed, you’re fully in wine country now. There’s no shortage of amazing wineries to visit, but if you only have time for one, Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville really must be seen to be believed. What, with its pool, restaurant, café and incredible wines you really can’t go wrong. You should, though, make a reservation in advance.

As you exit 101 onto Highway 128 you’re into Mendocino County, winding your way through rolling hills and ranchlands until you hit the town of Boonville. Swing by Anderson Valley Brewing Company for a game of frisbee golf and the chance to overhear someone speaking the nearly lost language of Boontling.

You’ll know you’re getting closer to the coast when the majestic redwoods wrap you in their cool canopy. There’s a special kind of peace walking among these ancient giants so get out and stretch your legs at Navarro River Redwoods State Parks.

Next stop, the Pacific Coast. 128 turns into Highway 1. You’ll hang a right and head North to Fort Bragg. Go to the Beaches or Coastal Activities page to find some side trips along the coast.

Of course, there’s the beautiful town of Mendocino just a few miles south of Fort Bragg. If you’ve never seen it, you absolutely have to spend some time in this Registered Historic Landmark of a 19th Century California Coastal whaling and logging town.

From the town of Mendocino you’re less than 10 miles from Fort Bragg. So, head north and let your ultimate adventure begin. 

From The North & East
- From Highway 5

If you’re coming from the areas around Sacramento, or even as far North as Redding and Southern Oregon, you’ll be looking for historic Highway 20. You pick it up from Highway 5 in the Central Valley farm town of Williams as you traverse the long flat plains before climbing into the hills to Clear Lake.

This route sends you through California’s newest and fastest-growing wine region. Lake County has that approachable, undiscovered feel that means you’re probably tasting with the owner or winemaker. Brassfield Estate Winery has a beautiful tasting room and grounds while Kaz Winery pours scrumptious wines from a big refurbished barn.

From The North & East
- From Highway 101

Highway 20 connects with 101 until you hit the town of Willits, the Gateway To The Redwoods. It’s a fitting place for the Roots of Motive Power Locomotive Museum, seeing how it’s the ultimate destination of Fort Bragg’s Skunk Train. If you’re lucky enough to be passing through in early July, Willits Frontier Days is one of the country’s longest running rodeos. 

From Willits, you’re less than an hour of winding, wooded road to Fort Bragg. You’re traveling through Jackson Demonstration State Forest, but we’ll tell you more about what you can do there here in our hiking and biking section.