Located 163 miles north of San Francisco is Mendocino County, a picturesque rarity that showcases some of the most stunning natural landscapes that California has to offer. For an unforgettable road trip, grab your best friends (one of which should be a great driver given that a lot of the drive is on windy terrain), and head up the Mendocino coastline, which in and of itself is beautiful. Think: cliffs, crashing waves and adjacent green wilderness for hours.
Sure California has plenty of pretty oceanside getaways, but none compare to the quirky, thoroughly charming town of Mendocino. For one, it’s a part of the Emerald Triangle—the largest cannabis-producing region in the country. Not your thing? Totally fine. It’s also home to 90 miles of Pacific coastline, 24 state and national parklands, historic villages and outdoor adventure sites and countless redwood trees making it ideal for nature lovers.
Not to mention Mendocino is filled with strange oddities that need to be seen and experienced to be fully appreciated. It’s a magical place where you can spend an afternoon doing anything from walking through enormous, ancient redwoods and experiencing a safari (and feeding giraffes out of your mouth!) to watching adorable seals sunbath on a secluded beach and finding enlightenment at a Buddist Monastery.
While exploring Mendocino, book your stay at the phenomenal Inn at Newport Ranch which is set on 2,000-acre coastal cattle ranch. It boasts epic ocean views, redwood forests, and over 20 miles of private trails perfect for hiking, horseback riding or whatever your heart desires. Not to mention you’ll find the most chill cows and calves roaming the grounds at any given time.
Looking for something a bit more out-of-the-ordinary? Check in to The Andiron. Built in 1959, this eccentric property is spread out over five acres of woods. Each of the 12 cabins are completely refurbished and redesigned, featuring a strange theme that sets it apart from the other. Funky, retro, and unlike any other lodging in the area, you’ll spot antique items, décor and salvaged furniture throughout The Andiron.
Be sure to make stops at:
- Point Arena Lighthouse
- B. Bryan Preserve
- Solar Living Institute
- Chandelier Drive-Thru tree
- City of Ten Thousand Buddhas
- Confusion Hill
- Glass Beach
For a complete rundown of Mendocino’s most distinctive places to visit, check out my Thrillist article.
Point Arena Lighthouse
B. Bryan Preserve
The World’s Largest Redwood Tree Service Station
Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree
The Solar Living InstituteThe Inn at Newport RanchThe AndironCowlick’s Ice Cream
The Bluebird Cafe
I photographed the same redwood tree museum.
Wasn’t it cool??