Gualala (formerly, Guadala, Walhalla, and Wallala) is an unincorporated community in Mendocino County in the U.S. state of California. It is located 26 miles (42 km) southwest of Hopland, at an elevation of 49 feet (15 m). It is located on the Pacific coast at the mouth of the Gualala River, on State Route 1. It serves as a commercial center for the surrounding area. Gualala was once a logging town, but tourism is now its central economic activity.
In the state legislature Gualala is located in the 2nd Senate District, represented by Democrat Pat Wiggins, and in the 1st Assembly District, represented by Democrat Patty Berg. Federally, Gualala is located in California's 1st congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +10 and is represented by Democrat Mike Thompson.
"Gualala" was the name given to the site of today's Gualala by the Pomo indigneous people. The literal translation is "coming down water place", or less literally, "riverside," or "where the river meets the sea."
The American settlement of Gualala was first established by the construction of a hotel, saloon and a lumber mill in the 1860s. The first post office opened in 1862. Logging the local redwood trees became especially profitable after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, when huge amounts of lumber were needed to rebuild the city.