The North Coast region of California runs from the Oregon border south to the San Francisco Bay Area, and from the Pacific Ocean on the west to points east at Orleans, Island Mountain and Lake Beryessa. Also called the Redwood Empire or the Redwood Coast, this region is a land of rugged shoreline, pounding surf, charming coastal towns, and Victorian villages, as well as towering redwood forests, rushing rivers, lush hills, and bountiful vineyards.
The North Coast’s National Parks, National Forests, and a multitude of state parks and historic sites provide outstanding outdoor recreational opportunities. Hiking, bird watching, boating, kayaking, fishing, surfing, climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding and simple sightseeing abound. Harbors at Fort Bragg and Eureka offer opportunities for whale-watching, crabbing tours, ocean fishing and the chance to buy fresh salmon right from the boat. The coast is home to several lighthouses including the Point Reyes Lighthouse located at the windiest place on the Pacific Coast and the second foggiest place on the North American continent.
The Redwood Forests of the region boast giant Coast Redwood. These trees can live to 1800 years or more and can reach up to 379 feet in height and up to 26 feet in diameter. Humboldt County contains over forty percent of all remaining old growth Coast Redwood forests. Near Klamath, Trees of Mystery is home to the End of the Trail Native American Museum which houses the largest privately owned collections in the world.
For those with more urban tastes, art galleries, wine tasting, music festivals and upscale restaurants are plentiful. Napa Valley is the most famous wine region in the United States with a history dating back to the early nineteenth century. Made up of a collection of 14 subappellations, or American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), each area has its own distinctive personality.
Much of the area is rural, and the only city within the region with a population of over 100,000 is Santa Rosa. Despite their size, many of the region's cities and towns have historical importance to the State and/or regional importance. Popular destinations include The Lost Coast, Bodega Bay, Fort Bragg, Clear Lake, the Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree, Ocean World in Crescent City, Sonoma County Farm Trails and Safari West in Santa Rosa.