From the north of San Francisco down the coast of California, these 10 cities and towns in Northern California provide some of the most spectacular vistas over the ocean. Take a deep breath and enjoy.
Situated in Mendocino County, Gualala lies 3 hours north of San Francisco. While many escape to this small town for the waterfront views and redwood trees, others opt to take in the impressive art and culture scene; Gualala Arts showcases local artists’ work and offers music, theater and photography classes for adults and children. Sunlight gets everywhere in this lovely six-bed oceanfront home. Whether it’s from the sunrooms, private balconies or a remarkable glass solarium fitted with an indoor hot tub, there are breathtaking views everywhere. There’s even a telescope in the house to get a closer look at the horizon – keep an eye out for whales and other wildlife over Bodega Bay.
Tahoe is an outdoor-lover’s paradise all year round and one of the most beautiful areas in California. Situated right on the border of Nevada and California, Tahoe offers activities for just about anyone. Whether it is skiing in South Lake Tahoe during the winter, hiking Mount Tallac in the summer, or spending time on the sandy beaches around the 192-square-mile (496sqkm) lake, there’s no shortage of breathtaking views from nearly any viewpoint. Outdoorsy travelers will love this modern two-bed cabin. Its woodland location keeps it nice and private, while its proximity to the incredible Lake Tahoe means there are a tonne of hiking, cycling and fishing trails nearby.
Calistoga is less well known than the neighboring towns of Napa or Sonoma, but the drive north of San Francisco is well worth the trip. Calistoga has geothermal hot-spring pools, geysers, mud baths and picturesque vineyards with incredible wine. There are plenty of cute cottages and farmhouses around, but large groups have to seriously consider experiencing the Napa Valley in style by staying in this 14-person Calistoga mansion. Its outdoor swimming pool and hot tub, as well as a huge patio seating area, will make you feel like the kings of California.
Home to the University of California Santa Cruz, this college town has just about everything: beautiful, busy beaches, a coastal redwood forest, trendy restaurants and a classic boardwalk with carnival games and rides. Natural Bridges State Beach is also not to be missed; it’s a marine-protected area conserving ocean wildlife and natural ecosystems. For a cool spot near downtown, this private room places you near all of Santa Cruz’s best bars, restaurants and theaters. Ideal for a traveling couple, the room is cozy and has access to a Jacuzzi, as well as a lovely outdoor terrace.
This California Historical Landmark was founded before the Civil War as a military garrison. Today, it’s popular with tourists thanks to the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, rugged beaches, sand dunes and coves. The town is small, stretching for just over 4 miles (6km) along the coast, but well known for Glass Beach, appropriately named for its abundance of sea glass (natural frosted glass), and the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, which are cozied up right along the coastline.
Couples will struggle to find a more romantic spot in Fort Bragg than this room at the top of a four-story water tower with a rooftop viewing deck. When you’re not taking advantage of the Jacuzzi or the super comfy king size bed, enjoy 360-degree views of Fort Bragg from the tallest point in town.
Pacifica, a 6-mile (10km) stretch of a city, is located in San Mateo County, on the coast of California between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay. Highly regarded as a popular surfing destination, the city is made up of several small valleys and has the Pacific Ocean to the west. Most visitors and locals spend time at Rockaway Beach, known for its scenic overlook, shopping opportunities and restaurants. Enjoy total privacy and jaw-dropping views of the Pacific Ocean at this stylish six-person seaside home. The open-plan nature and glass walls of the house mean you can enjoy those views from pretty much anywhere inside, as well as from the big private decking.