Top 20 Things to Do in Mendocino CA

Top 20 Things to Do in Mendocino CA

Top 20 Things to Do in Mendocino CA

Mendocino may be a small village in Northern California, but it has much to do, in many cases, more than a city.

We’ve scoured our maps and handpicked the best things to do in Mendocino during your stay. So as you stroll along the breathtakingly rugged coastal cliffs, you can consider what to do the next day with our handy list.

Book any fantastic bed and breakfasts and top accommodations in the area.

  • Walk the Mendocino Coast

The Mendocino Coast is known for its picturesque and awe-inspiring landscapes, which range from jagged cliff edges to rolling dunes.

A walk along the coast is the perfect way to while away a few hours in the afternoon sun. Many starting points and routes take into account different walking abilities and timescales, be sure to check the map to see which route will suit you best.

  1. Visit Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park

The State Historical Park is home to the 1909 Light Station and an additional 270 acres (109 ha) of undeveloped coastal areas, with plenty of exploring!

While you’re there, be sure to check out the little beach area called Frolic Cave, there’s also a place where you can see a shipwreck.

To get there, follow the North Trail, where a stepped path will lead you down to the beach, but wear hiking shoes.

  1. View the waterfall at Russian Gulch State Park

Another walking activity, are you sensing a pattern of activities to do in Mendocino? This spectacular 6.5-mile (10-kilometer) loop takes you around Russian Gulch State Park.

This moderate walk also takes in a beautiful fresh 36-foot (11 m) waterfall, an underwater sea cave, and the photogenic Frederick W. Panhorst Bridge.

The Mendocino Point of Interest is not a tourist trap, so make sure you’re prepared: Take the right clothes and follow the trail map.

  • Spend Some Time at the Ford House Museum

Are you looking for more places to visit in Mendocino? Add Ford House Museum to your list! Any trip to a new place deserves a trip to the local museum to brush up on the history and information. Mendocino is no different; this place, built in 1854, is the place to be.

  1. Walk the Eco Ladder at Jughandle State Reserve

This one is for genuine adventurers; watch the pictures and get excited to explore this spectacular coastal land.

Jughandle State Reserve’s 5-mile (8-kilometer) ecological stairway walk takes three wave-cut terraces and a wide range of inspiring natural views.

From Jugandale State Reserve, you can see the land change over time; we’d be happy to take a tour a few times!

There are also short and long walks depending on your comfort level. If you are looking for things to do near Mendocino, check out this place.

  1. Take a Look at Your History at the Kelley House Museum

The Kelly House Museum, started in 1973, aims to “collect, preserve, protect and share the rich history of the Mendocino Coast.”

So far, they have done a great job with thousands of artifacts, photographs, and documents available for viewing.

They also host events and activities throughout the year, so be sure something exciting happens when you plan to attend.

  1. See some of America’s best artists in the Highlights Gallery

This historic Mendocino tourist attraction hosts the Highlight Gallery, which is set within views of Mendocino Bay.

The three-story building is filled with artifacts from wooden furniture, sculptures, and paintings, all handmade in the United States.

The gallery has grown since its creation in 1978, housing one of the largest and oldest collections in the Pacific Northwest. They regularly host art events, of which all the details are available online.

  • Relax at the Temple of Quan Tai

The Temple of Quan Tai is a 19th-century house dedicated to the Taoist god of war, not what you’d expect to find in Mendocino.

It is believed to be the oldest Taoist temple in rural California. Four generations of protectors and caretakers have cared for this shrine, and its bright colors stand proudly against the Mendocino backdrop. You can visit the temple by appointment; only booking details are available on the website.

  1. Stroll the Botanical Gardens

Get lost among the birds and bees at the charming 47-acre (19 ha) botanical garden on the Mendocino Coast.

It has grown in splendor since its creation in 1961 and was recently voted as one of the 5 best botanic gardens in the country, with 70,000 visitors a year! The garden also houses special collections such as rhododendrons, heather, and succulents to read about.

  1. Visit Glass Beach

This beach is one of the fascinating beaches in the world, where each pebble is made of finely rounded, colored pieces of glass.

Place your hands in the sand and bring up tiny glass raindrops of bright colors that cover the colors of the rainbow. It is like sitting on a rainbow! A ‘must’ for any trip to Mendocino.

  1. Take a Canoe to the Big River’s Tidal Estuary

The Big River Estuary is the second longest estuary in all of California; what makes it unique is that it remains undeveloped throughout its 8.3 miles (13 kilometers) long.

You can rent a canoe and travel into the estuary to view playful seals, otters, and birds. The estuary is designated Class 1, which means it is a nice easy canoe ride even for beginners.

