Pigeon Point Lighthouse
Photo: doncon402/Fotolia

Northern California offers many scenic spots and unique activities, from wine tasting and food tours to hiking, mountain biking and other outdoor adventures. See the scenic cliffs of Big Sur, ride a bike through Napa Valley, CA, soak in the hot springs surrounded by wilderness, and explore the Monterey Peninsula with its beautiful views and a diverse choice of activities. You may also like: 10 Lake Tahoe Weekend Escapes and Romantic Getaways in Southern California.

»Calistoga Ranch, Calistoga - 1 hour 35 minutes from San Francisco

Calistoga Ranch, Calistoga - 1 hour 35 minutes from San Francisco


Calistoga Ranch in Napa Valley is set on 175 relaxing and serene acres, offering an unforgettable setting for a romantic getaway. The resort has fifty rooms decorated in charming rustic and natural themes with a touch of elegance. From polished wood floors to floor-to-ceiling windows, guests will find plenty of comfort. Each room has a fireplace, Italian linens, down duvets, a private outdoor shower garden, complimentary Wi-Fi, a TV, and a mini-bar. Guests can treat themselves at the spa, which offers warm water therapy, outdoor treatments, programs and classes, mineral pools, a yoga deck, and massages.

Guests have access to a heated swimming pool, sundecks, a fitness facility, bocce ball courts, scenic hiking trails, a private lake and stream, and the lodge boutique. Dining options are offered in the Lakeside dining room, on the terrace, in the lounge, and by the pool. Gourmet picnic baskets are available for day trips. Rates start at $950 per night.

580 Lommel Rd, Calistoga, 707-254-2800 Photo: Calistoga Ranch

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»Costanoa Lodge, Pescadero - 1 hour from San Francisco

Costanoa Lodge, Pescadero - 1 hour from San Francisco


Surrounded by acres of undisturbed wilderness on California's scenic coast, Costanoa is an eco adventure resort that encourages guests to explore the extraordinary beauty of this pristine and protected region. Accommodations range from guestrooms in the main lodge and log cabins to distinctive tent bungalows. All rooms are splendidly done up with modern décor and homey furnishings. Lodge rooms and cabins enjoy private bathrooms, while the tent bungalows enjoy three accommodating comfort stations featuring restrooms, indoor hot showers, a 24-hour dry sauna and an outdoor fireplace. Costanoa’s Cascade Bar & Grill serves fresh California coastal cuisine made from locally sourced, organic ingredients in a warm and welcoming setting. The menu is updated on a seasonal basis and it is advisable to reserve a table on weekends due to the popularity of the restaurant.

Countless outdoor activities and adventures await guests at Costanoa. There are over 30,000 acres of hiking trailers that can be explored on foot, bike, or horseback, and four immaculate state parks full of wildlife will definitely attract sightseers and adventurers alike. Be sure to check out the country’s largest Elephant Seal rookery at Año Nuevo and the majestic redwoods of Big Basin State Park. Cabins start at $86 per night.

2001 Rossi Rd, Pescadero, 650-879-1100 Photo: Costanoa Lodge

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»Eden Vale Inn - 2 hours 15 minutes from San Francisco

Eden Vale Inn - 2 hours 15 minutes from San Francisco

Eden Vale Inn is all about romance. Less than an hour from Sacramento, snuggled on ten acres of spectacular gardens with a tranquil pond, in the middle of Sierra Foothills wine region, this upscale B&B is designed to exceed your expectations. All seven spacious rooms are completely private, with your own entrance to the garden, outdoor secluded hot tub, gas fireplace, luxury furniture, and modern amenities such as HDTV's, and DVD/Blu-ray players.

Take the love of your life in a boat to the lake under the stars, have a drink in the garden, enjoy the soothing spa or roast some marshmallows by the garden fire pit. In the morning, before you go exploring wineries, enjoy a gourmet breakfast and the innkeepers’ famous scones.

