Apart from its recurring presence in the national media during the occasional high-profile raids on local marijuana plantations, the redwood country town of Garberville is a pretty quiet, peaceful place. The US-101 freeway bypasses the town, and locals walk and talk to each other along the half dozen blocks of Redwood Drive, the well-signed business loop off the highway.

Enjoy an early-morning breakfast with the old-time locals at the Eel River Café (801 Redwood Dr., 707/923-3783), or an espresso and healthy food at the Woodrose Café (911 Redwood Dr., 707/923-3191), a block south. Garberville also has all the motels you could want, including the Motel Garberville (948 Redwood Dr., 707/923-2422, $60 and up).

Two miles west of Garberville on the old highway, Redway is worth the short side trip for a burger at Deb’s Great American Hamburgers (707/923-2244). The Reggae on the River festival, organized by the energetic Mateel Community Center (707/923-3368), attracts world-class performers and thousands of fans every August.

Along US-101, four miles south of Garberville, one of the region’s most comfortable and characterful places is the stately Benbow Historic Inn (707/923-2124 or 800/355-3301, $150 and up), a circa-1926 mock Tudor hotel with a nice restaurant offering afternoon tea and scones on a sunny terrace overlooking the Eel River.

Map of Pacific Coast through Northern California.
Map of Pacific Coast through Northern California.