  1. Ride the Skunk Train

There are few places left where you can ride the Skunk Train, so this deserves a spot on the list!

The round trip route begins at Fort Bragg and is a total round trip of 1 hour, 7 miles (11 kilometers), taking in the sights of the shady redwood forests and taking photos.

The 131-year-old train is definitely worth a picture or two!

  1. Spend a fun-filled day outdoors at Van Damme State Park

This state park has almost everything you could want for the complete outdoor experience. From lush fern forests to beach fringes, you’re sure to find a perfect spot wherever you feel like camping. Go hiking, camping, boating, and even fishing, and you will have a fun day.

Van Damme State Park has a lot to offer: perfect for groups of friends, solo travelers, families with kids, and couples looking for a romantic date outside.

  1. Experience Navarro Vineyards & Winery

Take in California and its thriving vineyard and winery scene with an exceptional experience at Navarro Vineyards & Winery.

One of the leading enterprises in the region, this long-standing, family-owned vineyard and winery has been in business for nearly half a century.

From vines to bottles, this quaint business offers delicious drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) straight from its tasting room.

You’ll unlikely see their brand in big-name stores, making it all the more exclusive. You have to come here and experience this place for yourself.

  1. View Mendocino from Point Arena Lighthouse

See Mendocino, CA, from a different perspective – quite literally – atop a lighthouse. One of the unique places to visit in the area, Point Arena Lighthouse, offers tours and accommodations.

See this iconic landmark for yourself, learn more about the county’s history, and experience the warm welcome of its community.

With beautiful sites, scenery, and lots of fun things, a trip to this region will be an exciting and fun-filled day. Take advantage of this attraction as it will surely be one to remember.

  1. Spend an Idyllic Morning at the Mendocino County Farmers Market

Support farmers, local crafts, and small businesses through the Mendocino County Farmers Market.

With so many areas and neighborhoods coming together for a weekly function, you’re sure to be able to find the perfect farmers market that meets all of your needs.

Ranging from fresh vegetables, fruit, dairy, preserves, and even local crafts, you’re sure to have a fun day strolling the morning and shopping for some of the freshest and best products in the country.

If you feel hungry after looking around, you can also enjoy the hearty and delicious snacks and food being sold.

Whether you’re visiting alone or with friends and family, stopping at any of the Mendocino County farmer’s markets means you get the best of the produce while supporting the community.

  1. Explore Ross Ranch on Horseback

Perfect for kids and kids at heart, Ross Ranch offers private guided tours on horseback. One way to experience the beauty of California is through horseback riding.

Stroll the shores of Manchester Beach at a leisurely pace and explore the area’s coastal forest trails while enjoying the company of your local guide.

Also, take the time to build a special bond with your horse, as you rarely get a chance to ride or even see one up close.

If you are a novice to horse riding, don’t worry because Ross Ranch will match you with the perfect horse for your skill level. They even allow children as young as six years of age to be a part of this fun experience.

  1. Spend a Relaxing Afternoon at Cafe Beaujolais

If you’re wondering where to eat, Cafe Beaujolais is a great place to stop. This restaurant is located inside a preserved Victorian farmhouse and serves upscale French-inspired cuisine.

The decor is elegant, and the local wines are superb. Dishes like white truffle pasta and pesto pizza with goat cheese are worth trying, and the friendly staff is always on hand to make recommendations.

Relax with a great selection of drinks, from wine to beer, and dine on delicious food. Do visit this classy yet charming cafe when you are in the area.

The question is: where to start?                  

There’s a lot to see and do around Mendocino, especially if you like to wander! We hope this list has helped you discover some hidden gems you didn’t even consider.

Plus, remember to check out the best hotels and Airbnb vacation rentals. We hope you have a wonderful Mendocino stay!

FAQ about the best things to do in Mendocino, CA

  1. What are the best attractions to visit in Mendocino?

Some of the best attractions in Mendocino are the Mendocino Coast, Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historical Park, Big River Tidal Estuary, and Point Arena Lighthouse.

  1. What are the best outdoor activities in Mendocino?

Go walking and jogging along the Mendocino Coast, hiking and exploring Jugandale State Reserve, kayaking in the Big River Tidal Estuary, and exploring the Point Arena Lighthouse.

  1. What are the most popular things to do with kids and families in Mendocino?

Some of the most popular things to do in Mendocino with kids and families are strolling the Mendocino Coast, riding the Skunk Train, collecting sea glass and seashells at Glass Beach, and Mendocino on horseback Searching for.

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