COASTING THROUGH: View of the California coast at MacKerricher State Park (Stockbyte)
There's no denying the spectacular scenery of Big Sur on the central Californian coast, the way the serpentine road hugs the cliffs as you're practically swallowed up by the expanse of the Pacific. But I'm surprised more families don't venture north of San Francisco on Highway 1 to Mendocino and onward to the Avenue of the Giants and the Lost Coast, where the lightly-traveled and rugged shoreline is backed by dozens of peaks. Just outside the town of Weott, Avenue of the Giants is that special place you've seen on postcards where you drive through the trunks of massive redwood trees, some reaching mind-boggling heights of 350 feet. Then it's on to the Victorian houses of Eureka, the gateway to the Lost Coast, the only stretch of California shoreline that doesn't have a major highway near the beach. Stay at the affordable Bayview Motel, which starts at $91 a night and overlooks Humboldt Bay.
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