Best California Inns for Exploring Nature

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SACRAMENTO, CA [June 29, 2018]—Grab a pair of binoculars and book a stay at a California bed and breakfast inn, where nature often beckons just outside the door. The California Association of Boutique & Breakfast Inns (CABBI) has compiled a list of inns that are close to trails and waterways teaming with flora and fauna.  At the end of the day, these inns stand ready to welcome guests back with warm hospitality and luxurious appointments.

In San Francisco, Presidio National Park is a green oasis encompassing close to 1,500 acres of wildflowers, watersheds, and wildlife. The Inn at the Presidio, located within the park, offers a unique opportunity to experience this oasis up close. While hiking or biking the 24 trails just outside the inn’s doors, guests can enjoy breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay and discover some of the 300 species of birds that inhabit the park along the way.

Yosemite National Park is known for its awe-inspiring vistas, majestic granite formations, and miles of trails. The newly renovated Groveland Hotel—which is also the oldest hotel in the area—allows guests to step back in time while preparing to venture out into Yosemite, complete with wrap-around porches and a saloon-style bar. Just a block away, the  Hotel Charlotte also offers cozy accommodations and popular bistro. The location of both hotels place guests closer to the Hetch Hetchy Valley, a less-traveled section of the park once described by John Muir as more beautiful than Yosemite Valley.

The Farmhouse at Hammersky Vineyards is nestled among 25 acres in historic Paso Robles and is a working vineyard that doubles as a private nature experience for guests. Outside the front door guests will find 20-year-old vines meticulously farmed to make the best Bordeaux-centric wines in Paso Robles, also creating unique opportunities for bird-watching, deer spotting or just taking in the sweeping vistas of Paso Robles wine country. Not far from the inn, numerous hiking trails offer the chance to explore Paso Robles’s rolling hills on foot and then enjoy a glass of wine back at the inn at the end of the day.

Surrounded by velvet green hills, waterfalls, and the Los Padres National Forest, Ojai is a sought-after destination for rock climbing and hiking. Located at the vortex of all this beauty is the historic Lavender Inn. Wildflowers bloom along inn’s meadow and the region’s numerous hiking trails. For a more pampered nature experience, Cloud Climbers Jeep Tours take guests on a scenic adventure past olive, orange, and avocado groves to visit a spiritual garden, an olive-oil farm, a birds-eye overlook, and the Topa Topa Mountains’ evening “pink moment.”

Three miles south of Mendocino Village, Dennen’s Victorian Farmhouse is nestled on two acres amid a grove of cypress trees. When the owners bought the inn 20 years ago, they restored not only the farmhouse, but also the riparian corridor running along the south side of the property. Wildlife has returned in abundance.  Common sights are native birds, gray squirrels, gray foxes, deer, Pacific Giant Salamanders, Great Blue Heron, chipmunks, and rabbits.  Just across the road from the inn is an ocean cove teaming with wildlife, including sea lions, harbor seals, oystercatchers, and osprey.

Above the picturesque town of Twain Harte, the McCaffrey House Bed & Breakfast Inn sits in a quiet forest hollow that attracts a multitude of woodland birds. Guests can watch the avian show from the inn's large bay windows or decks overlooking the forest. With close proximity to Columbia State Park, Calaveras Big Trees, Yosemite, Pinecrest, and Stanislaus National Forest, the inn also offers easy access to hiking and biking trails, spectacular vistas, unique geological formations, wildflowers, sparkling lakes, and miles of streams and rivers.

Settlers chose the name Fortuna for their town in Humboldt County to reflect how fortunate they felt to live amidst giant redwoods near the ocean in a valley of flowing rivers. The Redwood Riverwalk Hotel serves as the perfect basecamp for all of Humboldt County’s outdoor riches. Steps from the hotel, guests can take a stroll down the Fortuna Riverwalk, a two-mile path overlooking the Eel River, or visit the nearby Avenue of Giants, the world’s largest remaining old-growth redwood forest. Other outdoor adventures include bird watching, beach combing, horseback riding, fishing, kayaking, and canopy tours.

