Gualala is the civilized hub of one of the most wildly beautiful shorelines in America. The village is on a sloping bench above the ocean at the outlet of the gentle Gualala River. Rising abruptly to the east are dense, forested mountains punctuated by redwoods. With this bewitching location and a temperate climate, the village is beginning to fulfill its destiny as a major getaway.
Russians, Germans, and Spanish settled here, sporatically, during the early 1800s. They were followed by Americans after a redwood mill was established. The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 gave the village a boost when as many as four sawmills were operating at once to provide some of the wood necessary to rebuild the city. The last mill closed in the 1960s, and with its removal, visitors began stopping in increasing numbers to enjoy the restored beauty of this remote locale. Today, travelers come here to get away from the congestion, noise and smog of cities. Relaxation reigns, along with gentle recreation like boating and fishing on the peaceful little river, or hiking along picturesque headlands and beaches. In the village, a few galleries, studios and specialty shops feature local arts and crafts. The town's art center offers polished performances and exhibits in an inspiring structure which blends seamlessly into the woodland setting. Several restaurants offer ocean views, and nearby dinner houses showcase some of the finest gourmet cuisine on the coast. Lodgings in town and nearby extol the spectacular locale with romantic decor and stirring picture-window views of this magic stretch of shoreline.