1780 Springvale Rd, Placerville, CA 95667, 530-621-0901 Photo: Eden Vale Inn

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»Weller House Inn, Fort Bragg - 2 hours 45 minutes from San Francisco

Weller House Inn, Fort Bragg  - 2 hours 45 minutes from San Francisco


Once abandoned and slated for demolition, new life was breathed into the walls of the Weller House in 1994 when it was lovingly restored into a beautiful Victorian-style bed and breakfast in Fort Bragg. Nine guest rooms are tastefully decorated to reflect the heritage of the house, with hand-painted ceilings, plush carpets, beds covered in fine linens, and deep, claw -foot soaking tubs. Some rooms have beautiful bay windows with lovely views while the water tower, the town’s tallest structure, has breathtaking vistas from its rooftop viewing deck. Delight in a hearty country-style breakfast in the dining room every morning, or enjoy spirited tango dancing events held on certain weekends in the elegant redwood-panel ballroom hosted by innkeeper Vivien LaMothe. Rooms start at $110 per night.

524 Stewart St, Fort Bragg, 707-964-4415

More romantic places to stay: Brewery Gulch Inn and The Inn Above Tide Photo: Weller House

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»Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur - 2 hours 40 minutes

Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur - 2 hours 40 minutes

Post Ranch Inn is a spectacular getaway on the coastal cliffs of Big Sur. Guest rooms have stunning views, and overlook either the ocean or the mountains through large windows. The beds are fitted with comfortable linens, and guests will appreciate the coffee and tea, private baths, and free Wi-Fi. The spa offers several types of massages, facials, jade stone, crystal, and gemstone therapy, body polish, body exfoliation and body wraps.

Guests can participate in guided nature walks, tai chi, yoga, Pilates, work out at the fitness center and relax next to the pool. Sierra Mar restaurant offers a complimentary gourmet breakfast buffet each morning. The restaurant serve innovative cuisine with stunning views and has an award-winning wine cellar.

47900 CA-1, Big Sur, 831-667-2200

More weekend trip ideas: Santa Rosa, San Jose and Sacramento Photo: Post Ranch Inn

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»Carmel Valley Ranch, Carmel - 2 hours 10 minutes

Carmel Valley Ranch, Carmel - 2 hours 10 minutes


Carmel Valley Ranch in Carmel is a relaxing weekend getaway with nine different types of suites with a private bath, a separate shower and tub, a private deck, a fireplace, a 42-inch TV, and complimentary Wi-Fi. There is a seemingly endless list of things to do on the 500 acre property, including garden tours, golf, tennis, yoga and basketball.

The ranch offers sport courts, a children’s camp, and tree swings. The spa offers a pool and hot tubs, bocce, massages, therapies, skincare, nail care, and waxing. The River Ranch Café serves tasty burgers, wines, and cocktails in a casual setting. The Clubhouse offers another pleasant casual dining experience with delightful fare such as Buffalo wings, fish tacos, and spaghetti. The Lounge offers lamb sirloin, Angus ribeye steak, and double cut pork chops.

1 Old Ranch Rd, Carmel-By-The-Sea, 831-574-5570 Photo: Carmel Valley Ranch

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»Deetjen's Big Sur Inn, Big Sur - 2 hours 40 minutes

Deetjen's Big Sur Inn, Big Sur - 2 hours 40 minutes


Deetjen's Big Sur Inn is a romantic and secluded escape whose allure will enchant visitors. This rustic-style inn offers twenty rooms, most of which have a private bath and beautiful views. The rooms have antique furniture full of character, soft linens, and plenty of charm, ensuring that guests will feel perfectly at home during their stay. Take a walk through the gardens or follow the hiking trails on the property. The redwoods that surround the inn create a pleasant ambience that allows visitors to enjoy and relax during their getaway.

Fine dining is offered in one of four rooms every evening. The menu includes locally grown and organic foods, as well as select wines from the California vineyards. The Deetjens Restaurant also serves breakfast each morning, including homemade granola, eggs benedict, and smoked salmon bagels.

