U s 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 one such town worth every bit of wanderlust Mojo: an idyllic, scenic, serene town, few hours north of San Francisco. Perfect for a romantic getaway or trip with friends.
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 porcelian, 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 at?? Oh, hello….
Verdict: There is Mojo to be found at Glass Beach, do check it out! Where else do you get to contort on the beach floor to get the perfect shot?? I rest my case. PS – Don’t forget your glasses.
3. Take a stroll in downtown or Fort Bragg
Mendocino downtown is charming, its appeal is in its historic, early 1920s ish small town feel. 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. I imagine it’s like swimming on a layer of fireworks underwater. Fair warning though, these tours get booked months and upto a year ahead, so make your reservations!
6. Vineyards & Wineries
If you’re in Northern California, it’s impossible to not drive by a winery. Even more impossible not to stop by one for some “sampling”. Check out Healdsburg or Navarro Vineyards & Winery; Madres is another popular winery.
Photo Credit: Tim Mossholder
7. Vegan cuisine
It’s surprising how big of a Vegan center Mendocino & the surrounding areas are! Most restaurants & diners feature multiple vegan options as their dish of the day. The crown jewel of all restaurants here, is Ravens at the Stanford Inn – it’s an all award winning all vegan eatery that is outstanding and worth the hype. 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 was also apparently where Alfred Hitchcock filmed “Birds”.
10. Temple of Thousand Buddhas in Ukiah Valley
Keeping with serenity & meditation feels, the temple of Thousand Buddhas is an oasis of tranquility. Attending a prayer ceremony, walking inside the temple during a prayer ceremony with monks & Buddhists is a deeply profound & moving experience. 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….
Mendocino packs a whole lot of Mojo, this peaceful, serene retreat is worth the visit!
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Also published on Medium.