Heads Up, Headlands!
Hiking Along the Mendocino Headlands State Park
There’s one thing that’s pretty much mandatory when you visit Mendocino and that’s a hike along the famous bluffs. The trail system at Mendocino Headlands State Park is vast, surrounding the village and meandering for miles, with sweeping sea panoramas and dramatic coastline featuring enclaves, sea castles, and caves in among the waves and the turquoise coves favored by seals.
Wildflowers and wild succulents still cling cliffside here, adding natural color and décor. Trails leave right from town and curve along the coastal bluffs, leading to a blowhole, and utterly photogenic views, including at sunset when the waves are tinged as a tangerine oasis and the hamlet is tinted in indigo light. Spring Ranch at Van Damme State Park offers even more expansive headlands on trails less traveled, passing rocky outcroppings and exposed elements (be cautious). Tidepools below add extra beauty. Head for the headlands!
EAT: Luna Trattoria is a favorite, with fresh handmade pasta spun into dishes like penne al Sangiovese and enhanced by favorites like bruschetta classic and caprese. For lunch, Trillium has a nice outdoor patio and tasty options like local rock cod fish tacos and a caramelized onion grilled cheese sandwich. Wash it down with the St. Germain cocktail of sparkling wine and elderflower liqueur.
BONUS WINE TASTING: On your way to or from Mendocino from the Bay Area combine something old and something new in Anderson Valley wine tasting. Navarro Vineyards & Winery has been producing wines in the region since 1974, specializing in white wines like Gewurztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc. Sit in one of the Adirondack chairs overlooking the vineyard and enjoy a tasting ($10 fee as tastings are currently outdoors only and with table service—it’s worth it!).
New to the scene: Among old-growth redwoods set back from the highway, Twomey is a great place to kick back with some Pinot Noir. Book a seasonal patio tasting, and maybe splurge for the Wine Country Provisions box, a hearty selection of artisan cheese, salami, olives, crackers, nuts, and chocolates. Pinots, Sauvignons, even Cabs from their sister winery, Silver Oak, are tasting options.
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