48865 CA-1, Big Sur, 831-667-2377 Photo: Deetjen's Big Sur Inn

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»Flamingo Resort and Spa, Santa Rosa - 1 hour 10 minutes

Flamingo Resort and Spa, Santa Rosa - 1 hour 10 minutes


Luxurious, elegant, and stylish, The Flamingo Resort and Spa combines modern facilities, deluxe amenities, and attentive service with a laid-back, retro vibe to create a relaxing country retreat. This historic Santa Rosa landmark is conveniently situated in the heart of the wine country, offering an array of things to see and do, from world-class shopping to fine dining.

Handsomely styled rooms feature designer décor in subtle tones, along with king-sized beds, spacious living areas and private, en-suite bathrooms with baths and showers. State-of-the-art technology in the form of flat screen televisions, data portals, and speakerphones can be found in every room, and pet-friendly rooms can be arranged.

Staying fit is easy at the resort - guests have access to a full-service spa and health club, a modern yoga/cycling studio, two Olympic-sized swimming pools, and five tennis courts. After all that exercise, savor delicious cuisine at the Terrace Grille Restaurant and Lounge where nightly entertainment set in a contemporary and chic environment is sure to delight. Rooms start at $149 per night.

2777 4th St, Santa Rosa, 707-545-8530

You may also like: 18 Best Things To Do in Santa Rosa. Photo: Flamingo Resort and Spa

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»Gosby House Inn, Pacific Grove 2 hours from San Francisco

Gosby House Inn, Pacific Grove 2 hours from San Francisco


The Gosby House Inn in Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula has an elegant Victorian charm that guests will notice and admire as soon as they arrive. There are twenty-two guest rooms at the Inn, each with its own individual flair. Most of the rooms have fireplaces, flat screen TVs, a jetted spa tub, and a private bath.

Amenities and forms of entertainment available to guests throughout the day include movies, books, games, toiletries, Wi-Fi, and refreshments. You might also want to look into the in-room spa treatments, which are truly unforgettable and include services such as Swedish massages, aromatherapy messages, and European facials with both male and female therapists available upon request. You can relax and get to know other guests in the sitting areas, which can be found both indoors and in the garden. A complimentary breakfast buffet is served each morning, with delectable options such as blueberry pancakes, fresh fruit, and muffins. During the day, guests are able to enjoy wine, cheeses, hors d’oeuvres, and cookies. Rooms start at $120 per night.

643 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, 831-375-1287 Photo: Gosby House Inn

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»Strawberry Creek Bunkhouse

Strawberry Creek Bunkhouse


Getting close to nature does not necessarily mean roughing it. You can be in the middle of the majestic San Bernardino National Forest and still enjoy all the comforts of home in the charming, rustic Strawberry Creek Bunkhouse, an 18-room 'Boutique Motel', located in the small mountain town of Idyllwild, California.

Spend the day hiking, rock climbing, fishing or biking, and when you come back your cozy private Bunkhouse will wait for you with a comfortable bed, private bathroom, TV, free Wi-Fi, and your own balcony with spectacular view of the mountains. When you wake up in the morning, there will be a basket of breakfast goodies waiting in front of the door. Feel free to bring the kids and even the dog along, as all are welcome.

25525 Banning-Idyllwild Panoramic Hwy, Idyllwild, CA 92549, 951-659-2201 Photo:

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»Brannan Cottage Inn

Brannan Cottage Inn


The Brannan Cottage Inn is an award-winning luxury inn in Napa Valley that seamlessly blends its colorful past and modern role of an intimate, cozy place for a romantic getaway. It started its life in 1862 as one of the Hot Springs Resorts built by Samuel Brannan, the founder of Calistoga.

Beautifully restored and modernized, the old Victorian beauty now offers all modern comforts in its six large rooms while retaining its timeless elegance. The inn is surrounded by meticulously maintained lush gardens. Guests are in the good hands of the inn’s experienced concierge, who can organize a visit to the area’s famous wineries, book a free Calistoga Shuttle or a bike for those more adventurous who like to explore on their own.

