Mendocino Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by blueskyjohn
  • easy to see what drew people here
    easy to see what drew people here
    by richiecdisc
  • Things to Do
    by richiecdisc

Most Recent Things to Do in Mendocino

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    Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve

    by blueskyjohn Updated Jul 25, 2013

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    This is a great find. We saw it on the map that it was on the way from Mendocino to our next stop, Napa Valley. So glad we took the time to visit. It is a small park with about a two mile loop hike in a valley floor loaded with huge redwoods and few people. The trail is very easy and starts along a small creek. The trail is relatively flat and easy to find. It does go a little deeper but the trail becomes unmarked so don't travel in too far past the signs to cross over and head back on the other side. As you walk you feel as if you are in an enchanted forest.

    Although it is small I would definitely return because of the solitude and beautiful tall redwoods. There was in issue (not for us) so check out my warnings section for details.

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    Redwood National & State Parks

    by richiecdisc Updated Oct 12, 2009

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    happy to be back in the woods

    Redwood National Park is co-managed with California State Parks but your America The Beautiful Pass ($80 for one year, good at all National Parks) is still valid for visiting the many sectors of the park scattered along the Northern California coast. These spread out parks constitute 45% of the old growth redwoods remaining.

    Fees otherwise vary from $3 to $8 and have gone up along with camping rates in the one year since we were there in 2008, probably due to budget cuts.

    There was a big visitor center right on the coast but unfortunately we got there after it had closed for the day so were unable to get a park map. So, we explored the area a bit blind and with not so much time really only got a taste of it. The taste was good and would love to return. We camped one night and did a short one mile hike amongst the tallest trees in the world, the coastal redwood.

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    flower gardens

    by richiecdisc Updated Oct 12, 2009

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    Mendocino's charm does not end with its quaint architecture or stunning coastal setting, one of the first things you will notice is the profusion of flowers that seem to ooze out of every garden, window sill, and even along the headlands. It is quite possibly the most beautiful display of flowers I have ever seen and be it climate or the people tending the them, they were in the best shape I have seen as well.

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    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
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    Mendocino Headlands State Park

    by richiecdisc Updated Oct 12, 2009

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    easy to see what drew people here
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    Mendocino has such a lovely setting that everything around it has been designated Mendocino Headlands State Park. This free to enter area offers up some nice coastal walking trails, great views of scenic bluffs and sea caves, and expansive beaches perfect for strolling.

    The visitor center for the park is located in the Historic Ford House right on Main St. in town. This quaint old wooden house has displays and paintings from Mendocino's early days, welcoming volunteers to answer any questions, and when we were there, hot spiced cider for 50 cents a mug. Stop in and then go for a long walk along the rugged coast. Better yet, do the walk first and then come in for a cider! Even in July, it was quite cool with the wind coming in off the cold Pacific ocean.

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    Mendocino

    by richiecdisc Updated Oct 12, 2009

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    Mendocino is bound to charm you

    Mendocino is a sleepy charmer. Added to the list of National Historical Places in 1971, it combines a gorgeous coastal setting with 19th century architecture to make for a “sure is pretty" exclamation. If this place was on the Big Sur highway, well it would probably be ruined or far too crowded to enjoy. As it is, nestled on the state's northern coast, it is a well-loved favorite getaway for Californians and a sure stop for those exploring the state beyond its more cursory surface delights.

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    Masonic Symbolism

    by richiecdisc Updated Oct 10, 2009

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    it sure caught our eye

    We didn't think much about this statue on top of The American Savings Bank in Mendocino aside from the fact that we liked it. As it turns out, this building was once The Masonic Lodge and this statue represents an emblem of that order. The broken pillar and a maiden with a sprig in hand is having her hair arranged by Father Time. Incredibly the entire piece was carved from one redwood tree.

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    take a walk amongst the redwoods

    by richiecdisc Written Oct 10, 2009

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    a walk in a lush forest will do you good
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    There are countless hikes along the coastal portions of the Redwood National Park as well as those passing through amazing strands of old growth forest. They vary in length with many of them quite short. Even if strapped for time, it's worth stopping to do one of the short walks. How often do you pass by the tallest trees in the world?

    We opted for the 1 mile Simpson-Reed loop as much for convenience as anything else. Located right off Highway 199 heading not only right through the Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park but on the way to Oregon, we could not resist to stop. Passing through a gorgeous strand of 1000 year old redwoods, this lush canopy was a relief from the heat, driving, and life in general. It was like leaving the planet for a half hour or maybe, just maybe, we actually visited it that long before having to return to “real life.”

