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Mendocino County

Whether it's coast, country or cuisine you want, Mendocino County delivers the goods. This beautiful part of northern California is a million miles away from the busy SoCal scene - in spirit, if not in distance. Here there's the chance to walk on wild Pacific bluffs, watching for whales while the spray flies. But there's also rolling valleys blanketed with farms and wineries to explore, as well as artsy towns, meandering rivers and thick redwood forests.

The coastline here is full of surprises. If it's sandy beaches with shallow lagoons you're after, then they're not hard to find. But elsewhere things get more dramatic. Other stretches have craggy cliffs where the shore is strewn with driftwood and the waves crash deafeningly into sinkholes. Then there's Glass Beach, which glitters with thousands of pieces of sea-eroded glass. And Bowling Ball Beach, where hundreds of strangely round rocks are exposed at low tide.

Getting out and about is a must on Mendocino County holidays, and there are dozens of ways to do so. Hiking trails snake all along the coast, through the redwood forests and along the river valleys, making for perfect walking and wildlife-spotting territory. There's also great sea and river kayaking, where you'll share the water with otters and seals, plus rafting on the Big and Noyo rivers, and whale-spotting trips. And if you're a rod and reel fan, there's fantastic fishing for largemouth bass on Lake Mendocino.

Solitude isn't hard to find in Mendocino County, but if you want more company, head to the bookstores, antiques shops, and boutiques of rustic Fort Bragg - or to the galleries and restaurants of arty Mendocino, with its New England feel. One thing's for certain: wherever you find yourself on Mendocino County holidays, you're sure of a good time.

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The Skunk Train

Ride 40 miles of railroad through magnificent redwood forests, past scenic mountain meadows, along deep river valleys and over 30 trestle bridges deep into the back country. The steam-powered Skunk Train follows the traditional route used to carry lumber from the woods to the Mendocino sawmills, and the views from its open carriages are sublime.

Point Arena-Stornetta

Just north of Point Arena, with its iconic lighthouse marking the most westerly point in the Lower 48, the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands is the USA's newest National Monument. Designated in 2014, it's a 12-mile stretch of beautifully rugged Pacific coastline, with bluffs, beaches, dunes and off-shore islands - perfect for hiking, picnics and wildlife-spotting.

Drink and Be Merry

There are over 100 wineries in Mendocino County, mostly clustered in Anderson Valley. Wind your way along scenic byways, stopping to sample superb Pinot Noirs, sparkling wines and Alsace varietals - or if beer is more your thing, head to the Anderson Valley Brewing Company instead.

A Walk in the Woods

A stroll amongst giant coastal redwood trees is a must on Mendocino County holidays. These are the tallest trees on the planet, towering up to 350ft, and the biggest of them all was at Montgomery Woods - until its top was blown off by lightning! For an experience at the other end of the scale visit the Pygmy Forest in Van Damme State Park, where the trees and shrubs are bizarrely stunted.


This fabulous seaside gem with its wooden buildings, cluster of galleries and superb botanical gardens complete with ocean views is not to be missed. Browse boutique shops or grab a tasty bite to eat before heading to the Mendocino Headlands State Park for a spectacular stroll past rocky sea arches, dramatic sink holes and hidden grottoes.


Fly Drive Holiday: North Coast and Shasta Cascade

San Francisco – Mendocino – Eureka – Redding – Santa Rosa

This fly drive itinerary takes you off the beaten trail to the undiscovered gems of Northern California. Start in the City by the Bay, a vibrant metropolis of mists, hill views and fantastic nightlife. Then it’s time to hit the open road and discover the wild, rugged coastline, arty seaside villages and grand redwood trees that make up the North Coast. Sample local food and home-grown wineries, explore the wilderness of the Redwood National Parks and be blown away by the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. Remember, this is just a suggested itinerary - you can tailor-make any aspect of your trip.
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Fly Drive Holiday: Seattle to Napa Valley

Seattle – Port Angeles (Olympic National Park) – Ashford - Portland – Newport – Coos Bay – Grants Pass (Crater Lake) – Eureka - Ukiah - Napa

Hit the open road and take a fantastic drive from buzzing Seattle to the vineyards of Napa Valley on this spectacularly scenic Northern California fly drive itinerary. Along the way you’ll get to see natural wonders including the rainforests of the Olympic National Park, the towering redwoods of Humboldt County and the Pacific surf along Highway 1. Your holiday starts with a flight into the coastal seaport of Seattle with its impressive music pedigree and world famous café culture. From here, pick up your hire car and head south, from the peaks of the Cascade Range to the brooding volcano of Mount St. Helens, the deserted beaches of Redwood National Park and the deep blue hues of Crater Lake. After some time in wine and foodie heaven Napa, it’s time to drive to San Francisco for a flight back to London.
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Time Difference:
GMT- 8hours

Closest Airport:
San Francisco International Airport (approx. 11 hours)

Getting around:
Hire a car and explore the surrounding areas. Check out the great selection of dining options, attractions and local excursions available. Care hire is available from £19 per day.

Insider Tip:
Pay a visit to the Kelley House Museum, where you’ll be taken back in time to the booming lumber era of the Mendocino Coast. Every Saturday and Sunday, you can take a guided tour of the surrounding Mendocino National Historic District.

You're going to need an ESTA:
For anyone travelling to the USA, the US authorities have imposed a requirement for passengers travelling under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP), to register for Electronic Travel Authority. Just fill in the online application form which you can find at You will need to apply for entry via ESTA at least a minimum of 72 hours prior to travel.

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