The Victorian elegance of Eureka’s Carter House Inns is the stuff of dreams, especially against the backdrop of Humboldt County’s natural beauty. With more than 200 miles of trails weaving through prairies, old-growth forests, and beaches, Redwood National Park offers the unforgettable experiences. Another must-see is Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, a mix of sandy beaches, open meadows grazed by herds of Roosevelt elk, and lush stands of redwoods.

Just south of Lake Tahoe, Sorensen’s Resort is nestled on 165 acres of an aspen and pine forest with an abundance of options for nature lovers. A hiking trail right on the property makes its way to the bluffs overlooking Hope Valley, a great spot for lunch and a great excuse to have the resort pack a picnic for the trek. The West Fork of the Carson River, offering unparalleled fly fishing, also runs through the resort.  Just a short drive away are Grover State Park Hot Springs, the Hope Valley Wildlife Area, and the East Fork of the Carson River, which is known for whitewater rafting.

Catalina Island is a gateway to one of Southern California’s most dramatic natural areas. Protected from development with 54 miles of coastline, nearly 90 percent of the island is a rugged wonderland of unique flora and fauna with spectacular vistas. With ocean views and warm hospitality, both Aurora Hotel and Catalina Island Inn offer guests the chance to experience the island’s natural splendor with a guided Jeep Eco Tour package. Guests can also explore the island by kayak, bike, hikes, snorkeling, and scuba diving.

Cambria’s Ollallieberry Inn, an 1873 Greek Revival house, is the perfect base to explore the wilds of the Central Coast. Nearby Moonstone Beach offers multiple outdoor options: tidepooling, surfing, picnicking, bird watching, or strolling along the mile-long wooden walkway along the ocean. Other enticing options for experiencing nature include elephant seal viewing, cycling the coast on bikes rented from the inn, horseback riding, whale watching, or just taking a drive along rural Santa Rosa Creek Road to view the countryside, complete with hawks, wild turkeys, quaint farms, and sweeping vistas.

Joshua Grindle Inn sits on a knoll overlooking Mendocino Village and the Pacific Ocean, among two acres of vibrant gardens and magnificent Cypress trees. Mendocino entices guests with coastal and headlands walking tours, scenic hiking and biking along trails flanked by redwoods, and kayaking through sea caves. Mendocino Headlands State Park, with its beautiful rock formations and natural bridges, is within walking distance. Russian Gulch State Park, with trails through redwoods and fern canyons that culminate at a beautiful 36-foot waterfall and a coastal trail that follows the bluff, is two miles north.

Seven Gables Inn, one of the historic oceanfront mansions in Pacific Grove, is just steps from the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail, a 15-mile pedestrian and bicycle path running along the water’s edge. The trail offers the perfect vantage point for spotting whales, otters, and harbor seals. Nearby Jack’s Peak State Park features quiet trails that lead to the highest peak overlooking Monterey Bay, and more ocean-front hiking trails are just a short drive away at Point Lobos State Reserve, off Highway One. Other options for outdoor adventure include guided whale-watching tours, horseback riding, and scenic drives.

In Santa Rosa, the Gables Wine Country Inn lies at the base of Taylor Mountain Regional Park and Open Preserve.  The 1,100-acre park features grassy hillsides, oak woodlands, and several creeks that provide habitats for a variety of wildlife.  The park’s trails are open for hiking, biking and horseback riding.  One of the trails climbs 1,100 feet, offering panoramic views of the region.  The park’s entrance is just one-quarter of a mile from the inn. 

In the Victorian village of Ferndale, Gingerbread Mansion Inn is also close to several state and national parks which offer visitors the chance to enjoy majestic trees and beautiful ocean views in one destination. Short drives take guests to Avenue of the Giants and the tallest redwood trees, famous Lost Coast beaches, Centerville beach, countless hiking trails, and more.  The Gingerbread Mansion Inn is one of Northern California’s most photographed inns. 

To learn more about these and other boutique hotels and B&Bs in California, visit


Media Contact: Ranee Ruble, or 503-788-3938

California Association of Boutique & Breakfast Inns414 29th StreetSacramento, CA 95816-3211916-554-2673