19 Things to Do in Mendocino County

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The list of fun things to do in Mendocino County could go on forever, so to narrow it down, we created an agenda of can’t-miss activities in the region. Add these trips to your weekend getaway and discover what makes Mendocino County the crown jewel of the California coastline.

The Tastiest Meals in Mendocino

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Image Source: Yelp
955 Ukiah Street Restaurant
955 Ukiah St.
Mendocino, CA 95460
(707) 937-1955
TripAdvisor: 4 Stars, 180 Reviews

Sample a mix of American and French cuisine with dinner at 955 Ukiah Street Restaurant. These creative restaurateurs believe in using only sustainable, organic ingredients. The menu includes an assortment of local seafood and a constantly changing dessert menu. Insider tip: Eat dinner on Thursdays and order the “Coast Night Special”, a three-course mix-and-match meal that includes a glass of California wine, all for only $25.

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Image Source: Yelp
Trillium Cafe & Inn
10390 Kasten St.
Mendocino, CA 95460
(707) 937-3200
TripAdvisor: 4.5 Stars, 179 Reviews

This is the perfect lunch spot to try a delicious meal crafted using flavorful Mendocino ingredients. Snag a seat on the back patio for a view of the ocean and the restaurant’s colorful flower garden. Insider tip: Visitors rave about the housemade fettucini and the fresh fish tacos.

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Image Source: Yelp
Garden Bakery
10450 Lansing St.
Mendocino, CA 95460
(707) 937-3140
TripAdvisor: 4.5 Stars, 45 Reviews

For a quick bite to eat before you set out for the day, stop by Garden Bakery. Fluffy pastries are baked in-house daily and the restaurant offers plenty of healthy breakfast options, including a gluten-free menu section. Insider tip: Leave the credit cards at home. The bakery is a cash-only breakfast spot.

Where to Wine (or Beer)

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Image Source: Yelp & Lula Cellars
Lula Cellars
2800 Guntly Rd.
Philo, CA 95466
(707) 895-3737
TripAdvisor: 4.5 Stars, 9 Reviews
Reservations: Not required

Take a scenic tour of the wine trail along Anderson Valley. First stop, Lula Cellars. Their handful of gold medal winners, including the 2012 Pinot Noir and 2013 Zinfandel, will impress even the most discerning tastebuds. Insider tip: If you’re a dog owner, bring them along. Lula Cellars allows visitors to bring pets along, even inside the tasting room.

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Image Source: Yelp
Handley Cellars
3151 Highway 128
Philo, CA 95466
(707) 895-3876
TripAdvisor: 5 Stars, 33 Reviews
Reservations: Not required

Next up on the wine tour is Handley Cellars, a lush country vineyard overgrown with gorgeous vines and bright flowers. The family-owned winery uses only organically farmed fruit to create red, whites, and even sparkling wines. Insider tip: Wear comfortable shoes, as the tour guides will take you on an expansive walking tour of the grounds.

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Image Source: Yelp
Mendocino Brewing Company
1252 Airport Park Blvd.
Ukiah, CA 95482
(707)467-2337
TripAdvisor: 3.5 Stars, 7 Reviews

Are you a beer fanatic? Stop by Mendocino Brewing Company to try one of the more than 20 craft ales. This local brewery has grown to become the 30th largest craft brewer in the United States. Insider tip: Try their flagship beer, the Red Tail Ale.

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Image Source: Yelp
Phillips Hill Winery
5101 Highway 128
Philo, CA 95466
(707) 895-2209
Reservations: Not required

Phillips Hill Winery focuses on producing quality Pinot Noirs. Tastings are held in the historic apple dryer barn, originally built in the 1880s. Although updated for modern comfort, the tasting room retains all the former charm. Insider tip: The vineyard also contains an apple orchard and gives guided tours of the on-site apple drying facility.

Must-See Mendocino Museums & Gardens

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Image Source: Yelp
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
18220 Highway 1
Fort Bragg, CA 95437
(707) 964-4352
TripAdvisor: 5 stars, 666 reviews

The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is famous for their Rhododendrons, heathers, and succulents. Walk these gorgeous gardens to discover a variety of exotic plants and over 150 species of birds. Insider tip: Bring along Fido on your trip to the gardens. Pets on leashes are welcome and will love to take in all the exciting smells of the botanical gardens.

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Image Source: Yelp
Point Arena Lighthouse
45500 Lighthouse Rd.
Point Arena, CA 95468
(707) 882-2809
TripAdvisor: 4.5 Stars, 67 Reviews

The tallest Pacific Coast lighthouse and closest spot in the continental U.S. to Hawaii, the Point Arena Lighthouse should definitely be on your list of places to visit near Mendocino. Take a guided tour all the way to the top of the lighthouse and learn about the interesting history of the building. You can even plan a horseback riding expedition on the beach right beside the lighthouse. Too tired to drive home afterwards? Stay at the one of the lighthouse vacation rentals and see the sunset from one of the most breathtaking spots around. Insider tip: To see the lighthouse in action, visit in the evenings for a guided night tour.

