Peek behind the "redwood curtain" on a road trip to California's wild north west, where the rest of the world simply drops away.
Road tripping in Humboldt County is an epic adventure through what was just ranked the second most beautiful county in the entire U.S.A. Just four hours north of SF, it's closer than Tahoe or Santa Barbara, and much more dynamic, offering both a kaleidoscope of outdoor activities as well as a hip urban scene.
After crossing the Mendocino County line, the first town of any size is Garberville—the perfect base for exploring Southern Humboldt. To begin your journey, stock up on local organic snacks at Chautaqua Natural Foods, before heading to King Range Books for a great selection of guidebooks and maps of the area. If time allows and the spirit of adventure calls, do the Lost Coast Scenic Drive, which cuts from Garberville over to the wild beaches of the Lost Coast itself—a coastline far too rugged to allow Highway 1 to continue north past Mendocino. An alternate route to Northern Humboldt, Lost Coast Drive will eventually bring you back to Highway 101 just south of the Humboldt Bay after passing through the Victorian village of Ferndale. // Chautaqua Natural Foods: chautauquanaturalfoods.com, King Range Books: 901 Redwood Dr (Garberville); facebook.com/KingRangeBooks
Ocean Malandra is a journalist and travel writer that divides his time between Northern California and South America. His work has appeared in everything from Business Insider and USA Today to Vice and High Times. He specializes in food, travel, health, environment, and cannabis.