Coastal California is full of beautiful places- amazing coastline, rock formations, and beaches. I have visited this coastline in total for two weeks, but I could cover only some of the state parks. Mendocino Headlands State Park is one of them. A dear friend recommended this place, and I clearly can see why now. The beautiful turquoise blue water, coast, the arch- everything about this coast is beautiful. There are so many exciting activities such as hiking, biking, and enjoying the view from the shore. You can see many sea animals here. We were lucky enough to watch a whale from the shore. There was a man who was waiting with a binocular and watching the shore occasionally. At some point, he got excited to see a splash. Watching him this excited everybody around him understood he saw something. Thankfully I had a long-range lens with me that time and I was able to see the whale. It was an unexpectedly beautiful surprise, one that I will cherish for a long time. This state park is just a few hours north of San Francisco. Also, Mendocino is well known for its world-class wine. Coastal view accompanied by world-class wine- what would you need more for a perfect romantic getaway or a fun trip with friends! There are a few other states parks nearby. Let’s explore together what you can do in Mendocino.
If hiking is a priority on your list, you can go for some of the amazing ones with coastal views. You can go for the 2.5 miles Mendocino Headlands trail which offers coastal scenic beauty the whole time. There is an arch right beside the parking lot which looks great with the beautiful blue water. From different pictures, I thought it must have been a tough hike or remote place. But it was close. Mendocino Cliffs trail is a 0.9-mile easy trail, which you can go for an amazing cliff view. Apart from the coastal view, you can take the 5-mile-long Fern Canyon trail that passes through the 100-year-old Pygmy Forest in Van Damme State Park. But remember you may have to go through some river crossings, which may be hard during the wet months. There is another 6.8-mile loop hike in Russian Gulch State Park that will take you to a 36-foot-tall waterfall. Mendocino has a lot of excellent tidal pools which you can find near the rocky coastal area. On the western bluff of Mendocino Headlands State Park, there are tide pools, beaches, and sea caves which you can easily explore if you are taking the headlands trail. The southern end of Van Damme Beach has also some tidepools.
How amazing it would be to explore Mendocino’s coast by kayak! It’s the best way to explore Mendocino’s coast. You will be amazed to see seals, sea lions, otters, and other sea animals, coastal birds along with the coastal beauty. There are some natural sea caves which you can explore by kayak. There are several kayak and canoe tours offered by different companies which you can take if you do not want to go by yourself. One thing you should check before your visit is the weather forecast. Weather can change at any time- quite unpredictable. You should prepare and plan for your visit accordingly. People always make mistakes by assuming California is always sunny, hot. But what they don’t realize is that the coastal weather can change its course at any time and drop down to 30 degrees along with the thick fog. So, dress in layers and be prepared for the chilly and foggy weather anytime. It’s not that cold, but you will need warm clothes for sure.
Apart from the natural scene, you can enjoy the beautiful town which has a lot of things to do. If art and culture are something that interests you, you can visit the Mendocino Art Center, which is a local art hub originated in the late 1950s by artists Bill and Jennie Zacha. The center is located at the top of the headlands overlooking the ocean. It would not be fair to visit Mendocino and not visit the wineries. You can visit the wineries that are located on Highway 128. There are a lot of eateries with ocean views and shops, boutiques, etc. Mendocino is also full of boutique inns, and it will be a great experience to stay somewhere like this. A view, a beautiful place to stay, good food, wines- a perfect combo for a perfect vacation. If you are visiting, do not forget to enjoy the ocean view from there. Also, the sunset here is quite enchanting. Overall the coastal Mendocino is beautiful, serene, and perfect for a weekend gateway.
You can also visit Fort Bragg, which is very close to Mendocino and famous for its glass beach. There are three glass beaches in Fort Bragg, that have colorful glasses on the beach. Know more about the glass beach here (insert our blog link)
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