Posted by Sean Thompson

Off-The-Beaten-Path in Northern California

More than 3.6 million people visit San Francisco each year; another three million savor the wonders of Napa Valley annually. However, if you’re looking to enjoy the beauty and bounty of northern California without all of the traffic, head past San Francisco and Napa this year and make Mendocino and California’s redwood country your destination.


Mendocino, located about two-and-a-half hours north of San Francisco along the Pacific coast, is home to less than 1,000 residents. However, the town delivers a winning combination of natural beauty, interesting architecture, wine and art galleries. In fact, the entire town has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1971 and the Mendocino Art Center, a mecca for artists in a variety of media, dates back to the 1950s.


The beauty of Mendocino’s natural setting has to top the list of things to see and do. The little town is nestled between the rugged Pacific coast with its scenic bluffs and dramatic rock formations and the redwood forests of north-central California. In addition, the town boasts dozens of Victorian mansions, many of which house restaurants, coffee shops, art galleries and bed and breakfast inns.

Art is an integral part of any visit to Mendocino. In addition to the Art Center, where visitors can watch artists create paintings, pottery, fabric art and art glass, the town has more than two dozen art galleries, featuring items created by local and regional artists. Just outside of town, there are more than 50 wineries. In fact, Mendocino is a registered California wine appellation.  Each July, the area hosts the Mendocino Music Festival, a two-week celebration of classical and other music genres.

Food enthusiasts will find plenty to interest them in Mendocino. There are coffee shops, farmers’ markets, cafes and elegant fine dining restaurants, many of which are houses in restored Victorian homes.


Mendocino is a relaxed destination. Still, you’ll want to take clothes that easily transition from hiking in the woods or exploring the dunes during the day to dining in a cozy, candlelit restaurant by the sea at night. Our Air Strip shirts or Dry fly light shirts make this switch from day to night well. For hiking in the redwood forest, be sure to pack some quality socks with high-density cushioning on the foot bottom. We can help you with socks, too.