Located at the mouth of the Gualala River on the Pacific Coast, Gualala (pronounced by most locals as ‘Wah-la-la’) is a Native American Pomo name meaning 'where the waters flow down'. It is northern Sonoma coast’s hub for a weekend getaway as it sits squarely in the middle of the ‘Banana Belt,’ an area known for unusually sunny weather. Founded as a prosperous lumber town in the 1860s, the downtown stretches along Hwy 1 with a bustling commercial district that has a great grocery store and some cute, slightly upscale shops.
Just north, quiet Anchor Bay is the destination of choice for many visitors seeking a tranquil stay, as it is home to some exceptional accommodation choices with a string of secluded, hard-to-find beaches situated just to the north. Both Gualala and Anchor Bay are excellent jumping-off points for exploring the surrounding area.