Between Bodega Bay and Point Reyes, Hwy-1 veers inland to avoid the marshy lowlands, and midway between the two bigger destinations, the winding two-lane highway brings you to a great road-trip stop. Valley Ford is a photogenic community that holds a great old family-run roadhouse, Dinucci’s Restaurant (707/876-3260, dinner only Thurs.-Mon., lunch on weekends, $10-28 per person), serving huge portions of unreconstructed Italian food—minestrone, fresh bread, salad, and pasta.

More self-consciously stylish, contemporary fare is on the menu next door at quirky Rocker Oysterfeller’s Kitchen + Saloon (707/876-1983, dinner Thurs.-Fri., late lunch and dinner Sat., brunch and dinner Sun.), inside the Civil War-era Valley Ford Hotel, which has been renovated with luxurious rooms while retaining old-time charm (quilts on the beds, rocking chairs on the porch, the whole nine yards).

Map of Pacific Coast through San Francisco.
Map of Pacific Coast through San Francisco.