Mendocino in 48 Hours

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Photo by MiguelVieira

The best of Mendocino's best: hiking, beaches, wines, and redwoods

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The best of Mendocino, California, can be experienced in only 48 hours. Travelers whisper about the existence of the Mendocino Coast. Families flock to the beaches. Lovers cozy up in hotels housed in Victorians. Art lovers hunt for gems in galleries. Adventurers scale the trails. Everyone seems to agree that the dramatic natural environment lends itself to this region’s allure. And with close proximity to the San Francisco, this makes a great weekend escape for all types of traveler.

Day 1: Anderson Valley Wine Country

Wind through the idyllic Anderson Valley. An unlikely mix of granola types, renegades, urban transplants and winemakers.

Sample brews at the Anderson Valley Brewery. Grab lunch at Stone & Embers. Taste award winning goat cheese and sip excellent Pinot Noir at the new Pennyroyal Farm. Hike through the redwoods at Hendy Woods State Park.

Can’t get enough of the mellow vibe? Check into one of the chic cottages at the Philo Apple Farm, a working apple orchard.

Otherwise motor on to Little River’s Heritage House Inn, luxurious cottages perched atop the Pacific Ocean.

Day 2: Mendocino Coast

Grab breakfast at Queenie’s Roadhouse Cafe in Elk. Queenie herself slings hearty breakfasts and lunches punctuated by strong coffee and a crackling fireplace. After your meal, cross the highway and travel down the path to Greenwood State Beach.

Continue south on CA 1 to the hippie community of Point Area. Spot whales at Point Arena Lighthouse. Surfers and abalone divers head to Arena Cove.

Coffee and sweet treats populate the menu at Franny’s Cup and Saucer. Nearby (be sure to check the tide charts in advance) is Schooner Gulch’s Bowling Ball Beach. At low tide huge round boulders are uncovered, and tidepools are abundant. Beach access can be spotty and is not recommended for people with limited mobility.

Lunch at Anchor Bay Thai Kitchen

Meander back up the coast to Mendocino, a storybook hamlet. A stroll around town guarantees entertainment. Sample mushroom flavored ice cream at the wildly popular Frankie’s.

Glide over to the Mendocino Headlands State Park. Gentle trails along a rugged coastline guide you to secluded beaches, hidden sea caves and grottoes.

Make reservations in advance for dinner at Ledford House, one of the gems of the region, complete with ocean views, live jazz, and super fresh seafood with an Italian twist.

===> Explore more local itineraries via the RELATED links below.

Day 3: Northern Mendocino Coast

Drive north to Fort Bragg for omelets at Egghead’s. Poke around the antique shops of Mendocino’s former logging town. Peek into the funky Headlands Coffee House to check out Fort Bragg’s salty vibe.

Wander through the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, the only coastal botanical gardens on the West Coast. In the dramatic Russian Gulch State Park, walk to a 60-foot blowhole (best at high tide) or a fern covered area straight out of the Mesozoic Era.

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