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Mendocino Top Attractions
1. Mendocino Film Festival
Since its creation in 2006, the Mendocino Film Festival has brought together filmmakers and film goers to delve into all aspects of cinema in a beautiful, outdoor-oriented setting. The festival is staged at a variety of venues across Mendocino county.
2. Mendocino Headlands Park
Just off of Highway One and surrounding the town of Mendocino on 3 sides, the Mendocino Headlands Park offers miles of winding cliffside trails (for walking and hiking) with spectacular vistas of the Pacific Ocean. Other activities include surfing and fishing on the secluded beaches, and guests will often find photographers and painters taking advantage of the views in all directions.
3. Sea Cave Nature Tours on Kayak
Experience the natural beauty of Mendocino from the water on an expertly guided kayak or stand up paddle board tour. Kayak Mendocino will guide you through the caves, blow holes, and rock gardens in Van Damme Cove or the diverse ecosystem of the Albion River.
4. Point Cabrillo Lighthouse & Preserve
Jutting out over the Pacific, this fully restored lighthouse is located a short half mile walk from the parking area. Visitors can tour the lighthouse, adjacent lightkeeper’s house, and marine science exhibit year round between 11am-4pm.
5. Pygmy Forest at Van Damme State Park
Explore the magical world of the pygmy forest, where 100-year-old pine trees are only one foot tall. Tucked inside the expansive Van Damme State Park, this ¼ mile boardwalk trail is wheelchair-accessible. You can continue on for a 1-mile loop or take the trail that drops into Fern Canyon for a more vigorous hike (this section of the park is also open to bikes).
6. Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
Situated on 47 acres between Highway One and the Pacific, the lush Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens are home to countless species of flowers, birds, and butterflies, as well as canyons, wetlands, coastal bluffs, and a closed-cone pine forest. The most famous inhabitant is a beautifully scented Rhododendron variety that thrives in the foggy, coastal California climate.
7. Whale Watching on the Mendocino Coast
The coast of Mendocino is a prime spot for whale watching, as over 20,000 California Gray Whales make the return trip from their southern breeding grounds December through April. Check out the view from the western end of the Mendocino Headlands, or take a whale watching excursion out of Noyo Harbor in nearby Fort Bragg. The region celebrates the whale migration every March with a series of festivals.
8. Mountain Biking
Some of the best single-track mountain biking on the North Coast of California can be found in the Mendocino area. Check out the popular Road 500 trail in the Jackson State Demonstration Forest or one of the most well known narrow single-tracks on the coast, Manly Gulch, the Mendocino Woodlands State Park.
9. Anderson Valley Wineries
Settled into a 15-mile stretch of rolling hills, the Anderson Valley is home to a diverse set of vineyards and wineries. Whether prefer a Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, or something in between, Anderson Valley has something for every wine aficionado. Winemakers in the region host 2 major festivals each year, as well as regular tours, tastings, and special events. A Blue Door Group favorite is Goldeneye, which offers fabulous wines in a glorious setting.
10. Breweries of Mendocino County
The Anderson Valley Brewing Company and North Coast Brewery brought the craft beer revolution to Mendocino county in the 1980s. Showcasing innovative brews and seasonal ales, both breweries offer tours, tastings, beautiful grounds, and interesting exhibits, including Disc Golf and the Hall of Foam museum of bottle caps at the Anderson Valley Brewing Company.
11. Mendocino Farmers Markets
Farmers markets abound in the village of Mendocino and surrounding towns, including Fort Bragg, Ukiah, and Redwood Valley. These eclectic affairs are a great source of locally grown fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and homemade regional specialties - not to mention the interesting personalities of the farmers and producers you’ll meet along the way as you check out the wares.