What Is the California Lost Coast?

Have you ever craved an adventure to a remote place? If so, the California Lost Coast is the ideal destination. This splendid area is one of the largest, roadless shores in Northern California, between the towns of Rockport and Ferndale. Here, the beach seems endless, and the misty mountains of King Range stand tall over the dark blue sea. You’ll be dazzled by the scenery as you hike along Black Sands Beach and gaze at the driftwood at the edge of the water. Remember to pack your camera because it’s an adventure you won’t want to forget.

Learn more about our coastal town of Mendocino in our exclusive, free Vacation Guide. Inside, we’re sharing our favorite recommendations for local restaurants, events, shops, museums, and many more outdoor adventures.

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Your Adventure Along the California Lost Coast Starts Here


What Is the California Lost Coast?

The California Lost Coast is located 225 miles north of San Francisco, which makes it the perfect destination for a road trip. Driving along Highway 1 is a wonderful experience, especially with all the stunning coastal views and fun activities along the way, but it’s only the beginning of your adventure. Once you make your way north and enter the Lost Coast area, the world slowly starts to fade, and you’re faced with a rugged, untouched, mesmerizing land. It’s only 20 minutes away from the highway, but it takes an hour to travel there. We highly recommend you map out the itinerary beforehand because you won’t have any service!

Shelter Cove

Shelter Cove is the main town of the Lost Coast, which is located at the southern end of the shore. There’s not much there, which adds to the desolated charm of the area, but it doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to do. One of our favorite spots is Mi Mochima, a Venezualan restaurant serving some of the most mouthwatering dishes you’ll ever taste. We recommend the mini fish empanadas and the house stew! Another fun spot to discover is the microbrewery Gyppo Ale Mill. A beer and a view — is there anything better than that? 

King Range Hike

One of the best things to do when visiting the Lost Coast is to go hiking. The 68,000 acres of the King Range National Conservation Area feature 35 miles of pristine coastline, mountains that rise up 4,000 feet above the water, and more than 25 miles of trails you can hike. The Lost Coast Trail takes about three days to complete (which requires a $6 permit) and can be laborious at times. If you’re visiting during the warmer season, remember to pack up a bathing suit. You can go swimming after hiking for a few hours!

Punta Gorda Lighthouse

Another gem you need to see while exploring the Lost Coast is the Punta Gorda Lighthouse. It’s part of the trail near the town of Petrolia. This remote landmark stands on a grassy hillside with gorgeous views of the ocean. You can pack up a picnic and enjoy it while sitting at the top of the small lighthouse. It also makes for a fantastic photo spot!

Your Oasis of Relaxation is Called Sea Rock Inn

Sea-Rock-Inn-Cottage 1 balcony viewAfter seeing such wonderful views and exploring one of the most glorious parts of Northern California, make your way back to Sea Rock Inn in the lovely town of Mendocino. Our B&B is one of the top places to stay in the state and the ideal spot for relaxation. Here, you can unplug from your busy routine and reconnect with nature in the purest of ways. Soak in the beauty of the Pacific shoreline, breathe in the scented breeze coming from the forest, and enjoy a stress-free vacation in one of our high-end suites and cottages. They’re all equipped with modern amenities and charming decor. You’ll love to wake up to the sound of the crashing waves in the distance. You can even make yourself a cup of coffee and sip it on the balcony! 

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