20 Best Things to Do in Mendocino, CA

Mendocino CA
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A historical landmark in itself, Mendocino is a sight to behold.

The county is an apt portrayal of Victorian architecture that dates back to the 1850s.

Adding to its beauty, Mendocino has a gorgeous coastline that extends over 90 miles.

Its old-world charm appeals to almost everyone.

It is a tiny place with great spots to visit.

The traveler in you will probably want to wear a hippie t-shirt and cargo pants upon witnessing its atmosphere.

This experience will surely be different from any other places you'll see in the state.

For a memorable visit, check out this list of the best things to do in Mendocino, California:

Spend the Night at the Glendeven Inn & Lodge

Recognized as the coolest and most comfortable lodge in Mendocino, Glendeven Inn & Lodge exceeds expectations.

You can verify the inn's credibility through testimonials presented by Vogue and USA Today Travel.

They provide comforting and warm lounges, a great bar, and a lush green garden.

The rooms are spacious and accommodating.

Each room is well-equipped with a view of either the garden or patio.

It is a stylish place to spend a night or two.

You'll love snapping photos of your lavish room for your social media accounts.

Furthermore, you can relish a lip-smacking la carte breakfast the next day.

The unpretentious atmosphere and hospitality will make you want to stay a little longer.

Dip Your Toes in the Mendocino Coast

Mendocino coast
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Mendocino has got a spectacular coastline.

The community itself is known for its coast and beach.

It is said that this is one of the most majestic beaches in the world—and judging by its scene, this sure appears true.

It will feel surreal to take some time off and sit at the coast with azure waters stroking your feet.

Do not ramble aimlessly on a busy street; instead, relax and spread out on the beach.

From the beach, you can watch the undulating mountains and cliffs at a distance.

If you are planning to visit it in the evening, do not leave the spot until sunset because that's when the magic happens.

The moment when the orangish hues merge into each other and create a euphoric atmosphere—it's a pleasant experience, for sure.

Retreat to Nature at Russian Gulch State Park

Russian Gulch State Park
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Nature has its ways to attract mankind.

It creates an aura that never fails to captivate humans.

Russian Gulch State Park is one such creation that would entice you to spend a day.

Loaded with pristine beaches, brimming waterfalls, and headlands, it is the best place to spend time in nature's lap.

You can take up different trails according to the time you have.

You can take a headlands trail that will offer an alluring view of the ocean or take the Fern Canyon Trail, which will lead you to the waterfall.

If you are plan to spend a whole day there, hike up to the Russian GGulch'screek.

The view from up there is splendid and breathtaking.

This place is a hidden treasure that deserves more attention.

Visit the Mendocino Art Center

Mendocino art center
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North California is utterly beautiful, and if you want to experience its beauty holistically, this is the place for you.

You have two options: either admire the art pieces presented here or engage in one of their workshops.

Both of these options are equally intriguing.

First, the center houses some of the remarkable works by various artists.

Be it a sculpture, or a painting, everything is beautifully crafted.

The selection is marvelous, and you will get to see pieces from various genres and eras.

If you decide to join a workshop, you get a lot of mediums to try your hands on.

Some of them are ceramics, jewelry, sculpture, fiber arts, and fine arts.

They have a lot more apart from this, so it depends on your choices and preferences.

Discover Headlands State Park

Headlands State Park
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A perfect blend of steep trails and pristine beaches, Headlands State Park is worth discovering.

The park offers a spectacular view of the sea and coastline.

There are many activities you can take up here to spend your time.

You may walk the trails and snap pictures of some exotic flowers.

If you are visiting the place in the winter, you may have a look at the whales from a distance.

You can go hiking or surfing in the ocean.

You may also go fishing if you are skilled enough.

It is a photographer's favorite spot as it offers elegant frames to capture.

It will be interesting to map your way out between the rock formations and wild bushes.

Go Canoeing on the Big River

Canoeing in Big River
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Canoeing is a fun activity, and the Big River is stable and comfortable to canoe.

As the river is gentle, you can canoe steadily and enjoy the atmosphere simultaneously.

The Big River flows in multiple directions, allowing you to paddle seamlessly.

Many local companies lease canoes for tourists at an hourly pay rate.

You can choose any of them and go for the ride.

If you are new, they will also teach you the basics, and you will be good to go.

Explore Jughandle State Reserve

The beach of Jughandle State Reserve
David Eppstein, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Mendocino is full of natural reserves and parks.

The community has fostered and preserved the environment and natural elements.

They promote harmony and conservation of flora and fauna.

Jughandle State Reserve is located on Highway 1.

The park is known for its adjoined beaches, trails, and peaceful environment.

It is perhaps the most beautiful place in Mendocino.

The forest is easy to walk through but is equally impressive.

You can pack your picnic essentials and visit this place.

Even if you spend a whole day here, it will be worth it.

Who doesn't like relaxing in mother nature's arms?

You'll truly enjoy your day here.

Tour the Kelley House Museum

Kelley House in Mendocino
Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

There is no doubt in the fact that Mendocino is a diverse place.

It has everything ranging from environmental preserves to historical museums.

One such museum is the Kelley House Museum.

It is situated right in the heart of the town.

The museum portrays MMendocino'srich history.

The house is beautifully restored and showcases the state's heritage and ethos.

Taking a guide with you will be a good option because they will be well-equipped with the history and show you a whole different perspective.

The tour will take around two hours, combined with real-life stories and anecdotes.

You will further appreciate MMendocino'shistory and culture as you hear these stories.

