Now’s the time to set your sights for a Sea Ranch vacation! With 2021’s winter holidays completed and the new year’s calendar in your hand, gather your family and friends to plan anew.
Whether it’s your first time to Sea Ranch or a return visit to this favored location, we have you covered with inspiration and insider’s tips.
First Tip – Book Directly!
Our first and most important tip is to book your Sea Ranch Vacation Rental directly!
Sea Ranch Travel Guide to Savings
Many of you may think the first step is to search Airbnb Sea Ranch Vacation Rentals to find a place to stay and then book it on that platform. That would certainly work to find a vacation home to rent, including our own Abalone Bay oceanfront, dog-friendly home with a private courtyard and hot tub.
Airbnb’s Dirty Little Secret
Save Even More!
Now that you’ve put the booking fees in your pocket, how would you like even more savings? When you book directly, it’s quite possible you’ll save at least 10% or more overall in the nightly rental costs!
How do I know that? Because, I like many others increase their rates on the booking sites to cover our own costs for paying to play on their platforms.
How to Find the Direct Booking Site
We at Abalone Bay want to help you save money and book vacation rentals safely whether you stay with us or others. The booking platforms are helpful if only to give you an idea of homes available to rent for your vacation. We recommend that once you found your home look for clues in the description that could help lead you to discover the listed home’s own website. For instance in all our booking site listings you’ll see our full – and “Google-able” name, Sea Ranch Abalone Bay. Using that term try Googling it and Voila! There we are.
We suggest you look at an earlier blog post, “14 Brilliant Ways to Book Vacation Rentals Safely” to learn other means of tracking down a vacation home’s direct booking site if unknown to you.
But Wait – There’s an Added Plus!
Guests who subscribe to become members of our Inner Circle have the added plus of even more savings when they use our special Inner Circle membership promo code!
For instance, were you to book 5 days over the July 4th summer break as an Inner Circle member your total savings would be …
Wait for it…
A whopping $2254!
Now ask yourself – is the added 10% nightly cost, PLUS the $500, without the added discount as an Inner Circle Member worth the convenience when you can book directly with someone you know and trust?
So before we dive into more Sea Ranch vacation tips, take a quick moment to subscribe below to become a member of our Inner Circle.
Soon you too will be on your way to your Sea Ranch adventure with significant savings!
Now on to the rest of our Sea Ranch travel tips…
What to Pack
Your Mask and a Spare!
Our Sea Ranch Community Thanks You for Your Consideration!
We strongly advise you visit current federal, state, and county COVID protocols before you pack to leave for Sea Ranch. Currently all of California including The Sea Ranch requires the use of a mask while in public spaces, inside, but as you’ve learned over the last two years, those can change rapidly. Therefore, we advise you double check the specific guidance by the State before you leave.
Life at The Sea Ranch and surrounding towns along the Mendonoma Coast tends to be very laid back and casual. Unless you are attending a special event such as a wedding (see below), coastal casual (sweatshirt, jeans, and walking shoes) or country-wear (cotton tees, alpaca throws, and slip-on shoes) will be perfect.
Layered-Look for All Seasons
Coastal winds frequently blow across the meadows, sometimes unforgivingly, especially during Spring.
While the sun will come out~eventually~ it’s more likely that your Summer days will be cool and foggy. The fog usually moves in and out along with the winds as the sun goes up or down.
Spring and most especially Fall are our more temperate seasons.
Expect winter to be more blustery, cold, and, with any luck rainy.
For your daily wear you’ll want the following:
We suggest polo or tee shirts. Include short-sleeved and long-sleeved, as the temperature can be fickle.
Hoodie, sweatshirt, light jacket, or heavier jacket with a removable and wearable lining:
A windbreaker or sweatshirt will help when the coastal breezes kick up on the coast. It will also be helpful for when the fog comes in or out. Cold weather periods are relatively mild. On occasion, there may be frost in winter. The nights can get cool.
Shawl or poncho
Many find a shawl or poncho sufficient for the coastal breezes, especially made of light wool.
Comfortable shoes and socks
You’ll want comfortable shoes and socks for hiking and/or jogging the ocean bluff trails. The trails can be wet with the dew or drizzle from the fog and muddy during the rainy season. So you’ll want shoes that are also waterproof and easily cleaned.
Sandals, tennies, slip-on, or other casual shoes will be perfect for going into town for shopping, or out to dinner at one of the restaurants.
Hiking, jogging wear, and equipment
Sea Ranch has 40 miles of trails along the ocean bluffs and in the redwood groves that are perfect for hiking or jogging. While the trails are generally easy to navigate, you may wish to pack walking sticks. If you enjoy hiking or jogging to tunes, be sure to include headphones and a recorded playlist. You must use headphones while outside to assure all may continue to enjoy the sounds of nature, not your playlist.
Slacks and shorts
You’ll find your causal walking slacks or jeans will be perfect for trail and in-town wear. In the warmer months, shorts are perfect. Just be sure to stay on the groomed paths if wearing shorts as the meadows have ticks and burrs.
