Travel to Mendocino, California – Episode 783

categories: Northern California

Things to do in Mendocino (Podcast)

Hear about travel to the Mendocino coast in California as the Amateur Traveler talks to Brooke Herron who is a travel blogger and wine industry expert.

Brooke says, “The reason that I’m traveling to Mendocino isn’t only wine and, for me, it never started out that way. When I was a little kid, and I first ended up in Mendocino with my family at seven or eight years old. It’s always been all about the ocean and the coast and the cliffs and this sort of mystic little coastal town kind of feel. That’s why we started going to Mendocino. And it’s a big part of why I continue going now.”

“It is unbelievably gorgeous, ragged cliffs, crashing waves, misty little coastal towns with historic churches. It’s as if development stopped 40 or 50 years ago. And that is a feeling that is very, very hard to get in California, a very crowded and very popular state. On top of that, it’s only a few hours from the Bay Area. So if you are coming into California as a tourist that wants to visit San Francisco, maybe you want to jet up to wine country, Sonoma, and Napa counties. This is something that you can feasibly add on to that trip, with a few days of extra time. I think it’s infinitely worth it. Just to have that feeling of being in some of the most stunning coastline in California, but without the massive crowds and  polished shininess and gentrification of a lot of the rest of California.”

There are two ways to get to Mendocino from the San Francisco and Napa area. One is up the coast which is a beautiful but very slow drive. If you do that drive stop at Fort Ross State Historic Park on the way to learn more about the Russian presence in California in the 1800s. The other way is through the Andersen Valley.

Brooke starts us with wine. She recommends spending a couple of days and one night in the best known wine region of the Mendocino area which is the Andersen Valley. We start with some recommendations for wineries in that area as well as a brewery and a cidery. Then to work off some of the wine we go for a hike in the redwoods at Hendy Woods State Park. Hendy Woods is a great place for an easy family friendly hike. 

Now it is time to head to the coast. You can either stay in the very quaint, very small town of Mendocino or further up the coast in the larger less touristy city of Fort Bragg. 

Mendocino sits on a small peninsula surrounded by state parks and ocean cliffs. You can walk the whole town in maybe 20 minutes. It has some cute shops, inns and restaurants with a bit of a hippy vibe. Along the coast south of the town you can find charming hotels like the Little River Inn.

Fort Bragg is known for the Skunk Train which is a short train excursion into the redwoods, but Chris recommends doing the same set of tracks with rail bikes. You pedal into the woods assisted by a small electric motor as you go up the hills. For a great place to both eat and stay, consider the Noyo Harbor Inn.

All along the coast are state parks and beaches. Glass Beach is one of the best known, but you are not as likely to find sea glass there these days. Find your own corner of the beach on Ten Mile Beach or visit the Point Cabrillo Light Station. Brooke suggests hikes at the various state parks like Van Damme, Russian Gulch, and Jug Handle SNR. If you are looking for a more adventurous multi-day hike, checkout the Lost Coast Trail further north in Humboldt County.

Mendocino is a quiet beautiful corner of California, consider adding it to your California itinerary.

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Show Notes

Local Food and Drink Marketing
A Different Kind of Travel
Visit Mendocino County
Anderson Valley Wineries
Visit Fort Bragg
Drew Wines
Tolouse Vineyards
Roederer Estate
Navarro Vineyards and Winery
Pennyroyal Farm
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Gowan’s Heirloom Ciders
Hendy Woods State Park
Van Damme State Park
Russian Gulch State Park
Jug Handle State Natural Reserve
Little River Inn
Mendocino Coast Cottages
Mendocino Seaside Cottage
Pattersons Pub
Good Life Cafe and Bakery
Point Cabrillo Light Station
Glass Beach
Skunk Train and Rail Bikes
North Coast Brewing
Noyo Harbor Inn
Pacific Star Winery
10 Mile Beach
Lost Coast
East of Eden (film)
Things to do in Mendocino California and on the Mendocino Coast

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by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won numerous awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine. He move to California in 1964.

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