Sea Ranch has a population of about 750, of which about 300 are permanent residents. Landscaping in Sea Ranch is regulated by a design manual which prohibits perimeter fences and limits non-indigenous plants to screened courtyards. A herd of sheep is used to keep grass cut low to the ground to reduce the threat of fire during the summer months.
Sea Ranch is located on the Pacific Ocean. The typical way to reach it is by car. From the south, the most scenic route is north on Highway 1, from Jenner or further south in Sonoma County or Marin County. However, the frequent turns can be tough on car passengers. An alternative is to take Highway 101 to Healdsburg, then Stewart Point - Skaggs Springs Road to Stewarts Point, about 10 miles south of Sea Ranch on Highway 1. The public transit alternative is Mendocino Transit route 95, one end of which is at the Sonoma County Airport.
A car is not absolutely essential, but many area attractions are not reachable by foot, and the Route 95 bus on Highway 1 runs extremely infrequently. Bikes are popular for side trips and on nearby trails.
One major attraction is the Pacific Ocean. Sea Ranch is a developed community that features a designed sea-side landscape, many beaches and marine and shore wildlife. The trails are restricted to guests and residents although there is extensive public access to the beaches. The development offers a complete trail system for residents and guests, suitable for bikes and horses, which mostly stays along the ocean ridge and includes access to several public beaches. Along the paths, one can see a wide variety of wildflowers, grasses and trees as well as roaming deer, other animals, birds and a protected seal habitat. A striking ocean landscape can be seen from almost everywhere.
The development's residential architecture itself is of interest as it includes many examples of mid-to-late 20th century modern design intended to integrate with the land. The Sea Ranch lodge features notable architecture, and not only has food (see below), but also common areas open to the public.
- Drive US 1, watch out for bikes and farm vehicles and driving off a cliff, but otherwise live the American dream.
- Explore the public beaches (use the marked trails, from parking lots). Hike the Sea Ranch grounds (if a guest). Look for wildlife, including passing whales.
- Check out the offerings of the Sea Ranch Lodge: art lectures, wine tastings, jazz nights, nature walks, private yoga classes, star gazing, cocktail classes, golf activities, and more.
- Visit the nearby state parks and reserves.
- Explore the towns of Gualala, just to the north, and Anchor Bay.
- Golf the Sea Ranch links to the north of the development (open to the public). Have a meal at the lodge or poke around its little boutique.
- The Sea Ranch Lodge, which reopened October 1, 2021, includes a general store, restaurant, cafe, and a friendly bar (with a happy hour with a good selection of wines by the glass) and a fireplace room to which one can repair with drink on a blustery day. The restaurant's menu leans to local ingredients prepared in a fairly-formal style. Evening diners have a view of the setting sun over the undeveloped grounds and bluff. (Restaurant and bar/lounge open 5-9 p.m., Thursday-Monday; cafe open 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. daily.)
- The town of Gualala, just to the north, has two grocery stores and a number of places to eat.
- Stewarts Point Store, about a 15 minutes drive south of Sea Ranch, is a lively general store and community hub, with an excellent bakery.
This is not the heart of wine country but local labels can be found from the grocery store to the fine restaurant.
- 1 Sea Ranch Lodge, P.O. Box 44, toll-free: , email@example.com. The Sea Ranch Lodge has reopened its 17 guest rooms as of July 1, 2023. Some rooms include hot tubs, fireplaces, and corner ocean views (with windows that open and bench seats). Decor leans on the architecture which emphasizes natural materials, local art, a simple aesthetic and the ocean. A small herd of sheep adds to the bucolic setting across the road from the lodge. $500 and up.
- Many of the houses and condos in the Sea Ranch development are available for rental. The architecture and the development ranges from those basic properties developed early (often very private with fully-developed landscapes) to newer properties with actual lawns. Nearby communities offer small motels, inns and there is quite a bit of camping at parks and private campsites. Rentals start at around $300 per night (higher during peak seasons) and often require a minimum of two days or more.
- See also the listings for Gualala, which is only 5 miles to the north.
The primary danger in this area seems to be hitting a deer with one's car or being run over by a car if on foot or bike. Also, be careful if near the ocean or on a ridge top. "Don't turn your back on the ocean" is the Sea Ranch motto, although walking backwards can be dangerous too.
The nearby towns to the north - Gualala and Anchor Bay - offer galleries and restaurants to explore. Two grocery stores in Gualala and a little organic shop in Anchor Bay can supply basics or carryout for picnics. "Barbequed oysters" are advertised up the north coast. As explained at Bones (a "biker friendly" bar that is simply friendly), along US 1 in Gualala, this means "cooked on a grill" and served with a vinegar dipping sauce. They are also generally very, very fresh.
Point Arena is about 40 miles north.
|Routes through Sea Ranch|
|Fort Bragg ← Gualala ←||N S||→ Fort Ross → San Francisco|