You’ll want to protect yourself from the sun and the winds. If you bring a wide-brim hat, be sure it also has a tie. When the wind blows, you’ll not want to climb down the ocean cliffs to retrieve it in the ocean!
Swimsuit and suntan lotion
Definitely pack your swimsuit! Abalone Bay has a hot tub and Sea Ranch has three recreation centers, each with its own pools. Ohlson Recreation Center is a short walk from Abalone Bay. And don’t forget the suntan lotion. Remember you can get a sunburn even when it is foggy out!
Large pool towels
While Abalone Bay provides bathrobes plus spa towels for the hot tub, you may wish to pack your own pool/beach towels.
Golf/tennis/basketball/volleyball attire and equipment
Sea Ranch does not have a specific “dress code” for golf, tennis, or other sports. However, you may find you’ll be comfortable if you pack sports-related clothing. Don’t forget to bring your own gear (golf clubs, basketball, tennis rackets, and balls).
Wedding Attire Tips
Of course, if you are a member of the wedding party your wardrobe will be pre-determined. If attire has not yet been decided you’ll want to share with the bridal party these tips:
Cleaning and ironing
If your wedding attire needs to be cleaned or refreshed, be aware there are no dry cleaning services available anywhere above Bodega and below Fort Bragg. We do have a washing machine and dryer. We recommend that you inquire with your host if they, as Abalone Bay does, provide a steam iron, handheld steamer, and ironing table.
However, if you have a large party we recommend you pack a full-size garment steamer.
Shoes- Flats or ballet style shoes
If your wedding will be outside we recommend you wear flats or ballet style shoes and save the heels for the dance floor. Otherwise, you’ll be aerating the meadow with your heels.
Coats, wrap, sweater, or jacket
The wind or fog is sure to pop up when you least expect it~Be prepared!
For more suggestions visit our blog post on Packing List Must Haves
Dog Owner Tip
If you are a dog owner, naturally you’ll want to bring your pet along with you. Lucky you, that many homes, like Abalone Bay, are dog friendly.
However, before you do bring your pet, we strongly recommend you consult with your veterinarian about putting your dog on a flea and tick regimen. Unlike the Northeast, ticks are active year-round in California. Our own dogs have picked up ticks! Thankfully given their tick treatments the moment they start sucking the blood they die.
We also strongly recommend that you pack tweezers for your dog in the likelihood ticks jump aboard your pet or yourself when hiking the trails.
Lyme Disease and other tick-borne diseases can be contracted at any time of the year. It can be deadly to your dog. Coastal areas such as Sea Ranch are considered high-risk areas.
Learn more about Ticks:
- TICK EXPLOSION AT SEA RANCH AND BEYOND
- 5 TIPS TO PROTECT AGAINST SEA RANCH TICKS
- 10 GOOD SENSE TIPS TO PROTECT AGAINST TICKS AND TICK BORNE DISEASES
For the Adventurous
If you’re looking for boatloads of fun or relaxation on the river, check out Adventure Rents!
- 2 hour: $50/person 1-8 people
- 4 hour: $60/person 1-8 people
- All day: $707person 1-8 people
- Active-duty Service Discount 25%
- Boat for you and your gear up the river and take care of everything when you’re done.
- Basic Training & Safety from an experienced river guide.
- Life Jacket -Boating gear to keep you warm, comfortable, and safe during your trip.
- Free parking at the shuttle pickup location.
- Dry-Bags for Food & Belongings to picnic along the riverbanks and enjoy the wildlife
- Return Shuttle
Know before you go
We suggest you visit their River and Wildlife page to learn more about the beauty and wonder of our lovely river.
Below is a list things to remember when you’re exploring The Sea Ranch Trails
- Bring your guest pass and your mask when on Sea Ranch property
- All trails are marked and numbered
- Follow the arrows on the trails
Be aware of what is not allowed at Sea Ranch including:
- Drones are not allowed in Sea Ranch- as indicated by the trail posts
- Smoking is not allowed on the trails
Some trails with historical significance will also include a short description of historical interest that expands when you connect your phone to the QR Code posted.
Public Access Trails
There are 6 public trails. Each begins at the parking lots made available to visitors along Highway 1. Trail signs along with posted signs inform public visitors where their access ends.
- Bluff Top Trail
3 miles one way – Runs along the headlands from Walk On Beach to Gualala Point Regional Park. See cypress groves, windswept meadows, and unique sandstone formations.
- Walk on Beach Trail
0.25 miles one way – Passes through a large Monterey cypress grove to a quarter-mile beach reached by a bluff-top staircase.
- Shell Beach Trail
0.65 miles one way – Runs through pines and meadow to a wide, sandy beach with sea rocks and tide pools. Small boats can be carried to the ocean via a beach ramp.
- Stengel Beach Trail
0.12 miles one way – Short path lined with cypress leads to a wooden staircase and small beach. Look for seasonal waterfalls on the cliffs.
- Pebble Beach Trail
0.27 miles one way – Weaves through pines and meadow to a sandy cove reached by stairs.
