After checking out the magnificent Fern Canyon, my friends and I traveled back towards San Francisco Bay Area. Along the way, made a couple of stops—because how could we not?
Here are a few highlights along the way.
Loleta Cheese Factory
Located a short drive south of Eureka, California is a town called Loleta. With almost 800 people as of the 2010 census, this place is tiny. What it lacks in size, like many towns in the area, it makes up in charm.
One of the highlights of our journey down the California coast was a cheese factory called Loleta Cheese Factory. I discovered the cheese factory after adding it to my list from the California Cheese Trail.
I highly recommend checking out the cheese trail if you like cheese and are in California.
Inside, they had dozens of different cheeses to try (cheeses? cheese? cheesies?) all with fun labeling.
I don’t remember which ones I tried, but they were all good. I was told that they have some of their cheese in Bay Area markets, so keep an eye out if you’re not able to drop by the actual factory.
In addition to a shop for cheese and preserves, they also had a garden and a cafe.
Looking at the menu, one particular item caught my attention: Sweet Baby Cheesus. It was a grilled cheese sandwich with two types of cheese and jam. It was so good!
While we enjoyed our grilled cheese, we checked out the garden out back. This was equally nice with butterflies making their rounds.
Cross the Eel River, south of Loleta and you’ll drive into Ferndale.
What’s striking about Ferndale is the look of many of the town’s buildings. Much like parts of San Francisco, it feels like the town is straight of the Victorian era.
We parked in the center of the town to check out a few of the shops. One of the best shops we went to was Golden Gait Mercantile. It felt like a general store from way back when with both period items and a few more modern ones to purchase.
Redwoods as Far as the Eye Can See
If Southern California is synonymous with palm trees, Northern California has to be synonymous with redwood trees.
Along the coast and even inland, you’ll see the trees reaching for the stars.
Random tidbit: at a certain height, it becomes hard for tall trees to bring the water up from the ground. Due to the fog and moisture in the area, these trees are able to absorb and use water from both the ground and the air around them.
We stopped by Humboldt State Park for a little bit to check out the trees.
Avenues of the Giants, is an aptly named road that has hundreds of the trees lining the it. It was refreshing driving down this road with the windows down, taking in the fresh smell of the forest and nearby Eel River.
Ever Drive Through a Tree?
Growing up, I had seen photos of my parents and grandparents making their way through a large tree. I think it was in Yosemite. Anyway, when I saw that there was a similar tree, I thought it would be fun to stop by.
The Chandelier Tree, as it’s known, is a 315 foot tree that has room for a car carved into it. Cars nowadays are probably a little bigger than it was designed for, so we had to push our mirrors in. We made it through the drive-thru tree and checked out the accompanying gift shop before heading out.
Maybe a little bit, but still cool nonetheless.
The California Coast at its Finest
Medocino has to be one of my favorite places along the California coast. It’s a small town, only slightly larger than Loleta. For being so small though, it packs a punch when it comes to natural views.
To the north is Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. After parking in a dedicated, the lighthouse and museum is a short walk down a path. It was fun learning more about the history of the lighthouse and what it takes to actually run the site.
The Mendocino Headlands Park features a naturally occurring archway over the Pacific Ocean. There are dozens of trails nearby lined with wild lilies and blackberry bushes. The town center also has a few things to check out including specialty shops, and Frankie’s—a local ice cream shop and where I first discovered the wonders of the Candy Cap Mushroom.
Be Still My Bay Area Heart
Pretty close to San Francisco, in Point Reyes National Seashore is a location that has become popular due to Instagram. Like the totem atop Mission Peak, the Cypress Tree Tunnel is prime spot for people looking to get a few likes.
Luckily, when we drove by, except for another Asian family, we were the only ones around.
Pictures don’t do this spot justice either. I was surprised at just how long the drive was. It was cool to go through the tree-lined road and also take photos in front of it.
If you’re checking out Alamere Falls, this location isn’t too far away. Along the way, don’t forget to stop by Cowgirl Creamery for some good cheese.
And there you have it—a few destinations to check out on the coastal path between San Francisco and Klamath. Hope you enjoyed this journey with me.
Any more that I should check out in the future? Let me know!