With less than 1,000 residents, Mendocino is the spot for the quietest of getaways, where the nearby tides talk louder than the flow of the streets. Mendocino is a picturesque village atop rugged cliffs that sit only 150 feet above the shore. The area's sprawling vineyards, rolling waves, and towering redwoods set the scene. Victorian bed-and-breakfasts and a quaint downtown with art shops and cafes, Mendocino is historic yet fresh, the place to slow down and breathe at your own pace.
Mendocino is a gorgeous three- to four-hour drive up the coast from San Francisco. Take the coast-hugging 190-mile slow drive up Highway 1 to kickoff your weekend. You can make it in less than half a day if you shoot straight through, but we don't recommend it.
Take in the quiet beauty and overlooks that line the way, like Muir Beach Overlook, Point Reyes National Seashor, Millerton Point in Tomales Bay, Patrick's Salt Water Taffy of Bodega Bay, Point Arena Lighthouse ... and more.
If you want a little quicker drive, take the more inland route, using US-101 to CA-128.
Blue Door Group in Mendocino offers chic rooms and timeless grace in Mendocino Village. Sleek sophistication defines this plush and stylish Mendocino bed and breakfast. Set in the center of town and within strolling distance to the sea, fine dining and other adventures ... just outside the blue front door. There is free WiFi and free parking, and there is an on-site concierge service.
The Mendocino Hotel & Garden is a historic and pet-friendly hotel on main street in Mendocino. Belly up to history in the Lobby Lounge, where a hand-carved antique bar and a stained-glass ceiling set the tone. The hotel is one mile from Mendocino Headlands State Park and a four-minute walk from Mendocino Art Center. Pacific Star Winery Tasting Room is 10 minutes away.
The Surf Motel and Gardens in nearby Fort Bragg offers a more budget-friendly hotel option. It offers a free continental breakfast, free WiFi, and the in-room amenities you expect for comfort, like a flat-screen TV, microwave and refrigerator. The Surf Motel keeps you close to the action, too. For example, the historic Mendocino Skunk Train, North Coast Brewing Company, and Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens are all within 1.5 miles of the motel. Mendocino is 15 minutes' drive south of Fort Bragg.
Frankie's Pizza and Ice Cream Parlor serves fresh and organic pizza, falafel, beer, wine, espresso, tea, and locally made ice cream in a family friendly atmosphere, all at reasonable prices in the heart of Mendocino. Dogs are welcome on the deck.
Located in a romantic Victorian Cafe Beaujolais offers French cuisine that highlights organic local produce. Breads are baked on-site in a brick oven, and the wine list is outstanding. Cafe Beaujolais is noted for its service, charming location, foie gras, filets and, well, a long list of reasons that makes for an all-around wonderful dining experience.
Flow Restaurant and Lounge serves up ocean views with imaginative entrees, made with fresh local, organic ingredients. They feature signature mixed drinks, local wines and beers, plus vegan and gluten-free options.
The rugged and spectacular Mendocino Coast is a must-do when visiting Mendocino, simply for its natural beauty and serenity. It stirs the imagination and is the ultimate breath-taking, slow-paced activity that draws people from the city to Mendocino.
While anywhere on the coast is beautiful, Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park is adjacent to the restored Kearn farmhouse and is on an amazing headland that extends into the Pacific. It's an easy half-mile downhill walk to the light station buildings.
The Mendocino Art Center puts visitors in touch with local artists inspired by the region, to find a gem to take home or just connect with the energy that drives creativity in Mendocino. It also offers classes, opportunities to sit in with artists and use your getaway calm to dive deeper into your art or to try something new, to explore your creative side.
While Mendocino exudes history and stories up and down the coast, the Ford House Museum is the spot to jump into the incredible stories with friendly enthusiasts who know the village. Built in 1854, Ford House is a comprehensive museum and serves as the town's official information center.
The Mendocino Theatre Company has produced more than 200 shows in its 40-year history. The Company offers a creative home for people of all ages and a source of entertainment for residents and visitors, staging several productions throughout the year.