109 Wappo Avenue, Calistoga CA, 707-942-4200 Photo:

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»The Citizen Hotel

The Citizen Hotel


Built in 1927 and designed by California’s famous architect George Sellon, The Citizen Hotel in Sacramento started its life as the headquarters for the Cal State Life Insurance. Meticulous restauration brought the beautiful Sacramento building to the 21st century but retained its elegance and character with soaring ceilings, marble panels, and a grand center staircase. All 198 rooms and suites are luxuriously appointed and full of modern amenities such as iPod docks, flat-screen TVs, minibars and Keurig coffeemakers.

Each room has unique feel and character, and some have spectacular views of the city or mosaic tiled bathrooms. The hotel has a beautiful rooftop terrace, a popular restaurant and bar, The Grange, a fitness room, and elegant event spaces. The hotel is located in the center of things, overlooking Cesar Chavez Plaza Park and a short walk to Crocker Art Museum and California State Capitol.

926 J Street Sacramento, CA, 95814, 916-447-2700 Photo:

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»Cottage Grove Inn

Cottage Grove Inn

It is not difficult to find romance in the charming little town of Calistoga, in the heart of Napa Valley wine country. Famous for its hot springs, it has been a tourist destination for more than a century. Cottage Grove Inn kept the romance of the old times but added modern amenities and created 16 private, spacious cottages that offer world class luxury surrounded by lush greenery of its beautiful shady garden.

Each cottage has a fireplace surrounded with overstuffed armchairs, luxury oversized Jacuzzi, private porch, soaring ceilings with skylights and unique charm that comes from combing new and old and great taste and style. Guests are treated with a gourmet buffet breakfast with freshly baked pastries, served on the patio surrounded by profusion of seasonal flowers, or in the privacy of your own porch.

1711 Lincoln Avenue Calistoga, CA 94515, 707-942-8400 Photo:

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»Oleander House Bed and Breakfast

Oleander House Bed and Breakfast

Snuggled in the heart of the Napa Valley and its many excellent wineries, Oleander House is a charming, romantic bed and breakfast not far from the village of Yountville. With Laura Ashley wallpapers, antique furniture, sparkling chandeliers and brightly colored details, Oleander House is romantic and feminine, and will envelop you in comfort and hospitality.

All five rooms are unique in décor and amenities, but all have luxury bed linens and opulent bathrooms. If you feel like socializing, a lovely flower-filled garden offers outdoor hot tub and comfortable seating area. Guests are treated with home-made breakfast that always includes something freshly baked that will wake you up with the warm smells of home. Read more

7433 St. Helena Hwy., Napa, CA 94558, 707-944-8315 Photo:

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»The Redwood Riverwalk Hotel

The Redwood Riverwalk Hotel

Visiting Fortuna in California’s Humboldt County makes you wonder about the fortune of people who live there, surrounded by so much natural beauty. Magnificent towering redwoods, six roaring rivers, endless rugged ocean coast and fertile valley full of charming historic towns, Fortuna is where you should start your exploration of this beautiful part of the country, and the Redwood Riverwalk Hotel should be your home base.

Home is the right word, since this hotel offers luxury comforts of a world-class establishment with the feel and vibe of a warm, welcoming home. Magnificent murals depict the surrounding awesome nature, the history of the area and the life of the Native American Weott tribe. All rooms and suites are beautifully decorated and appointed, with great linens, modern baths, air-conditioning, and TVs. Enjoy the hotel’s excellent breakfast at the Cantina, go for a swim in the large swimming pool, and then head out and take in some of the most beautiful scenery nature put together in one place.

1859 Alamar Way, Fortuna, CA 95540, 707-725-5500 Photo:

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»Monarch Cove Inn

Monarch Cove Inn

High up on the cliff overlooking the ocean and surrounded by enchanting gardens, Monarch Cove Inn is your own little corner of heaven. With unforgettable views of the romantic Monterey Bay, this beautifully restored Victorian mansion built in 1895 offers world-class luxury accommodation just a few steps from the charming Capitola Village.

