California’s ‘Redwood Coast’ named must-see spot in 2018 by Lonely Planet

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Towering redwoods, crashing surf, scenic vineyards, quaint villages — we’ve heard it all before describing the splendor of the North Coast.

But it’s still refreshing, tourism industry boosters said, to get props from a heavyweight like Lonely Planet, which bills itself as “the world’s leading travel authority.”

California’s Redwood Coast was named Tuesday as No. 1 on the travel company’s top 10 list of “underrated, rejuvenated and out-of-this-world spots to visit in 2018.”

Describing the coast as a place to “lose all track of time (and cell signal),” Lonely Planet said it invites travelers to “achieve the ultimate California mellow with its quirky shops, brewpubs, coffee roasters and oyster happy hours.”

“I love it,” said Tim Zahner, chief operating officer for Sonoma County Tourism, the nonprofit that helps promotes the region.

Any mention in the media “gives us something to talk about,” he said, calling notice from the likes of Lonely Planet “third-party verification” of the area’s appeal.

Sonoma County, he said, serves for most visitors as the “front door” to the region that reaches from here to the Oregon border. Lonely Planet, however, singled out the 175-mile stretch from the southern Humboldt County line to Crescent City in Del Norte County.

Close enough for local friends of the coast.

“Wonderful,” said Casey Davis, a spokeswoman for the Fort Bragg-based Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce. But not surprising, she said, considering “we do have amazing redwood coasts up here.”

The more visitors drawn to the coast, the more people will discover spots like Fort Bragg, Davis said, noting that tourism is the Mendocino coast’s major industry.

The Humboldt-Del Norte segment of the coast is “home to towering forests of giant redwood trees that you might recognize from blockbuster film franchises such as Star Wars and Jurassic Park,” a Lonely Planet press release said.

The Redwood Coast topped Lonely Planet’s list, followed by Boise, Idaho — “bursting with award-winning wineries, breweries and festivals” — in second place, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, an “up-and-coming New South city … quickly gaining national attention for its tech scene.”

Ranked fourth was Florida’s Space Coast “thanks to a renewed excitement around space travel.”

Rounding out the top 10 were: Cincinnati, Ohio; Midcoast Maine; Richmond, Virginia.; Kentucky Bourbon Country; Minneapolis, Minnesota and Southeastern Utah.

You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 707-521-5457 or guy.kovner@pressdemocrat.com.

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