Fort Bragg, CA is a Great Last Minute Getaway Town
Getting to Fort Bragg is part of the pleasure. There are several routes that will take you through dense redwood forests, world-class wine growing regions, or spectacular ocean-side routes. Coming and going to Fort Bragg, either way gives you opportunities to reflect on the majesty of the environment, as well as spend some serious car time with friends and family.
If you are heading north from San Francisco, there are a couple of routes that you may want to consider. While you can travel Highway 1 completely up the coast, depending upon your time frame and your brakes you may want to wait until hitting Santa Rosa on Highway 101 before heading westward.
Take River Road west off Highway 101 toward the Sonoma County Airport: This route will take you directly through some of Sonoma County's most interesting wine country and farming land. Late night and early morning fogs can obscure some of your views if you are on the roads after daylight hours, but otherwise this is usually a bright and scenic route. Plenty of places to stop and wine taste if that is your predilection. River Road intersects Highway 116 near the quaint town of Guerneville -- a great place to get out and stretch your legs, window shop or stop for a bite. Otherwise, press on to the small coastal town of Jenner, where you will commence the northward direction of your journey.
Highway 1 is a lovely, slow, twisting two-lane road through some of the most beautiful coastline that Northern California has to offer. There are great beaches to stop at, vista points, and lovely towns to explore if you have the time. This route will take three to four hours to reach Fort Bragg from Santa Rosa.
Take Highway 128 west off Highway 101 north of Cloverdale: This route gives you a nice opportunity to explore some of Mendocino's Anderson Valley wineries. Towns along the way are Boonville, Philo, and Navarro - don't drive too fast or you will pass them before you realize it. If you are winery hoping, check out the Mendocino winery listings on WineCountry.com. Travel time from Santa Rosa is around 3 and a half hours.
Take Highway 20 west off Highway 101 at Willits: This is the most direct route to Fort Bragg off Highway 101, and typically the fastest. It is only the fastest because Highway 20 is a pretty direct course west to Fort Bragg, but it is very twisty and slow. There are plenty of pull offs for slower traffic, but no real places to stop (for food, fuel or bathroom breaks). Make sure you take care of all your needs in the fun town of Willits before you embark on this journey. If you are interested in redwood splendor and fern grottos, this is the direction you will want to go. The scenery is ancient and spectacular. Trip time from Santa Rosa around 3 hours.
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