Coasting on the Mendocino Coast

We love the Northern California coast and May is the time we love it the most. The sun is shining, wildflowers are blooming, and we're relaxing.

Coasting on the Mendocino Coast

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by davilin88 on May 26, 2007

We've been visiting this part of the California coast for many years now and, while there have been many changes to the town of Ft. Bragg, the coast itself is timeless. Small stretches of secluded beach are great places to kick back and watch the waves pound the offshore rocks, and trails lead along bluffs overlooking the ocean. The towns of Ft. Bragg and Mendocino are full of great shops and restaurants, and lodging ranges from upscale B&Bs to funky little beach motels.
This May, we had near-perfect spring weather for our trip, with early morning fog giving way to sunny, breezy afternoons. Rhododendrons and other flowers were in their full glory, and the sea air invigorated.
While in the area, don't miss Mendocino Headlands State Park, Mendocino Botanical Gardens, Point Cabrillo Light Station, Glass Beach, or McKerricker Beach State Park.${QuickSuggestions} If you are driving from San Francisco, the fastest way is up US-101 to Ukiah and then over through Anderson Valley to the Pacific Coast Highway. But if you have time to burn, you may want to make a two-day drive of it and come up the PCH all the way from just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. In spring, the wildflowers will amaze you as the highway twists and turns along cliffs dropping off to the sea. A good place to spend the night is Point Arena where there are several motels, restaurants and the Point Arena Lighthouse.${BestWay} By car. That's about the only way.

Hi-Sea Inn

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by davilin88 on May 26, 2007

Located just north of Pudding Creek on the outskirts of Ft. Bragg, between Highway 1 and the ocean is a small, single-story, rustic motel that looks like a slice of 1950s beach life. The rooms are small with a TV, mini fridge, and coffee maker. There is one with a king size bed, the rest have one or two queens. They all have an ocean view and a sliding glass door that lets out on the common deck. You are bound to meet your neighbors out there and many of them will be regulars who return to stay here as often as possible. While it's not much, the Hi-Sea has a loyal following. We count ourselves among them. From the deck, it is a short walk to the bluffs overlooking a series of small beaches, tide pools and incredible rugged coastline.
In May, the prices range from $89-$109 and the place is full most weekends. Dogs are welcome, and if you sit out on the deck, you will probably meet several, along with their owners. This is definitely a place for people who like to meet people.
This year, there was a new couple managing the place and, like the managers before them, they were very friendly and helpful. They had recently given all the rooms a fresh coat of paint and were otherwise busy sprucing up for the season. As long as Hi-Sea stays around, we'll keep coming back.

Sadly, in june 2007, a fire destroyed much of the Hi-Sea Inn and they will not be reopening. We will greatly miss it.
Hi-Sea Inn
1201 N. Main St.
Fort Bragg, California, 95437
(800) 990-7327

Point Cabrillo Light Station

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by davilin88 on June 1, 2007

Looking more like an old, one-room schoolhouse, the lighthouse sits near the cliffs overlooking the rocky coast of Mendocino County, between Ft. Bragg and Mendocino. After decades of neglect, the lighthouse is fully restored with a working Fresnel lens and a gift shop and displays from area shipwrecks which led to the commissioning of the light. The keeper's cottage has been converted into the Lighthouse Inn Bed and Breakfast and work continues on other buildings on the property. Guests at the inn or people with handicap stickers may drive down to about 100 yards from the lighthouse. Otherwise, it is a 1/2 mile walk from the parking lot, through fields of wildflowers, and with the barking of sea lions to keep pace, it is a very pleasant walk, though returning to the parking area is a steep climb. Around the lighthouse, the view of offshore rocks and wave-carved coast is spectacular, with areas to each side where the waves have carved deeply into the land creating deep grottoes. During whale migration season—November to April—this is a great spot to see grey whales on their way to and from Baja California.
Point Cabrillo Light Station
13800 Point Cabrillo Drive
Ft. Bragg, 95460
(707) 937-6123

© LP 2000-2009