What’s North of San Francisco? The Sonoma Coast

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Leaving San Francisco to go North is always exciting because I never get tired of driving over the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Driving over the Golden Gate Bridge

Often visitors to California take the classic San Francisco to Los Angeles road trip, perhaps stopping off in San Barbara or Monterey on the way. However, going north of San Francisco allows you to escape the crowds and is equally beautiful.

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Shell Beach at the start of the Pomo Canyon Trail

We reached the rugged Sonoma Coast in just under two hours including a pitstop. We stopped at Shell Beach which was also the starting point for a 6.5-mile hiking trail we wanted to explore.

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Starting the Pomo Canyon Trail

The hike we went on is along the ‘Pomo Canyon Trail’. This begins with a climb up Red Hill and winds around woodlands and a through a small redwood grove before returning back to Shell Beach.

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In the Redwood Grove

The route we took is recorded on AllTrails. It’s an easy 6.5-mile hike and one that could easily just be a day trip from San Francisco.

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Hiking the Red Hill Trail

Despite only being two hours from home and a major city our trip to the Sonoma Coast had us feeling like we in the middle of nowhere. We weren’t ready to head back to San Francisco after spending our Saturday afternoon hiking in this beautiful area.

Thankfully we had a treat in store; one night at Timber Cove Resort. Since featuring in Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards this resort is a badly kept secret. Staying there feels like you’re in a remote lodge in the middle of nowhere. It’s dog-friendly and I love that each room has a record player with plenty of vintage records to choose from. It’s completely dreamy.

Timber Cove Resort had a lodge style bar on site and a wonderful restaurant meaning we didn’t have to leave the resort at all. Which was fortunate because we had absolutely no desire to leave.

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Balcony Overlooking the Pacific at Timber Cove Resort
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Corner Room at Timber Cove Resort
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Sunset at Timber Cove Resort

After waiting until the last possible second to check out (seriously, we left at 10:59) a relaxed drive to Bodega Bay was the perfect way to spend Sunday morning.

We drove through Jenner which reminded me of some of the coastal villages in Scotland. This left me missing the UK. Lucky for me a taste of home was available at the Boat House in Bodega Bay where we stopped for fish and chips.

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Fish and Chips at the Boat House in Bodega Bay

It’s amazing how much there is to do and see just a short drive away from San Francisco. One night on the Sonoma Coast left me feeling so relaxed I felt like I’d been away for a whole week.

Although it’s tempting to attempt weekend trips to Yosemite, Sequoia, or Lake Tahoe; long drives, busy resorts, and noisy campsites can be stressful. Sometimes you just really need to switch off and feel like you’re at the end of the world; the Sonoma Coast is a great place to do that.

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