Each of the nine queen-size bedrooms and two two-bedroom suites are beautifully decorated with period details, private entrance, and luxury bathrooms. They are also unique in a special way – some have a private courtyard, others overlook the expanse of the ocean, or have a fireplace or a Jacuzzi tub. Guests enjoy breakfast in the privacy of their own room.

620 El Salto Drive, Capitola, CA 95010, 831-464-1295 Photo:

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»Camelia Inn

Camelia Inn


The exquisite Camellia Inn greets you with the profusion of blooming camellias, no less than 50 different kinds of them. Snuggled in charming Healdsburg in the heart of Sonoma County, where the weather is always beautiful, wines are superb and food is fabulous, Camellia Inn will make sure that your visit is memorable.

Built in 1871 as a home for Ransome Powel, the lovely building went through many incarnations before it became a peaceful oasis for those who are looking for a romance and privacy. This luxury bed and breakfast has nine lovely rooms and five off-site apartments and cottages filled with antiques and superb comfort of high class bed linens and opulent bathrooms with just enough technology to remind you that you are in 21st century. After enjoying the inn’s unparalleled comfort and sumptuous breakfast, stroll through the lovingly maintained garden, splash in the swimming pool, or venture out to explore Sonoma’s famous wineries.

211 North St. Healdsburg, CA 95448, 707-433-8182 Photo:

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»Alegria Inn

Alegria Inn

Strolling along the Main Street in the historic charming Mendocino Village, you will notice a quaint blue house that is today Alegria Inn. When Alf Nelson built it in 1861 for his family, he could not possibly imagine that one day the house will be home to Alegria Inn, a place where people come from all over the world to be away from it all, secluded but still steps from everything.

The inn is surrounded by a spectacular garden filled with rare plants and exquisite antique roses, and is connected by a narrow path to a little cove with fine sandy beach. Guests can enjoy the full luxury of the opulent rooms in the main house or in private cottages snuggled on the bluff overlooking the sea. Each room has its private entrance, a deck, fireplace, luxurious bathroom, and all those little touches that make the stay in a hotel so special. A gourmet organic locally sourced breakfast is served in the bright dining room overlooking the ocean.

44781 Main St, Mendocino, CA 95460, 707-937-5150

You may also like: Romantic Napa & Sonoma Wine Country Vacations Photo:

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»Inn on Randolph

Inn on Randolph


Inn on Randolph is a modern, luxury boutique inn that fully respects its 19th century origins. Built in 1860 in Napa for Hannah Moore and her family, this beautiful Victorian building served as a hospital and maternity ward for many years. What were once maternity rooms are today luxury guest rooms full of modern amenities, offering guests a perfect blend of privacy, luxury, and modern comfort.

Guests can choose one of the rooms in the main residence, or can stay in private secluded cottages on the inn’s one-acre estate, surrounded by flowers and trees. All rooms are unique and beautifully appointed, with spacious bathrooms with heated floors, high quality beds, and luxury linen. Cottages have LCD TVs, spa tubs, romantic fireplaces, private entrances, and their own little gardens for ultimate privacy. A freshly made breakfast is served in the large, bright dining room or out on the deck.

411 Randolph Street, Napa, CA 94559, 707-257-2886 Photo:

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»Mono Hot Springs, Lakeshore

Mono Hot Springs, Lakeshore

Mono Hot Springs is provides outdoor enthusiasts and adventure-lovers with a variety of exciting things to see and do. Cozy resort cabins, natural hot springs, crystal alpine lakes, and breathtaking natural landscapes are alluring highlights of this resort, and whether you are looking for a quiet, relaxing holiday or an adventure-packed break, Mono Hot Springs has something for everyone.

