How to Spend an Idyllic 48 Hours in Mendocino

Where to Stay, Dine and Explore in This Dreamy California Town

Driving into Mendocino is like flipping through your favorite storybook; full of mystical redwood forests and quaint Colonial homes perched on the Pacific Coast, it’s simply picture perfect. Known for its natural beauty and welcoming community, Mendocino is the ideal two-day getaway to hit the relax button with beachfront botanical gardens, farm stays and fresh, small-town wining and dining. Plus, there’s a good mix of adventure, like kayaking down rivers or sea caves, exploring sea-glass-filled beaches and immersing yourself in the redwood forests.  Mendocino County Itinerary

@localemag We spent 48 hours in #mendocino and loved every minute of it! #mendocinocounty #pch #califonia #northerncalifornia #localemagazine #winecountry #scphotels #mendocinocoast ♬ California – The Lagoons

Immerse yourself in the seaside village of Mendocino for a rejuvenating and transformative 48 hours in Northern California.

 

DAY 1

Stay: SCP Mendocino Inn and Farm

Just 3 miles from downtown Mendocino is the dreamy and magical SCP Mendocino Inn and Farm. With 31 unique guest rooms and suites to choose from, pick which room best suits your vacay style. Choices range from the 1867 Farmhouse with views of the coastline, The Carriage House with two cozy fireplaces and The Fourquarters Building that’s surrounded by vibrant greenery. You’ll be greeted by the smell of both the redwoods and ocean air, immediately feeling at home at this quaint and relaxing inn. Wander through the property and get acquainted with your hosts—as well as the roaming llamas and chickens. With stylish, welcoming rooms, a wood-burning fireplace to light on those cool coastal nights and picturesque views overlooking the lush grounds with peeks of the coast, a stay at SCP Mendocino Inn and Farm is like jumping into a modern-day fairy tale. Don’t miss the complimentary wine tasting (from 4 to 5:30 p.m.) paired with a decadent charcuterie board to relax and unwind.

Locale Insight: Every stay at an SCP hotel does good and gives back to the world in multiple ways through Every Stay Does Good. Through soul, community and planet, you are positively contributing to charitable causes like supporting mental health in adolescents, donating to Miracles for Kids and planting a tree in an unnaturally deforested area. 

Mendocino County Itinerary

9 a.m.

Breakfast at the Farmhouse at SCP Mendocino Inn and Farm

You can have a picnic basket delivered to your room (available at 8 or 9 a.m.) or you can choose to dine-in the Farmhouse! If you prefer to have your meal delivered, find a cozy corner to nosh between the garden close to the llamas, in the meadow surrounded by greenery or on the lawn overlooking the ocean. Breakfast is made with your choice of beverage—divinely fresh orange juice goes perfectly with homemade goodies like egg souffles, pastries and yogurt parfaits. The best part is that the ingredients are sourced from the on-site garden!

Locale Insight: Complimentary tea and pour-over coffee are available each morning between 7 and 9 a.m. at Farmhouse.

 

11 a.m.

Morning Hike through Van Damme State Park

Enter into the redwood forest to Van Damme State Park, which is just a 4-minute drive from SCP Mendocino Inn and Farm and has hiking options for all levels. Trek into Fern Canyon Trailhead, an 8-mile moderate loop with green ferns, yellow banana slugs and redwood trees towering. Or, for an easily accessible hike for everyone, head to Pygmy Forest Discovery Trail, a .2-mile wooden path loop. Guests of SCP Mendocino Inn and Farm also have easy access to the headlands, the beach and the forest trails of Van Damme State Park all without getting in the car!

Mendocino County Itinerary

2 p.m.

Lunch at Princess Seafood

Stop at Princess Seafood in Fort Bragg, a woman-owned fish market and restaurant with a patio overlooking the water. Its casual demeanor, stunning views and fresh seafood make it the ideal lunch spot. Slurp down fresh oysters, fresh seasonal specials or some comforting chowder and leave satisfied!

 

4 p.m.

Visit Glass Beach

Glass Beach is a reclaimed piece of land dotted with pieces of sea glass. Ironically, however, people have picked up the sea glass, so truthfully, there isn’t as much left. Nonetheless, follow the signs for a quick walk and fill your hands with the rocky sand to inspect the glass in between. There’s also a trail in the headlands and countless rocky coves and tide pools to explore. Walk down far enough, either left or right, and you’re bound to find a quiet little oasis among the beach squirrels and large urban crows. 

Mendocino County Itinerary

6:30 p.m.

Dinner at MacCallum House

For a fresh, gourmet meal, eat under the large white, lighted canopy or on the wrap-around patio at MacCallum House, featuring a menu that changes with the seasons. It is a place that epitomizes class and style while serving locally sustainable, out-of-this-world food. And if you want a similar dining experience with a little less of the glitz and glam, we recommend dining at Grey Whale Bar and Cafe.

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DAY 2

10 a.m.

Quick Breakfast at Good Life Cafe

Good Life Cafe is a convenient and delicious bakery and coffee stop with favorites like avocado toast, breakfast burritos and a strawberry-topped waffle. You can also shop from local artists to take home a unique keepsake while you wait for your coffee. And be sure to stop by the farmstand out back for fresh Mendocino produce.

Mendocino County Itinerary

11 a.m.

Kayak Tour with Kayak Mendocino

Credit: Kristopher Villa / Unsplash

Depending on the time of year you visit, take a 90-minute Sea Cave Kayak Tour or Albion River Nature Kayak Tour with Kayak Mendocino. These tours are a great way to get into the water and explore without freezing in the Northern California ocean. The sea caves feel like a dream with light guiding you through and even some yodeling to check the acoustics. Spot the bright orange starfish on the walls and—if you’re lucky—a few sea lions bathing out in the sun. 

 

2 p.m.

Beer + Lunch at Patterson’s Pub

After your ocean adventure, wash down the experience with a refreshing beer in the green, Colonial-style Patterson’s Pub. Food favorites include a chicken tender wrap with sweet potato fries, burgers, salads and a traditional variety of fried appetizers. Enjoy greasy pub favorites at the bar or revel in the sunshine outside. 

 

4 p.m.

Explore the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

Credit: Roxanne Perkins

With a 10-minute drive up-coast, you’ll discover the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens—a plant-lover’s paradise. Featuring 47 acres of beauty, you could easily spend time getting lost in their mix of paved and dirt trails. Soak in all of the botanical bliss while not missing the main attractions: the dahlia and vegetable garden. Also, check what’s in-season during your visit to see which sections will be the blooming standouts.

Mendocino County Itinerary

6 p.m.

Dinner at Luna Trattoria

To continue the garden theme, top off your trip with dinner at the ever-enchanting Luna Trattoria. The plant-filled, wooden entry pathway guides you straight to large plates of pasta. With a menu inspired by Northern Italy, there isn’t a better way to end a trip than stuffing your face with plates of carbs, shots of limoncello and creme brulee. Cheers!

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Alexis is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer based in Southern California. With a specialty in California, nature travel, and female empowerment, she works with publications, brands, and agencies to create content that engages and connects. When she’s not on the road, you can usually find her nose deep in a spiritual, self-development book, marveling at plants in the nearest garden and exploring to find the best scenic views.

alexisbmills.com alexis@alexisbmills.com

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