Mendocino Travel Guide

  • Things to Do
    by blueskyjohn
  • sunset on the bluff
    sunset on the bluff
    by mendocinogirl
  • Mendocino is a charmer
    Mendocino is a charmer
    by richiecdisc

Mendocino Things to Do

  • Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve

    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...

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  • Mendocino Headlands State Park

    This park nearly covers the coast line of Mendocino. Nice to explore and a great place to watch the sunset.

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  • Redwood National & State Parks

    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...

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  • flower gardens

    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...

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  • Mendocino Headlands State Park

    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...

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  • Mendocino

    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...

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Mendocino Hotels

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Mendocino Restaurants

  • Good ice cream

    This is a small place we stopped in for some ice cream and they were open late (for the area). They advertise gluten-free pizza but we didn't try it. I had Frankie's version of an ice cream sandwich. A huge amount of chocolate ice cream between two very large chocolate chip cookies. Very good! I couldn't finish it which says a lot on it's size.

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  • Fast and easy

    Nothing real special with this place. It was convenient for a quick snack. We had some chicken fajita wraps that were very basic and tasty. Best part was they were only $3.95 each.

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  • good old Fish & Chips

    Part of the fun of traveling is meeting others doing the same thing and often they are of a very different demographic, especially when doing a road trip. We were driving up the California coast, stopping to see big redwoods and views of the incredible bluffs and beaches. We met a couple of elderly sisters who had been to this particular lookout...

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  • an enchanting garden

    Anderson Valley was one of the original craft breweries and I visited it in 1994 as I traveled around the western US for the first time. It has remained a staple with their old line-up and have only recently begun to expand into bigger beers. It was not on our list of places to stop but it was more or less on our way from Lake Mendocino to the...

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  • don't miss The Bear

    Bear Republic is fast becoming California's best craft brewery and was high on my list of places to visit on my 2008 tour of the US. It had opened the year after my first trip around the States in 1994 and after trying one of their beers while in LA a few weeks prior to being in the area, it was a definite stop. Located in Healdsburg, a charming...

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  • wild horses couldn't drag me away

    Russian River Brewing has been on my radar for quite some time. When we were in San Francisco in 2005 we did an overnight trip to the Sonoma Valley with good friends we were traveling with. They wanted to check out some vineyards and we were only too happy to tag along. I had read about a few breweries in the region and though my friend was into...

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Mendocino Nightlife

  • SteveOSF's Profile Photo

    by SteveOSF Written Jul 5, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We stopped into Dick’s Place for a drink before dinner. It has a casual atmosphere. The decor is both rustic and festive. The decorations get a little crazy, but also include some great old photographs of when Mendocino was primarily a lumber town.

    Patrons included about an even mix or tourists and locals. All were fairly laid back. Dick’s Place turned out to be a nice little spot to hang out in for a while.

    Dick���s Place
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Study Abroad

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Mendocino Transportation

  • To or From Wine Country

    Headed to Wine Country from Medocino? Headed to Medocino from Napa or Sanoma? Be sure to take Highway 128. Its a scenic drive through the rolling backcountry which includes famous wine regions, a redwood forest and the coast. We took this route recently to get from Fort Bragg to Calistoga. The coast in this region is beautiful. Shortly after...

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  • Drive slowly and take in the...

    Drive slowly and take in the vista, scenery, plants and animals you wish you can see everyday.Same as above

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  • The BEST way to get to...

    The BEST way to get to Mendicino from San Francisco is to take the Pacific Coast Highway (US 1). It takes about 5 hours and lots of twists and turns but it's worth it. The alternate route is to travel north on Highway 101 to Cloverdale and then west on HIghway 128. Turn north on US 1 and travel 10 miles to Mendicino.In town, just travel on foot to...

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Mendocino Shopping

  • Caitlinette's Profile Photo

    by Caitlinette Written Mar 10, 2005

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    Corners of the Mouth, set in a red, former church and easily spotted in town, is a favorite of locals and the interest of tourists. If you have exact change for them at the checkout, they get happy and ding a little bell hanging overhead.

