Us Californians have a not-so-best-kept-secret: The California coast is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
There are no dearth of coastal towns to tickle your fancy. Whether you head south, towards LA via Santa Cruz, Carmel, Big Sur, & Santa Barbara or whether you head North, past the Golden Gate Beach towards Muir Woods, Napa Valley & Point Reyes, it’s impossible to go wrong with either direction.
Mendocino, is an idyllic, serene town, few hours north of San Francisco. Perfect for a weekend retreat.
Here are 10 things to see & do in Mendocino
1. Stay by Bed & Breakfast Inns
There’s so many charming inns & cottages to choose from! Most offer cooking, pottery, painting or glass blowing classes on site.
2. Glass Beach
Okay I’ll be honest with you folks. I heard a lot about Glass Beach — cute little beach where once disposed porcelain, china dishes & garbage were “recycled” by the ocean and turned into beautiful glass pebbles. Who wouldn’t want to go see that? I went with high hopes of seeing sun rays glisten from these magical stones. Here’s what I found…
Where’s the glass?? Oh, hello….
The reason I enjoyed being here was because of all the yoga contortions I got to do on the beach floor to get the perfect shot. Sorry about that, general public. You’re welcome, Instagram.
PS — Don’t forget your glasses. To take a picture of it at…Glass Beach.
3. Take a stroll in downtown or Fort Bragg
Mendocino’s downtown feels more like a 1920s historic site than a downtown. Fort Bragg nearby is slightly bigger, has more dining options & is also home to “Skunk Train”, which loops through the Redwood Forest.
4. Bike or hike by River Trail, followed by a picnic
It’s super serene biking in these forests, alongside the river, with only the sound of the wind as you whiz past the scenery.
5. Explore Bioluminescence with night time canoeing or Stand up Paddle boarding during day time
If you’ve ever tried Stand up paddle boarding you already know how much of an adventure it can be! The Mojo scale though, is off the charts, with night-time canoeing & peering down the water to see it teeming with illuminated aquatic life. These tours get booked months and unto a year ahead, so make your reservations!
6. Vineyards & Wineries
Wine country is nearby! Check out Healdsburg or Navarro Vineyards & Winery; Madres is another popular winery.
Photo Credit: Tim Mossholder
7. Vegan cuisine
I was surprised at the prevalent Vegan scene in Mendocino! Most restaurants & diners feature multiple vegan options as their dish of the day. The crown jewel of all restaurants is Ravens at the Stanford Inn — it’s an all award winning all vegan eatery, I highly recommend lunch or dinner here.
8. Drive through PCH and explore Bluffs, Lighthouses
No excuse needed to drive through the Pacific Coast Highway, but if you need some convincing, here goes….
9. Stop by Bodega Bay
Bodega Bay is stunning! With plenty of beaches and hangouts to choose from, this is also where Alfred Hitchcock filmed “Birds”.
10. Temple of Thousand Buddhas in Ukiah Valley
Keeping with the serenity feels, the temple of Thousand Buddhas is an oasis of tranquility. Walking inside the temple during a prayer ceremony with monks was rejuvenating. There are also a ton of peacocks that wander around the property, some are curious enough to get in the car & drive off with you, like this guy here.
Mendocino packs a whole lot of Mojo, this peaceful, serene retreat is worth the visit!