Gualala – Your Perfect Costal Getaway


A lesser known destination in Northern California, Gualala is small town coastal magic. It is the perfect combo of cozy and woodsy, as well as fresh and coastal. Read on for my guide on visiting Gualala.

Need to Know:

Currency: US Dollar

Language: English


SMF – Sacramento

OAK – Oakland

SFO – San Francisco

Electrical Outlets: 120V supply voltage and 60Hz

Planning Your Trip

Accommodation – I really enjoy the Airbnb experience in Gualala because it is easier to cook and have a place to hang out. Gualala isn’t a bustling city, so you’re bound to spend more time in your accommodations, just relaxing. I personally enjoyed staying at this cute little “treehouse” with a private hot tub, but I’ve also stayed at this cute house with a shared deck hot tub.

Getting Around – You need a car to access this area. From San Jose we took I-880N to I-580 W to US-101 N then finally to Hwy 1. The service gets really spotty so I’d recommend downloading an offline map. Hwy 1 gets pretty windy so make sure you have some Dramamine if you get car sick easily.

Cider Gualala
Gualala Hiking
Gualala Sunset

Things to See and Do in Gualala

Cliffside Picnic: With so many beautiful ocean overlooks, you have to take advantage of these picturesque picnic spots to enjoy the stunning views the coastline has to offer. Swing by the Surf Market to pick up cheese, crackers, wine, and all your charcuterie/picnic essentials. We stopped at Carmet Beach Overlook, but there are countless stops with similar views (such as Coleman Beach Overlook and Duncan’s Landing Overlook). 

Gualala Point Regional Park: My go-to hiking day starts at Gualala Point Regional Park (pay $7 for parking) and exploring the beautiful trails in the park. The trails start by the visitors center where there are public restrooms and picnic tables. You can hike out to the whale watch point on the Bluff Trail for stunning views of the ocean. 

Gualala Bluff Trail: The miles you can go in Gualala Point Regional Park are limited, so you can leave the park on the Bluff Trail and keep following the coast line as far as you’d like. You walk by the unique coastal homes along the trail offering lovely views and fresh ocean breeze. 


CLiff side picnic
Gualala Hiking
Gualala Bluff Trail

Point Arena Lighthouse: About 30 mins north of Gualala is the stunning Point Arena Lighthouse. The lighthouse grounds were closed when we went, but you can usually roam around the lighthouse base and surrounding buildings. Instead we got this view from outside the gated grounds and then went on to explore the bluff trails by the Garcia River. 

Beach Sunset: Getting this far away from the city has its perks, and secluded beaches is definitely one of them. There are many costal access points you can check out, but our favorite is Hearn Gulch. You can pull off the Coast Hwy and hike down a steep little costal access trail to this absolutely beautiful cove beach.

Lunch at Trinks: When I go to Gualala, I usually cook at the Airbnb and use the time to disconnect and relax. But if you’re out hiking for the day or want to stop in for a coffee, I’d highly recommend Trinks Cafe. We grabbed sandwiches and walked down to the bluff trail for a cliffside picnic.

Gualala Lighthouse
Gualala Sunset
Trinks Cafe Gualala

More costal destinations to explore!


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