From Stewarts Point to Gualala: A Perfect Day Trip In and Around Sea Ranch

Find your Northern California nirvana in Sea Ranch and its surrounding area.

The words Sea Ranch conjure up images of weathered wood, cabins and barns purposely designed to not call attention to themselves, blending like old farm buildings into the coastal meadows.

More than half century after the first of its structures went up, Sea Ranch stewards are still committed to maintaining the coastal enclave’s original design ethos of “living lightly on the land,” as defined by its celebrated designer, landscape architect Lawrence Halprin.

Halprin’s vision inspired a revolutionary new approach to environmentally sensitive land-use planning and architecture, but Sea Ranch was also the catalyst for pitched battles over public access to its 10 miles of ragged bluffs and beaches.

Local activists led a fight for public trails to the coast. While their efforts failed locally, they led to a 1972 ballot initiative that created the powerful California Coastal Commission and in 1976, the state Coastal Act to protect the entire shoreline and ensure the public can share in its beauty.

Click through the gallery for a perfect day in and around Sea Ranch.