- Black Point Trail
0.25 miles one way – Crosses the bluffs to a curving, quarter-mile beach reached by a steep staircase. This beach is just north of Black Point cape and popular with surfers.
Where to Eat
After all that adventure and excitement you’ll of course be hungry. Naturally, you’l also want to give the cook a holiday too. Below are just a few of our recommendations for where to eat when at Sea Ranch. We’ve listed more on our Restaurants Page. And of course when you download our Sea Ranch Vacation and Travel Guidebook you’ll discover even more.
The Sea Ranch Lodge Restaurant
5 pm-9 pm Thursday-Monday
Reservations made via OpenTable: The Sea Ranch Lodge
Walk-in guests without reservations report they have been seated promptly in the outdoor seating area. It is actually quiet and nice on the porch.
The Sea Ranch Lodge Restaurant provides in-season, locally sourced with quality ingredients, and impeccably prepared – for lunch and dinner. Their goal is to be a gathering place for the community and guests in a fresh and new space that honors the legacy of the Lodge while tantalizing the palate with flavors that celebrate the bounty that the area has to offer – from lush produce to the freshest catch. We aim to offer fair and approachable pricing – inviting locals regularly and inspiring visitors to make the trip – and to serve meals with the warmth and care of being in someone’s home.
Executive Chef, Eric Piacentine, was most recently the Executive Chef at the Big Sur Bakery. Before that, he spent almost 10 years at Bernardus Lodge.
- 60 Sea Walk Dr, Sea Ranch, CA 95497
- (707) 579-9777
Coffee Shop at The Sea Ranch Lodge
The Sea Ranch Lodge now offers a small café that will allow you to grab a cup of coffee and a bite to eat. Items served include roasted Sea Ranch coffee, teas, smoothies, juices, and breakfast and lunch items such as French Ricotta, Goat Cheese Toast, and a House Smoked Salmon Plate.
- 60 Sea Walk Dr, Sea Ranch, CA 95497
- (707) 579-9777
Anchor Bay Thai Kitchen
In out opinion you’ll always find excellent home-cooked Thai food! One of our very favorite spots for dinner with extremely generous portions!
It also has an outdoor, COVID-19 compliant socially distanced seating. We thought their Pad Thai was delicious. We also had the chicken satay and pumpkin curry.
- 35517 CA-1, Gualala, CA 95445
- (707) 884-4141
Arts and Culture Venues
The Dolphin, staffed entirely by volunteers, features art and fine crafts by local artists and those in the extended coastal communities of Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. These artists frequently serve as volunteers at the gallery. The inventory changes regularly, and each month the Gallery presents exhibits of work by local artists who are members of Gualala Arts.
Visitors to Sea Ranch return to Gualala’s Dolphin time after time to enjoy the shopping experience and see the new exhibits. The Dolphin also serves as a Sea Ranch / Gualala area Visitor Center where visitors can obtain information about our coastal communities, such as where to find other art galleries, where to go horseback riding or rent kayaks, and where to find restaurants and accommodations.
- 39114 Ocean Drive, Gualala, CA, in the Cypress Village.
- Open 11 am – 4 pm Thursday to Monday, (closed Tues & Wed)
- (707) 884-3896
Their usual hours are Saturdays only from 11 – 4 or by appointment. Please contact them at email@example.com to arrange an appointment time.
Gallery owners Maynard Hale Lyndon and Lu Wendel Lyndon are always available to answer your questions. If you are not able to visit on Saturday, they are happy to open for you and one other person during this COVID time any day between 11 – 4.
Visit their Facebook page to learn of current exhibits
Maynard Hale Lyndon is brother to The Sea Ranch founding architect, Donlyn Lyndon.
Maynard is an artist in his own right, known especially for his “Looking Boxes.” Prior to this current location and previously, Placewares in Gualala, he and his wife were integral parts of the famous Design Research (D/R) store before they founded their own firm. They are part of the history of modern design in the United States. Learn more about Maynard and Lu in an interview by Kenneth Caldwell done prior to their selling the Placewares to retire, for just a quick moment, before un-retiring to start their own Gallery.
If you enjoy that interview you’ll enjoy the Dwell article and photos, Partners in Design, as well.
- 1000 Annapolis Road
- The Sea Ranch, CA
Is That All There Is?
As P. T. Barnum once said, “Always leave them wanting more!” So, yes of course there’s lots more great Sea Ranch Vacation Tips to be had. But to have them all you’ll need to download our Vacation and Travel Guide!
And for those of you who already have….
Welcome to our Inner Circle❤️!
To all of you who have joined our Inner Circle you now have access to your own personal copy of our Vacation and Travel Guide ❤️.
Plus you’ll be first to know of newly released dates, events, and promotions through our newsletters.
Don’t forget ~use our special membership code at booking time and you’ll receive your next booking’s discount❤️.
If you have further questions on how to make your next family road trip to Sea Ranch special, post them below in the comments.
Just relax, unwind, have fun, and enjoy your next stay a Sea Ranch Abalone Bay.