The house is also composed of historical artifacts and information that acts as an extra aid.

It will be an exciting time, and you will gain a lot of insights about Mendocino.

Board the Skunk Train

Skunk Train
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The world already knows about the renowned train ride that takes you into the woods.

Boarding the Skunk Train is one of the most iconic things to do in Mendocino.

The train is vintage-looking and historic.

Five different trains take you on the ride.

The round trip is two hours long.

It will take you to some exotic locations and many tunnels.

The train is not fast-paced, making it easy for passengers to admire the views.

It is so beautiful and picturesque.

One reminder, do not forget to get off at the Crowley—you won't regret it.

Play Golf at the Little River Inn

Golf is said to be the game of royals.

It is associated with aristocrats and higher-class people.

Do you want to feel the royalty and try your hand at this sport?

Here's your chance to fulfill your wish in Mendocino.

The Little River Inn's golf course presents the game to you.

Situated between the hills and meadows, it is the oldest golf course in the region.

It is a fun place to test your skills and abilities.

You can take a single round to see if it works for you.

You will indeed enjoy the round and want to play more and more.

Trying new things always turns into a pleasurable experience.

Go Back in Time at Ford House Museum

Ford House Museum
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Mendocino brims with a rich history, and Ford House Museum is another place where visitors can immerse themselves in it.

First things first, the edifice is a historical figure in itself.

As you venture in, you will witness some incredible artifacts and pictures.

This museum tells stories of everything that Mendocino has ever experienced.

Side exterior of Ford House Museum
W Nowicki, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The exhibit is well segregated and arranged in a particular order.

The pictures convey much more than you would ever read in books or manuscripts.

The place is intriguing and awe-inspiring.

Learning about a city's history is always fascinating.

You will surely enjoy the tour and retell the stories you hear at this museum.

Head over to Van Damme State Park

Van Damme State Park
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Probably the best campsite in California, Van Damme State Park is a tranquil place to spend the day.

The little park has several picnic areas and leads to an equally stunning redwood forest.

It is an alluring sight.

Trees along a footbridge at Van Damme State Park
Jason Sturner, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can relax here and experience serenity—Van Damme offers nothing but peace and good vibes.

The park is clean and well-maintained.

The authorities do not charge anything but make sure you do not litter the place as this might cost you a hefty fine.

Say a Prayer at the Temple of Kwan Tai

Temple of Kwan Tai in Mendocino
Tony Eppstein, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Temple of Kwan Tai is a Taoist temple that dates back to the 19th century.

It derives its tradition from Chinese roots and is the oldest temple in Mendocino.

Interior of Temple of Kwan Tai
Tony Eppstein, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The shrine's structure is unique and Asian.

It is a spiritually charged location.

You must pray for the betterment and happiness of your loved ones and yourselves.

Admire the Geological Wonder of the Sinking Whole

The Sinking Whole is a hidden gem in the Russian Gulch State Park.

Also known as the Devil’s Punch Bowl, Sinking Whole is located on the park's western portion.

This tourist attraction is an inland location near the coast and is a fenced area to protect tourists in case of erosion.

There are a few water tubes at the bottom of this bowl-shaped sinkhole.

It's recommended you wear long pants on your hike to the Sinking Whole because it's very close to Poison Oak.

Relax at Sweetwater Eco Spa

Nestled in the center of the lovely town of Mendicino, the Sweetwater Inn offers a variety of affordable options for sleeping and relaxing.

This spa facility features luxurious cottages with hot tubs, fireplaces, quaint Victorian-style rooms, kitchens, or cool water tower suites.

You'll not only find those accommodations but also numerous others choices available to ensure your stay is comfortable and fun.

Here, you can enjoy Sweetwater Eco Spa's complimentary sauna services, such as the infrared sauna, the redwood hot tubs, and many other amazing massage traditions.

They are known for their professional massage therapists, who are unparalleled when delivering a soothing treatment to anyone!

Sometimes when you set off in an unexpected direction, you can be treated to a unique find which will leave a lasting impression on you.

This is exactly what happens when you visit The Water Gallery.

It's owned by William De La Mare, a friendly yet inspiring soul with an amazing story to tell.

Water Gallery’s collection of works on display all includes waves in some form or another.

The pieces they own present the physical aspect of water: what happens when it's shaped and formed into something new.

It is a charming photography exhibition that captures the true essence, movement, and spiritual feeling behind being water.

You'll find this art gallery at Ukiah Street The Water Tower, Mendocino, California.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Enjoy the View from Point Arena Lighthouse

Point Arena Lighthouse
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The best time to visit is September or October.

The view from the top is unforgettable and almost magical.

Your eyes are in for a treat.

You can also watch the sunset from atop the lighthouse if you want.

All in all, it will be delightful.

Go Horseback Riding at Ross Ranch

Riding a horse is a challenging experience.

At Ross Ranch, you can go for a horseback ride around the coastline.

Riding a horse may appear easy, but it isn't.

It's essential to be cautious while doing so.

The instructor will teach you the basics first, and then you'll be good to go.

The horses are well-trained, and they make your ride smoother.

YYou'llsurely enjoy a gentle ride.

It will surely be a breathtaking experience.

As you ride around the coast, you will also be able to view the majestic ocean.

The best time to go for a ride is in the evening.

At this time, the temperature drops, and the atmosphere is pleasant.

The scenery is spectacular, too.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to natural beauty, Mendocino has every big and small thing.

From glass-bottom beaches and steep trails to the tallest and the tiniest redwoods, and America's only oceanfront botanical gardens, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Mendocino, California!