This past weekend, I explored a coastal Californian town for the first time. One of the least talked about NorCal towns, I wanted to put together a guide for other first timers so that you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the beauty of this cozy little hippie town.
Where is Fort Bragg, California?
Fort Bragg is part of Mendocino County, about 3 hours north of San Francisco.
Why should I visit?
Fort Bragg is a quaint, coastal town in the middle of Mendocino County. This means gorgeous coastal regions, and incredible forests. You haven’t truly experienced Northern California until you’ve been to the coastal redwoods. Here’s your chance! Beyond that, Fort Bragg boasts delicious food, fun activities, and cute bed and breakfasts for a fun getaway.
Where Should I Stay?
There are many wonderful places to stay in Fort Bragg. Whether you opt for a beautiful coastal hotel, or a quaint bed and breakfast, you can’t go wrong.
If you’re looking for a hotel, try either the Little River Inn, or the North Cliff Hotel. Both are a little pricier, but so worth it (private hot tub, HELLO). We also saw some cottages at Point Cabrillo, and they look darling.
Trying to save some money? Go the Airbnb/ Bed & Breakfast Route. Keep in mind, this is a place where you will actually want to stay in a cozy little shack. So don’t be deterred!
We stayed in two Airbnbs (John forgot to book only one for our whole stay, so we got to experience two different ones!). Our first night, we definitely experienced a more ‘roughing it’ vibe. Let’s call this glamping! We stayed on a beautiful farm-like property with many little nooks to explore. It was rainy, cozy, and muddy! We warmed up in the main farmhouse, and retired to our little shanty to sleep. It was tiny, but warm (which was all that really mattered).
The next day, we moved to a much larger space that was in town. This was an amazing location, because we could walk to most of the restaurants and shops. Plus, this room was divine. Although we found it on Airbnb, it did have a very Bed & Breakfast feel (minus the breakfast). We loved the fireplace and the large, cozy bed. Would totally stay here again, and you should too!
Most places in this area are dog friendly, so bring the pooch!
Where Should I Eat?
Perhaps most important are the meals, duhh! We had some amazing food on this trip, all booked by John (thanks babe!).
For breakfast, you HAVE to eat at Eggheads. This tiny restaurant is Wizard of Oz themed, and has an incredible amount of yummy egg dishes. You 10000% must try one of their three hollandaise sauces, which they make from scratch in the kitchen (regular, champagne, and tequila lime A MUST). If you are a crab lover, they also offer quite a few egg dishes with fresh, real crab. Not an egg lover? There’s also an amazing menu of non-egg dishes. Something for everyone!
For our nicer dinners, we went down to Mendocino. We found the cutest dinner spot, called Ledford House, right on the bluffs. They have live jazz every night, and the decor is amazzzze!
One of my other faves in Fort Bragg proper, was Headlands Coffee shop. We stopped in for a quick snack, and enjoyed some great company and fun live music! I tried one of their fresh fruit smoothies, which was delish. Go for it, you won’t regret it!
What Should I Do?
Be prepared to get outside and adventure. This area is so incredibly beautiful, you won’t want to stay inside!
Glass Beach– This is an absolute MUST if you are visiting this area, and it’s definitely what Fort Bragg is known for. This gorgeous beach was once a dumping ground for tons of trash, but the sea turned the trash into beautiful sea glass. The beach is now covered in sea glass, and it’s quite a site to see. Plus, this beach is situated at the base of MacKerricher State Park, so there’s even more than just the beach to explore. We loved the beautiful views and the tide pools!
Point Cabrillo Light House– One of the most beautiful light houses I have ever seen. Seriously. Only a half mile walk down the road (there is parking at the end for handicap!), you will stumble upon the lighthouse situated on the bluffs. We saw whales here, enjoyed running around with the pups, and got a bit of exercise as well. A fun place, even for the locals who just want to take a nice walk.
MacKerricher State Park– Check out this beautiful state park, just 5 minutes north of Glass Beach! They have a boardwalk that takes you around the bluffs. A gorgeous view and a super easy walk.
Shopping- Both Mendocino and Fort Bragg have some cute shops, not to miss! Each town has a little garden shop that we enjoyed (I’m crazy about garden shops and can’t NOT go in). Explore the shops around these areas (hard to miss). I found some cute and pretty inexpensive pieces.
A Little Extra…
Driving to Fort Bragg? (I hope you are… It would be hard to get around without a car!). Just off of Highway 128 is Anderson Valley, the unknown Napa, as I like to call it. Off of this road, you will find TONS of wineries. We had no idea that this was such a fun wine area (which is crazy because we love wine helloooo). Skip touristy Napa and go winery hopping in Anderson Valley! We absolutely loved Toulouse Winery. The views are amazing, but the wine is even better. Plus, tasting are very inexpensive here ($5-$10 pp). Plan a stop on the way to or from Fort Bragg and enjoy!
Enjoy your trip!!