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    coastal views

    by richiecdisc Updated Oct 10, 2009

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    expansive empty beaches
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    Even if you have little time to fully explore Redwood National & State Parks, it is an area you can get a good glimpse of from your car or with very short walks to overlooks. At the very least, if you are driving up to Oregon and have some time, you should consider veering from the main highway and stopping at some of the lookouts to view the rugged gorgeous bluffs and big empty beaches. It's every bit as beautiful as Big Sur with far less people.

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    Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

    by Robert96 Written Jul 14, 2008
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    A short drive north of the town of Mendocino is the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. It is a great place for a leisurely walk. The gardens are beautiful. Be sure and see the "hummingbird bush". I don't remember the name of the bush, but you'll know it when you see it. It has flowers that attract swarms of hummingbird.

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    Big River Beach

    by SteveOSF Written Jul 5, 2008

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    Big River Beach
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    Big River Beach is located within the Mendocino Headlands State Park. It is where the Big River meets the Pacific Ocean. It is a pleasant beach on a warm day. The coastal bluffs help shield the beach from any wind that might be kicking up on a not-so-warm day. But as Big River Beach is in Northern California, the water is quite cold. When I visited, there were surfers out in the serf. All of them donned wet suits.

    If the beach at the mouth of the river does get too cold, one can always meander up the beach along the river and find a more sheltered spot.

    The town of Mendocino is directly north of the beach. Trails lead down from the town. From the beach, one can see some of the buildings of the town as well as the steeple of an old church.

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    Van Damme State Park

    by SteveOSF Updated Jul 5, 2008

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    Fern Canyon Trail
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    Van Damme State Park offers hiking along its Fern Canyon Trail. For some reason, this trail has the same name as one in nearby Russian Gulch State Park. It seems the park service is not too creative when it comes to naming their trails. The trial runs through a lush forest, and is often flanked by a scenic creek. The Fern Canyon Trail makes for a nice hike.

    Apparently the park contains a pigmy forest with mature trees that are from six inches to eight feet tall. Unfortunately, I was short on time and did not have a chance to visit the pigmy forest. Perhaps next time! The park also has beach access to the Pacific Ocean.

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    Russian Gulch State Park

    by SteveOSF Updated Jul 5, 2008

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    Above the Ocean
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    Russian Gulch State Park is where the forest meets the ocean. The park stretches along the rugged coast for over 7,600 feet while occupying 1,100 acres. It combines the spectacular coastline with a forest that that reaches inland.

    The Fern Canyon Trail traverses a coastal forest, often clinging to a stream along the way. Hikers are treated to a relatively easy walk. A waterfall awaits those who venture the approximately five mile round trip.

    Above the ocean another trail leads over the bluffs. The power of the ocean pounding against the shore has created an inland tunnel below the coastal bluffs over two hundred feet long. At the end of the tunnel, the earth gave way and collapsed forming a hole 100 feet across and 60 feet deep. One can look into this hole and see the ocean surging below at high tide.

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    Downtown

    by SteveOSF Written Jul 5, 2008

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    Main Street, Downtown Mendocino
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    A trip to Mendocino would not be complete without spending time to explore the downtown. Historic buildings line the small downtown area. Spectacular views over the bluffs to the ocean below are found right on Main Street. But much of the charm of the town lies within the various shops and galleries. Mendocino is considered by many to be an artist’s community, and its shops reflect the work of many local artists.

    With a nice variety of shops, most people are sure to find some to hold their interest. A variety of restaurants are also available for those who get hungry. Spending an afternoon in Downtown Mendocino can be an enjoyable experience.

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    An artist's paradise

    by phm3c Written May 5, 2007

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    an avenue of shops for discriminating purchasers
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    Mendocino began its life as a lumber mill. Now it produces art in its many forms. The galleries are all within easy walking distance along what used to be the State Highway #1. With little traffic one can easily move about on the three commercial blocks of this village.

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    • Windsurfing
    • Fishing

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    Mendocino Coast Botanical...

    by LizC Written Aug 26, 2002

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    Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
    Beautiful grounds, well labeled gardens. The garden for all seasons has manicured formal gardens, a dense coastal pine forest, fern-covered canyons, diverse plant collections, and flower-filled coastal bluffs overlooking the blue Pacific Ocean. The sheltered Cliff House is a good spot to watch winter and spring whale migrations, bird watchers will delight in the over 100 species of birds that live in or visit the Gardens annually. And what a view!

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Mendocino Things to Do

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