Located on a headland where the Big River meets the Pacific Ocean, Mendocino is a charming coastal community in northern California. In addition to being a popular artist colony, it lies on the doorstep of the Mendocino Headlands and Russian Gulch State Parks.
Get your art fix at the Mendocino Art Center, which hosts changing gallery exhibitions, art classes and artist in residence programs. It’s a short stroll from the Kelley House Museum, where you can learn about Mendocino’s historic logging and shipping industries. A highlight of the collection is a cannon from the Frolic brig that was wrecked at nearby Point Cabrillo in 1850.
Want to stretch your legs? Follow one of the trails that lead through Mendocino Headlands State Park, which encompasses rocky bluffs, coastal prairie and sandy beaches. Serving as the park headquarters is the Ford House Museum, where you can learn about the regional ecology. Migrating grey whales can sometimes be seen from the cliffside trails.
Mendocino is around three hours’ drive from San Francisco and 3.5 hours from San Francisco International Airport. Buses connect to Mendocino from towns across northern California and the village is small enough to explore on foot.