You can plan your Mendocino County weekend getaway using the resources below.
Scenes from Mendocino
Enjoy some of our best shots in this Mendocino Photo Tour
Will You Like Mendocino County?
Mendocino County's tourist attractions center on the coast, where you'll find dramatic cliffs and crashing waves. The pleasures here are mostly simple: a walk in the woods or on the beach, a relaxing spa visit or an afternoon reading your favorite book.
We polled almost 200 of our readers to find out what they think about Mendocino. 68% rate it "good" or "awesome" and 22% percent say: "Yuck."
Best Time to Go to Mendocino County
Contrary to what you might think (depending on how well you know California weather), summer is not the best time to visit this coastal location. You're likely to find morning and evening fog, and some June days can be gloomy all day long. Spring and fall are much nicer, and the coastal rhododendrons bloom in March and April. In winter, you risk rain and storms, but rates plummet and normally popular spots are blissfully uncrowded.
The town of Mendocino is 155 miles from San Francisco, 200 miles from San Jose and 195 miles from Sacramento.
The most convenient airport is in San Francisco (SFO).
Where to Stay
If you're looking for a place to stay, you can do what I do. Compare prices and read guest reviews for Mendocino hotels at Tripadvisor.
4 Great Things to Do in Mendocino County
- Skunk Train: One of the most popular things to do in Mendocino, this scenic train ride takes you over the mountains from Fort Bragg to Willits.
- Ridgewood Ranch: Famous race horse Seabiscuit made his home here, and much of the ranch is unchanged since his day.
B. Bryan Preserve: This preserve is focused on the breeding and preservation of African hoof Stock, such as various species of zebra, giraffe, and antelope. You can also stay in one of their eco-friendly cottages.
Visit a Beach: Join beachcombers picking up sea glass at Glass Beach, check out the spherical boulders at Bowling Ball Beach, or go for a long walk at Manchester Beach. You can find everything you need to know about them in the Mendocino Beach Guide.
- Go to the Spa: The charming Elk Cove Inn's small but comfy spa offers massages in a beautiful seaside location.
Since most of Mendocino's lodging is bed and breakfast-style, you may not have an opportunity to go for brunch. If you're looking for a fine evening meal, Fort Bragg's Mendo Bistro offers innovative cuisine featuring fresh, local ingredients.
Annual Events You Should Know About
Mendocino County is the site of quite a few festivals.
- The map can lead you astray when you're trying to figure out how to get to the coast from Highway 101. The best route coming from the south is to take Highway 128 through Boonville and up the Anderson Valley to Highway 1. If you're coming from the north on Highway 101, take Highway 20 west to the coast.
- If you've got the time and are driving home toward the south, take Highway 1. And if you've got an extra day, think about stopping for the night in these charming Sonoma Backroads towns.
- Bring your favorite book. Mendocino is a great place to sit back, relax and enjoy it.