Ocean stroll on the cliffs near Sea Ranch Lodge
In southern Mendocino County, the village of Gualala makes a peaceful, fresh-air base for a low-key getaway. From high-end to budget, there’s someplace for every brand of DogTrekker to cozy up with four-legged family members.
Whale Watch Inn, four miles north of Gualala on Anchor Bay, is a close-to-nature haven with ocean views from all 18 suites. You'll feel pampered from the time you enjoy a complimentary glass of wine at check-in to the time you light your wood-burning fireplace, cozy up under a down comforter and dig into the gourmet breakfast delivered to your room the next morning. Rover will feel pampered, too, with his inn-issued beach towel, bowls, blanket and bed.
Three other good bets: Surf Motel, walking distance from the center of town, overlooks the ocean and is situated at the start of the Gualala Bluff Trail, offering elevated ocean views and great wildlife watching. Gualala Country Inn, walking distance from shops and restaurants in town, is also just a stroll from the Bluff Trail. About three miles north of town, Serenisea Cottages is a small resort encompassing a cluster of four bluff-top cottages and a dozen nearby rental homes.
This part of Mendocino County has lots in the immediate vicinity to keep you busy, including nearby Gualala Point Regional Park, Stornetta Public Lands and Point Arena Lighthouse. Don't forget to look for the gray whales and humpbacks swimming close to shore in winter on their migration routes to and from Mexico. They're visible from many points along the coast from December through March.