I have compiled a list of the top 10 must see, do & eat places in Mendicino, CA. Since we visited during Covid and the fires, many museums and places were still closed but we were still able to experience a full weekend of adventures.
#1 The drive
No matter which direction you are coming from, your going to have to stop at some point and appreciate the beautiful views.
#2 Skunk Train
This was such a fun and relaxing experience. The skunk train is a 100 year old running vintage train that takes you on a majestic journey through the forests. Its family friendly and they host special seasonal events throughout the year. If your in the area, you should definitely grab some tickets and enjoy the ride!
#3 The Last Little Red School House
I love vintage school houses and this one was in immaculate condition. Its been renovated and kept up by the Mendicino Fire Dept. We didn’t get to go inside, but we still got to check out the charming property and have a picnic outside on the lawn. This place gave off some seriously vintage vibes. The school house is located on Highway 20 between Fort Bragg & Willits. Its nestled just a bit inside the woods, so if you’re driving too fast, you might just miss it.
#4 Point Cabrillo Lighthouse
As you may notice, there is definitely a theme here. Mendicino is filled with history and many of the vintage buildings and railroads have been kept rather well and are still completely charming and beautiful. The 4th place you must visit is Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. Once you park your car, you can hike out to the lighthouse. Hubby and I choose the longer path to take which was only about a mile long. Its a really beautiful must see setting. We explored the beach near by and saw thousands of purple jellyfish floating in the water all around the lighthouse cliffs. There are vintage cottages and the head light keepers house which you can rent out and stay the night in. The buildings were built in 1909, but have been recently renovated.
#5 Dinner at Albion River Restaurant & Inn
If you are looking for good food and a beautiful setting, you must book your reservation here. I recommend making reservations here as early as possible because they are always booked out. We sat out on the patio and watched the sun set over the ocean on their private property. The night sky was beautiful & we even saw shooting stars that night! Something we never get to see living in the city. They had twinkling lights, fire pits and heaters all around so we were pretty cozy. The setting was perfect, the food was wonderful and the staff were knowledgeable and friendly. You can check them out HERE
#6 Mendicino Botanical Gardens
This was 47 acres of pure beauty! We walked the entire garden and spent our entire afternoon here. This garden was so much better than what I had expected. There was so many pretty plants to see and paths explore. It was so fun, relaxing and a totally perfect way to start our anniversary weekend. If you love plants, you have to go HERE. Wear something cute, because your gonna want to take some fun Insty pics! Ill link some cute outfits to wear at the end of this post.
#7 North Coast Brewing Co
If you enjoy a nice cold beer and pub fries, this is your spot. I enjoyed a tasting flight of four beers along with my dinner. This taproom was definitely a fun spot to checkout for a late afternoon dinner! We went here straight after we got off the Skunk Train. It was close enough to walk over, no need to re-park our car.
#8 Glass Beach
The beaches were completely beautiful, however there really wasn’t much glass left. It seems as though everyone had taken the glass home. It was a bit disappointing because I wanted to capture a cool shot of the glass with the ocean, but nonetheless it was still beautiful. I would recommend bringing some peanuts along because there are some seriously hungry beach squirrels! 🐿
#9 Mendicino Chocolate Co.
Chocolate. Enough said. They are located just down the road from the North Coast Brewing Co and Skunk Train. If your a chocolate lover like me, I highly recommend it. I purchased an assortment of dark sugar free chocolates and they were so yummy. If sugar free dark chocolate isn’t your thing, there is an assortment of all other yummy kinds too.
#10 Bike Rentals + Coastal Breakfast Picnic
You can rent bikes and ride along the coast + pack a picnic and some beach towels to soak up the soft dewy morning sun. We stayed right on the water so in the morning we grabbed some fresh hot coffee and breakfast and rode down to the beach where we enjoyed our brekky picnic. There is definitely a lot to see and experience in Mendicino, but just about anything you choose to do here will be beautiful and charming.
More Mendicino Travel Guide Ideas + Itinerary
- Ride on the Skunk Train HERE
- Mendicino Coast Botanical Gardens HERE + Festival of lights in December
- Whale Festival HERE
- Glass Beach Museum HERE
- Explore Thrift Shops
- Explore Art Galleries
- Explore more shops and galleries on Main street Mendicino highway 1
- CV Starr Center in Fort Bragg, enjoy indoor pools, fitness center, dog park + more HERE
- Tour the Guest House Museum HERE
- Simply Succulent Nursery 3120 Hwy 20 Fort Bragg
- Explore Noyo Harbor
- Visit the Kelley House Museum HERE
- Bicycle Rentals HERE
- Lodging + Yoga classes at the Stanford Inn HERE
- Point Arena Lighthouse HERE
What To Wear