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The drive from Mendocino up to 101 is amazing, in great condition and with spectacular views (excepting Ft. Bragg, which is rather grim). Just as you hit 101, make a quick turn towards Leggett and drive through a redwood tree at **Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree Park (just 1/2 mile out of the way). It’s completely silly and fun.

From there, alongside 101 is the **Avenue of the Giants – another popular tourist destination. While I find Muir Woods more impressive, this is worthwhile, and gets even better after the first 10 miles or so. Watch out though – we tried and failed to find decent food along this entire route, very limited options!

The traditional place to stay in this area is the *Benbow Historic Inn. Some people love it, we found it a little dated and loud (close to the road). But it would work as a replacement for Mendocino.

Ferndale

Ferndale is a little out of the way, but not horribly so. It’s a beautiful, well-preserved Victorian showpiece of a town. On our visit, it was so dead it felt like a movie set. If you do make it, don’t miss the cemetery, which has great views and is quite interesting. **Curley’s Full Circle, on Ferndale’s Main Street, was surprising good.

Eureka

Continuing north, the scenic qualities dip as you pass through Eureka and Arcata. Do take two minutes to drive by the impressive Carson Mansion, aka the Ingomar Club, 143 M Street, Eureka. Regarded as one of the premier examples of Queen Anne style architecture in the United States, the house is “considered the most grand Victorian home in America.” Not open to the public.

Another historic site in Eureka is the Samoa Cookhouse (dating back to 1893, the “oldest cookhouse in the West”), if your drive coincides with lunch time.

After Arcata, more beautiful roads and opportunities for elk sightings.

Klamath

We stayed at the **Requa Inn (451 Requa Road, Klamath), which was awesomely quaint. Very B&B, for the social and retired, but still fun and very charming. We slept very well, to the tune of sea lions. Has a decent restaurant (and nowhere else nearby to eat). (2023 update – it looks like they only serve breakfast; worth doing some research to find a dinner option.)


The **Klamath River Overlook was a beautiful short hike, with great views from the bluff.

Don’t miss **Trees of Mystery, just north of town: Paul Bunyan and his ox! You can’t miss this, right on the 101 near the Oregon border. We skipped the tour but the statues in the parking lot are pretty cool.

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