Historic stone cabins feature cozy furnishings in a mountain lodge style, with cozy fireplaces, ample living space, and private bathrooms. The resort promises guests a true ‘Wilderness Experience,’meaning that cabins do not have televisions or telephones; however, there is Wi-Fi available for computer use.

Guests can dine at the River Rock Café, located in the main lodge, or cook up something for themselves using one of the outdoor grills and dine under the stars. Indulge in a pampering massage, relax in the hot mineral springs, hike or horseback ride one of the many trails in and around the resort, or partake in fishing, boating, or kayaking on one of the alpine lakes in the area. Cabins start at $85 per night.

70000 Edison Lake Rd, Lakeshore, 559-325-1710 Photo: Mono Hot Springs, Lakeshore

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»Coast Guard House Historic Inn & Cottages

Coast Guard House Historic Inn & Cottages


Once home to courageous coast guards who braved the sea to rescue those in trouble, Coast Guard House is a piece of maritime history in Point Arena. After standing guard proudly high above the Mendocino Coast since 1901, this beautiful Cape Cod building is now a romantic, secluded bed and breakfast, offering sanctuary to those who are searching for peace and escape from the stress of everyday life.

The lovely inn’s comfortable, spacious rooms are beautifully decorated with fireplaces for those cool, blustery nights, and all modern amenities. There are also two separate private cottages that offer even more privacy, fireplaces and oversized whirlpool tubs big enough for two. Instead of searching for troubled sailors to rescue, guests can watch humpback whales, sea lions, and spectacular sunsets. Strolling along the beach, kayaking, or sharing a bottle of wine in the inn’s garden are further options.

695 Arena Cove, Point Arena, California, CA 95468, 707-882-2442 Photo:

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»Shady Oaks Country Inn

Shady Oaks Country Inn


Starting your day with a champagne breakfast under the 100-years old wisteria is the right way to romance the love of your life. Shady Oaks Country Inn knows about romance. This lovely country inn, built in 1880s, was one of the first original Napa Valley wineries, and the inn retained many charming touches of the original rustic space.

Three luxury suites are exceptionally comfortable, with antique beds, a fireplace, opulent private bathrooms and balconies or private door to the garden. Guests enjoy all modern amenities of a modern hotel such as free Wi-Fi and flat screen TVs. In the evening, they are treated with a complimentary wine and cheese.

399 Zinfandel Lane, St. Helena, CA 94574, 707-963-1190

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»Horizon Inn & Ocean View Lodge

Horizon Inn & Ocean View Lodge


Guests looking for a room with a view will be in heaven here. The Horizon Inn offers beautiful views of both Carmel Bay and the Santa Lucia mountains. Location continues to be a theme as this inn is located conveniently to both the beach and the village of Carmel.

In-room fireplaces and Jacuzzis, as well as private balconies or patios mean the rooms are designed for romance and comfort. The Ocean View Lodge also offers two cottage suites for more amenities. All rooms include a daily continental breakfast, with some accommodations including an in-room “breakfast basket.”

SWC 3rd Avenue and Junipero Street, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93921, 800-350-7723 Photo: Horizon Inn & Ocean View Lodge

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22 Best Romantic Vacation Ideas in Northern California



Driving Distances from San Francisco

From San Francisco To Driving Time
Calistoga, CA1 hour 35 minutes
Pescadero, CA1 hour
Placerville, CA2 hours 15 minutes
Fort Bragg, CA2 hours 45 minutes
Big Sur, CA2 hours 40 minutes
Carmel, CA2 hours 10 minutes
Santa Rosa, CA1 hour 10 minutes
Pacific Grove2 hours
Calistoga CA,1 hour 35 minutes
Sacramento, CA1 hour 35 minutes
Napa, CA1 hour
Fortuna, CA4 hours 45 minutes
Capitola, CA1 hour 20 minutes
Healdsburg, CA1 hour 20 minutes
Mendocino, CA3 hours
Napa, CA55 minutes
Lakeshore5 hours
Point Arena, CA3 hours 10 minutes
Helena, CA4 hours 50 minutes