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Surrounded by crashing surf, rugged cliffs and coves, and old-growth redwoods, Mendocino is quintessential Northern California. Recreation is just a stone’s throw away, whether paddling in the Big River Estuary Marine Conservation Area or ambling around Mendocino Headlands State Park. But the cozy town itself is the real charmer, with art galleries, historical museums, and fine eateries—from modest bakeries to fine-dining trattorias—clustering roughly four unpretentious square blocks.

Read the latest Mendocino travel guides, trip ideas, and articles from Viator’s travel insiders, a community of writers and locals who’ve been all over the world to help travelers find and experience the best things to see and do.