Mendocino is a sprawling and breathtaking city in California, perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It is located 9.5 miles (15 km) south of Fort Bragg. Its name comes from Cape Mendocino, derived from Antonio de Mendoza, Viceroy of New Spain. The etymology of Mendoza means “cold mountain.”
This place is famous for its picturesque salt houses, mesmerizing natural beauty, pristine glass-bottom beaches, the only oceanfront botanical gardens, tallest redwoods, and restaurants serving fresh seafood. Its quaint little village will remind you of the New England coast!
Around Mendocino, there are scenic coastal cliffs to hike, mammoth forests to explore, and plenty of scenic spots worth photographing. The atmosphere of Mendocino compliments the experience and allows you to slow down and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
Visit the Official website of Mendocino for other details.
How To Get There?
Mendocino is about 3 1/2 hours from San Francisco on the California coast, which is of course a busy road. Whether you are on Highway 1 or Highway 128, get ready for a great driving experience, and allow yourself plenty of time to stop, snap photos, and enjoy the view.
If you don’t have a car, then there are plenty of car rental companies in the Bay Area like Get Around, Turo, and Zipcar, so rent one to have a hassle-free experience.
Best Time To Visit Mendocino
Since Mendocino is by the sea, there is a mild climate all year round, so you can really visit it at any time. No matter what month you visit, it will be a bit cold and cloudy.
Even in July, you might want to wear a light jacket. We suggest you do a longer 3 day weekend so that your trip doesn’t feel rushed as there are many places worth exploring in this place.
Must-See Places In Mendocino Coast
1. Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden
If you want to appreciate the natural beauty of Mendocino, Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden is an ideal choice. Walk along the paths leading to the various gardens and enjoy the spectacular ocean views. You can also bring binoculars for bird watching! This is a popular place and you will surely see various species.
2. Mendocino Point State Park
Mendocino Point State Park is ideal for nature lovers and history lovers. Start your tour at the historic Ford House, which serves as a visitor center. Then, stroll along the coast and head to the beach. We recommend that you bring a basket containing food and have a picnic on the beach! Remember to carry a jacket because it can be windy and cold.
3. Glass Beach
Although Mendocino Beach has its own beauty, its neighboring areas are also as good as it. Glass Beach in Fort Bragg is only 15 minutes away from the Sea Rock Inn and is made of colored broken glass polished by sand. And, the beach looks like it is covered by precious gems! Before you leave, do visit the International Sea Glass Museum.
4. Sea Caves
You can only experience the essence of Mendocino if you explore the ravishing waters, alluring coastline, and you will find this in Sea Caves. You can do boating, kayaking, rafting, snorkeling, etc, to get a view of magnificent sea caves, feel the salty sea breeze, and admire the horizon.
5. Fort Bragg And Its Coast
Finally, slow down and enjoy a leisurely stroll in the adjacent town of Fort Bragg. The ten-mile Haul road can be accessed from the north or south and offers splendid views of the area and the history behind it. The name “Haul Road” comes from the logging days of Mendocino.
6. Point Cabrillo Light Station
Point Cabrillo is one of Mendocino’s most worthy places to visit. This majestic lighthouse was built in 1909 and is now part of the California Historical Park. It’s about half a mile downhill from the parking lot to the lighthouse. After, be sure to watch “Majestic” with Jim Carrey. You will see the lighthouse in some key scenes.
7. Russian Gulch Bridge
You can do two things here. You can descend to the beach under the bridge and hang out, or you can go to the viewing platform, which is a great place to take photos from the rugged Mendocino coast on the bridge. Also, you can hike in the Russian Gorge State Park.
This is all for Mendocino Coast. In all, it is a spectacular location with lots of activities and experiences to take. If you are going to California then do visit this awesome location.
Do you want to go for amazing long drives in California? then do check our blog on Pacific Coast Highway.