With wide eyes and a soft breeze flowing through the car, we drove through some of the most beautiful redwood forests on our way up the North Coast with the sunbeams casting a golden glow all around us. In high hopes of warm weather and continued sunshine when the redwood forest opened up onto the coast, we were suddenly reaching for an additional layer of clothing. It really is quite amazing how the weather can switch so quickly in California, but I didn't mind. Despite the desired fog-less sunset we were hoping for as the day came to an end, the hazy horizon and white skies added a little Mendocino magic to our first time this far north of the Bay Area.
The following morning after waking up to ocean views from our room at Little River Inn, we hit the road to explore more of Mendocino. The area is one of those quaint environments you easily forget exist after years of living in a urban city where there are new restaurants and shops popping up weekly. The buildings are old and most of the shops are filled with vintage finds, good eats and cracked paint in result of salty air and consistent whipping winds. Through the trees and along the bluffs, it's nearly impossible to make a "wrong turn" in this neck of this woods. A spontaneous adventure down a small road may just lead you to a new found hidden gem such as our picnic location at Caspar Beach. If you're looking to explore the shops and eateries of Mendocino, most can be found along Main Street with views of the Pacific ocean in the distance.
EAT & INDULGE
Cafe Beaujolias | Frankies Pizza + Ice Cream Parlor | Trillium Cafe | Mendocino Chocolate Co. | MacCallum House Restaurant
If you don't mind the half mile walk to and from the Point Cabrillo Light Station, I recommend stopping to check it out. The lighthouse is similar to the other light stations dotted along Highway One but the wildflowers and views complete with ocean inlets are even more of a reason to venture down the path towards the sea. We brought along lunch and enjoyed our mid-day eats and hot tea on the picnic table adjacent to the lighthouse with a view of an intimate wedding taking place on the cliffs made for an excellent time at the Lighthouse. And the peaceful, technology free stroll was even better!
DO & SEE
Point Cabrillo Light Station | Skunk Train | Horseback Riding | Art Galleries | Mendocino Botanical Gardens
As you may know, the weather in Mendocino and this stretch of the coast can get pretty chilly, even during the summer months. I suggest packing an extra jacket and bring a long a simple beach blanket to cozy up in on any of your spots along the coast. It also helps to be flexible with your itinerary, life moves pretty slow up here and it's part of the charm!
How far north have you been on the California coast? Do you have any other recommendations to add to this guide? Let's keep this going and connect on my favorite social media platform, Instagram. Feel free to drop me a line below, I'd love to hear about a special travel memory of yours or a time where you ditched your itinerary and let the road lead you to a new destination.