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Image Source: Yelp
Ford House Museum
45035 Main St.
Mendocino, CA 95460
(707) 937-5397
TripAdvisor: 4.5 Stars, 42 Reviews

Immerse yourself in Mendocino history at this museum located inside the Mendocino Headlands State Park. Learn about the earliest settlements in the area, including the indigenous people of the region, the Pomo Native Americans. Seasonal exhibits highlight the local plants and wildlife. Insider tip: Plan your visit to the Ford House Museum in March for a guided whale watching tour.

Enjoying The Great Outdoors

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Image Source: Yelp
Golf at Little River Inn
7751 Highway 1
Little River, CA 95456
(707) 937-5942

The Little River Inn has the only golf course located directly on the Mendocino coast. These 18 holes wind through redwood trees along the Pacific Ocean, providing you with stunning scenery during your golf game. Insider tip: Keep an eye out for an abundance of wildlife on the course. The inn’s golf course is one of only 35 golf courses in California to be designated as an Audubon-certified cooperative sanctuary.

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Image Source: Yelp
Ross Ranch
28300 Philo Greenwood Rd.
Elk, CA 95432
(707) 877-1834
TripAdvisor: 4.5 Stars, 30 Reviews

Ross Ranch brings country living to the West Coast. Go for a ride along the famous Mendocino beaches or take your horse for a guided tour through the towering redwood forests. You may even get to see dolphins and other sea animals as you ride along the coast. Insider tip: Write down directions before heading to the ranch. Cell phone service in the area can be spotty at best.

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Image Source: Yelp
Annual Whale Migration
Mendocino Headlands State Park, CA 95460

Spend New Year’s in Mendocino to experience the annual whale migration. Thousands of California Grey Whales travel from the icy Alaskan waters down to Baja California from January to the beginning of March. Insider tip: Boat rentals in the Mendocino area allow you to get front row seats for this amazing view of nature at its best.

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Image Source: Yelp
Jug Handle Ecological Staircase
15501 North Highway 1
Caspar, CA 95420
(707) 964-4630
TripAdvisor: 5 Stars, 69 Reviews

This naturally crafted staircase winds along the coastline, forming a 2.5 mile trail that is open to the public. Stroll along the five terraces, created from erosive, glacial, and tectonic movements. The Jug Handle Ecological Staircase shows a clear successive timeline of the constantly evolving landscape. Insider tip: Bring your beach gear. The trail ends at a secluded beach that is open to visitors.

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Image Source: Yelp
Kayak Mendocino
Van Damme Beach State Park, Highway 1
Little River, CA 95456
(707) 937-0700
TripAdvisor: 4.5 Stars, 41 Reviews

Get out on the water and explore the sea caves that line the Mendocino coastline. Take the sea cave nature tour to see harbor seals, sea stars, and vibrant algae. These guided tours require no prior experience and is a great way for beginners to learn the interesting sport of kayaking. Insider tip: Try the paddle boarding lessons for more of a challenge.

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Image Source: Facebook
Sub-Surface Progression Dive Shop
18600 Highway 1
Fort Bragg, CA 95437
(707) 964-3793

Rent scuba diving gear from Sub-Surface Progression Dive Shop to see the brightly colored Pacific Ocean life up close. Lessons aren’t available, so make sure someone in your group is has some diving experience. Insider tip: If you love shelled seafood and arenĂ­t afraid of a cooking challenge, consider planning your dive during Abalone season (April-December). These tasty sea mollusks can be cooked similarly to oysters and are a popular seafood dish in the Mendocino area.

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Image Source: Yelp
Hiking at Russian Gulch State Park
12301 North Highway 1
Mendocino, CA 95460
(707) 937-5804
TripAdvisor: 4.5 Stars, 118 Reviews

Hike the roughly 7.5 miles of coastal trails in Russian Gulch State Park. With over 7,600 feet of the trail bordering the coast, the trails provide a scenic exercise route that even boast a 36-foot high waterfall. If biking is more your speed, there is a three-mile paved trail open year-round to bikers. Insider tip: Visit the “Blow Hole”, a formation created by the waves pounding along the coast for hundreds of years.

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Image Source: Yelp
Mendocino Music Festival
Mendocino Headlands State Park, CA 95460

Held annually since 1986 in July, the Mendocino Music Festival provides guests with a medley of classical, jazz, swing, folk, and bluegrass bands. Insider tip: Although the festival costs around $50, you can attend the rehearsals for free and get a behind-the-scenes peek at how orchestras and bands put together these impressive events.

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Image Source: Facebook
Mendocino Film Festival
The Water Tower at Ukiah Street
Mendocino, CA 95460
Ukiah St.
(707) 937-0171

This weekend film festival takes place every year in June at venues throughout Mendocino County. The festival hosts a unique collection of independent films, documentaries, foreign films, and local student entries. Insider tip: Purchase tickets well in advance. This festival is popular in the region and film screenings often sell out.

Looking to spend more than a weekend on the Northern California Coast? Use our Complete Guide to Mendocino County and plan an unforgettable trip to this picturesque region.