Enjoy stunning ocean views, breathtaking sunsets, more than 50 miles of hiking trails, golf, tennis, an acclaimed restaurant, and a rustic lodge at The Sea Ranch, an environmentally-conscious planned and private community that stretches for 10 miles along the remote northern edge of Sonoma County’s Pacific Coast.
Sea Ranch came to life in 1963, when a forward-thinking land developer, Oceanic California, purchased the property—previously used for grazing sheep—to develop a community of vacation or “second” homes. To create the master plan, noted environmentalist landscape architect Lawrence Halprin was commissioned, along with the then-young architectural firm of Moore Lyndon Turnbull Whitaker.
The architects drew on local agricultural buildings—barns, sheds, farmhouses—for inspiration. The result is low-key houses that don’t dominate or subordinate themselves to the land; instead, they blend into it. The unpainted wood has weathered naturally, just the way old barns do. The landscape remains untouched, and there are no fences or street lights.
The most renowned building at Sea Ranch is a 1965 habitat known as Condominium One. Most houses at Sea Ranch are single-family homes, but Condominium One was intended as multi-family housing. The angular building is centered around a courtyard; it contains many skylights to illuminate the interiors and large bay windows looking ocean-ward.
In 1991, Condominium One won the prestigious “Twenty-five Year Award” from the American Institute of Architects. This award is given each year to a building of enduring significance whose architectural design has stood the test of time for 25-35 years. In 2005, Condominium One was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Experience that same architectural style and attention to detail at the Sea Ranch Lodge (60 Sea Walk Drive, The Sea Ranch, 800-732-7262). Checking into the lodge guarantees an ocean view from any of the 20 rooms. The views are amazing and the amenities are top notch.
Most rooms include gas fireplaces and the windows open to let in the ocean breezes. Some of the rooms are available for people traveling with their dogs. The rooms have been updated, and the colors, fabrics, and décor perfectly fit the Lodge’s rustic, yet elegant, style. And, of course, the ocean views offer an ever-changing landscape of color and intensity.
Dine at the lodge's onsite restaurant, the Black Point Grill, which blends outstanding cuisine with those same gorgeous coastal views for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Guests staying at the lodge recieve a voucher for a free breakfast at the grill.
For visitors who want to experience living at The Sea Ranch, vacation home rentals (707-785-2371) are available through the lodge, as well as Sea Ranch Vacation Rentals (39175 S. Highway 1, The Sea Ranch, 800-643-8899); Ram's Head Realty & Rentals (39000 S. Highway 1, Gualala, 800-785-3455); Sea Ranch Vacation Home Rentals (35590 Verdant View, The Sea Ranch, 707-785-2426); vrbo.com; and airbnb.com.
Guests staying at the lodge or those who rent a vacation home are free to use more than 50 miles of coastal bluff and forested walking trails, as well as beaches, tennis courts, a Scottish-style golf course, swimming pools, and other amenities.
The Sea Ranch provides a peaceful retreat for guests who want to connect with nature in a real way. The area beckons to the explorers in us all. Whether staying in a vacation rental with family or checking into the Sea Ranch Lodge for a couple's getaway, The Sea Ranch is a place to relax, renew, and rejuvenate. Just a few hours from most of the Bay Area, the coastal drive is a scenic journey that adds to the experience.