    What to buy: Right when you walk in there's a refrigerator containing yogurt, smoothies, juices, salads, etc. Go for the Boont Berry Farm burritos -- with or without cheese. The best burritos I've ever had!

    What to pay: The burritos cost, oh, about $4.00 I think.

    Related to:
    • School Holidays
    • Road Trip
    • Family Travel

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Mendocino Local Customs

  • Redwoods

    The California Coastal Redwood is the tallest tree in the world. These incredible trees are in the same family as Sequoias. This variety can live up to 2200 years, can reach heights of up to 380 feet (115 meters) and are only found along the northern part of the California coast and southwestern Oregon where the damp temperate climate is perfect...

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  • 4th of July

    The 4th of July is one of the biggest holidays in the US. It's kind a combination of national pride, the beginning of summer, and the kids are out of school-let's get out and do something. Family get togethers are common, whether they be BBQs at home or excursions. Camping is particularly popular as you can bring the whole family with you...

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  • The village of Mendocino is...

    The village of Mendocino is still untouched by modern times...tread easily and don't forget to visit Ford House for a guide of their walking tour.

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Mendocino Warnings and Dangers

  • Car broken into!

    Luckily, this did not happen to us but we were in Montgomery Woods State Reserve eating lunch at a picnic table at the parking lot when a gentleman approached us asking how long we were there. We had just finished our hike and relaxing for about 10 minute eating. He told us his car was broken into and he was going to get his wife and children still...

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  • If driving in a car in the...

    If driving in a car in the California sun, do not stop at Mendocino Chocolate Company at 542 North Main Street. We did and had to buy caramel which turned into the blob after a few hours though it still tasted delicious. Their candy is phenomenal so it might be worth having to lick it off of your belongings.

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  • Mendocino Hotels

    32 Hotels in Mendocino

Mendocino What to Pack

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    by richiecdisc Updated Oct 12, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: While there is a long stretch of coast trail here and it is possible to backpack your way, this is more the domain of the day hiker and a small day pack will suffice.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Good sturdy hiking shoes are best for both coastal hiking and strolling through the redwood forests. In summer, you could wear shorts and a t-shirt but weather is changeable and it can be quite cool in summer if a fog blows in or it begins to rain. Rain gear would be considered essential but we had nothing but sunny skies!

    Photo Equipment: Wide angle is great for taking photos of charming towns like Mendocino as well as taking in the expanses of coast and redwood forests.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Accommodation is generally higher than many places in the US so it's wise to bring a tent and do some camping. It's not only a great way to save money, it gets you closer to nature and there are some amazing campgrounds here set in forests you may have dreamed about.

    Miscellaneous: D was the perfect partner in this relaxed and peaceful time.

    D & the tree
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park
    • Camping

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Mendocino Off The Beaten Path

  • The beach at Mendocino...

    The beach at Mendocino Headlands State Park. You can see the marine layer in the background. Many times that marine layer is also covering the entire town and a lot of the California coast for that matter. You don't see much sun when you have that overhead...

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  • This beach is a part of the...

    This beach is a part of the Mendocino Headlands State Park but it's missed by many visitors. Of course, many visitors don't have the good fortune of having beach weather when they're here. If you happen to be here on such a day though, definately take a walk down to the beach! To get there, go behind the church on main street and follow the stairs...

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Mendocino Favorites

  • slow mornings and long afternoons

    We had a slow morning with another brewpub just up the road. It was nice to not rush and even nicer to arrive at much anticipated Bear Republic for lunch. The little town of Healdsburg was charming and the brewpub was a fantastic bustling affair. The food was nothing short of fantastic, the beer even better and the bartender perhaps best of all....

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  • the brilliant idea

    Northern California is full of gems like Mendocino. A road trip in this part of the golden state is an all-too-missed pleasure, with great natural scenery on both the coast and inland. Toss in lots of great places to eat and drink and a lack of crowds and you have the perfect getaway. The phrase “short but sweet” gets overused but that's just what...

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  • short but sweet

    North Coast Brewing was another place I had stopped 15 years prior but it was not on my list of places ro return to, not for any reason other than money and time. You can only do so much, even in six months. We had a wonderful meal, the beer was even better than remembered, and the laughter and conversation flowed. We returned to the campground...

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