Plan a day trip to Mendocino County, CA from San Francisco

The Nerdy Me

This Mendocino county is one of the most charming places on the north coast of the state of California. From the craggy bluffs to the most exclusive coastal views, this county is a perfect day trip destination.

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Photo by Mario Mesaglio on Unsplash

Located just a few hours north of San Francisco on California’s stunning Pacific Coast Highway, Mendocino attracts most of the tourists and residents of nearby areas on the weekends. And it is no secret why. The entire area is an incredibly wonderful place to relax and have fun if you want to escape the city buzz.

In case you aren't familiar with what Mendocino can offer, here are some of the must-do things when in Mendocino for the weekend!

Glass Beach

If you are a beach lover, then this is the right place for you. Plus, you can't say you've been to Mendocino without visiting Glass Beach which is basically a top bucket list item in Mendocino County.

This is a former dumpsite for the town of Fort Bragg turned into a beautiful example of how nature can heal itself after even the most uncharming of human activities.

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Photo by Kevin Lanceplaine on Unsplash

If you visit on a clear and low tide day, you will get to enjoy the crystal-clear water and a nice stroll along the beach while getting a glimpse of smooth colorful glass pieces that you can find mixed into the pebbly beach. This is where the beach gets its name,

Visiting on the weekends means that you will most likely encounter a bit of a crowd since it is quite a popular spot but it is still worth a visit.

Address: W Elm St and Glass Beach Dr, Fort Bragg, CA 95437

Mendocino Headlands State Park

Mendocino Headlands State Park is home to wildebeest, zebra, giraffes, black rhinos, cheetahs, lions, and other animals. Also, it is a perfect place for a bit of hiking, fishing or relaxing in nature.

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Photo by Marco Bicca on Unsplash

The best time to visit the park is the dry season. You can observe the animals, take a hike and have fun without having to worry about the rain. Also, be prepared for different terrain, so wear comfortable and suitable walking shoes.

The entrance to the park is free.

Skunk Train

If you haven't heard about Glass Beach, you definitely have about the historic Skunk Train. The symbol of Mendocino County has been working for 134 years now!

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Photo by Skunk Train website

You can either depart from Willits or Fort Bragg for a ride on the back of the Skunk in its natural habitat. The forty miles long railroad runs through beautiful redwood forests, scenic mountain meadows and over 30 trestles bridging the pristine mountain waters of Northern California.

City of 10,000 Buddhas

The City of 10,000 Buddhas is the first large Buddhist community in the United States. It is located between the benchlands of the Ukiah Valley, just beyond the Gate of Three Arches.

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Photo by The Planet D

The city is set on the grounds of the former state mental facility which about 80 acres large and contains a university, schools, a vegetarian restaurant, and the incredible Jeweled Hall of 10,000 Buddhas which consists of 10,000 images of Buddha that line the walls.

Address: 4951 Bodhi Way, Ukiah, CA 95482

How to get to Mendocino from San Francisco?

If you want to visit this beautiful county from San Francisco, there are two ways: the fast route and the scenic route.

The scenic route goes through the Pacific Coast Highway which is also known as one of the most beautiful coastal drives in the world. The north section of this route is just as scenic and mesmerising and the south one goes from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

The drive will take you around 6 hours to make but it will be worth every minute, trust us.

The fast route is driving Highway 101 and it should take you around 3 hours to reach Mendocino from San Francisco on Highway 101.

You can always take a scenic route to reach Mendocino and a fast one to get back home.

Have you ever been to Mendocino? Let us know in the comments below?

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