The Top 5 Things To Do In Mendocino

From waves crashing against breathtaking cliffs and harbor seals sunning themselves to tide pools and secluded coves, craft the perfect trip to the coast with the top 5 Things To Do In Mendocino.


1. Enjoy the majestic coastal views of the Pacific Ocean  

- Watch the yearly whale migration, November through May. 

- Check the Tide Chart and visit the most interesting beaches like Bowling Ball Beach, Navarro Beach (a driftwood haven) and the Pudding Creek Trestle

- Hike part of the 20 mile span of five uplifted ocean terraces at The Jug Handle Ecological Staircase. The 2.5-mile round-trip explores how the coast has been carved by glacier, sea and tectonic activity. Entry and parking are free but dogs are not permitted. 

- Tour 47, ocean-front acres of the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, wandering through canyons, wetlands, coastal bluffs and a closed-cone pine forest among thousands of beautiful floral varieties. 

- Dive in deep with geologist Thomas Cochrane's book "Shaping the Sonoma-Mendocino Coast...Exploring the Coastal Geology of Northern California"  for an 85-mile Road Log of 150 stops along a self-guided tour including dining, camping, hiking and picnic sites while studying how the coast came to be. This Amazon best seller can be ordered online pre-trip or purchased at Gallery Bookshop and Out of this World in Mendocino.  


2. Taste your way through Anderson Valley Wine Country & Local Breweries
Sample some of the country’s best beer at a brewery that also gives back. North Coast Brewing Company, a Certified B Corporation, donates to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and marine mammal rescue (among many other avenues) with proceeds from beer sales. Top it all off with a night off world-class jazz in the brewery’s Sequoia Room, where the music will remind you of all the beautiful people in this world; some are making music, some are making beer.

Drive from the coast to wine country through majestic redwood groves on this suggested route and taste your way through the vineyards of Anderson Valley. Great small towns like Ukiah, Boonville, Philo, Willits and Hopland are packed with dining and shopping between vineyards.

Switch it up and stop by Anderson Valley Brewing Company for a variety of tasty brews. Get crazy with their gose style and Wild Turkey Bourbon barrel-aged beers.


3. Get up close and personal with the great outdoors

-Take to the water on a guided sea kayak tour for all levels with Kayak Mendocino or rent a stand up paddleboard on the Big River Estuary from Catch A Canoe & Bicycle Too.

- Horseback ride on the beaches of MacKerricher State Park Ride or customize a week-long excursion led by Ricochet Ridge Ranch. New riders will feel safely guided and advanced riders can deepen their skills while enjoying some of the greatest horses around.


4. Let your taste buds be your guide; eat your way through Mendocino county. 

Whether your travels take you to the South Coast, North Coast, Wine Country or a driving trip of the Mendocino County loop click on these links to learn about our favorite dining in each region.

Sticking to a specific diet or honoring your healthy lifestyle on vacation? These are our go-to spots for farm-to-table, organic, gluten free and vegan options that don’t skimp on flavor:

- GoodLife Cafe and Bakery is a healthy, hearty breakfast and lunch to enjoy in their local art-adorned cafe or to-go. The free-range chicken curry, bulk quinoa and veggies made for an excellent picnic lunch.  

- Ravens Restaurant A local, organic, conscious fine dining at the Stanford Inn Eco-Resort. 

- Flow Restaurant and Lounge offers fresh, local, organic and wholesome with gorgeous ocean views. 

- Cafe One, look for the organic flag waving outside. We love the gluten free pancakes and huevos rancheros. 


5. Create a cozy stay-cation in one of our favorite homes away from home

The Stanford Inn Eco Spa and The Inn at Newport Ranch are an indulgent, all-inclusive experience! Tailor your trip with their ample on-site activities or just relax and enjoy the view.  

Looking to rough it in the most comfortable way possible? Glamping at The Mendocino Grove is for you! Choose from Airstream trailers to canvas tents packed with old world charm; the decor is reminiscent of your favorite Pinterest or Instagram pages.

For large groups or those looking to truly detach, Mendocino Coast Reservations manages houses and studios on the remote bluff of the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. With very little internet access, detatch and play by running around under the stars at night and strolling to the lighthouse bluff in the morning. The secluded Caspar Beach and kayak rental is right down the road.

More of our favorite lodging:


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For more trip ideas - Flip through our Online Guest Directory, read about the Lesser Know Vacation Spots in Northern California, Romantic Adventure Ideas, The Most Romantic Locations in Mendocino, A Romantic Trip to Mendocino and The Nest Rehearsal Dinner Spots in Mendocino