Located 170 miles northwest of Burlingame and just 9.5 miles south of Fort Bragg is Mendocino. This small city offers breathtaking views of the Pacific, towering Redwood trees, coastal villages and some of the finest wineries in Northern California. Mendocino day trips from Burlingame are a great idea for a family who wants to see more of the surrounding area. It takes about three hours to drive from Burlingame, California to Mendocino. Enjoy the drive and cruise along the dramatic coastline where you can admire the colossal trees of the Redwood Forest.
There are several festivals and historical sites for your family to enjoy in Mendocino. The Mendocino Art Center has been operating since 1959 and offers more than 200 retreat-style art classes every year in sculpting, jewelry, ceramics and other mediums. Local and national artists feature their work in monthly exhibitions in a retreat-like setting. This art center is located at 45200 Little Lake Street at Kasten Street in Mendocino.
Currently operating as a house of worship, the historical Temple of Kwan Tai has a clear mission of spreading awareness to the Mendocino community about contributions by Chinese people to California’s rich history. The temple has documented records that date back to 1883, although many believe that the temple has been around since 1854. Most of the Chinese temples in California have been destroyed, and this is last temple to remain on California’s North Coast. The Temple of Kwan Tai is located at 45160 Albion Street in Mendocino. You can also venture over to 44831 Main Street in Mendocino to take a look at the impressive Mendocino Presbyterian Church, which was built in 1859. It is one of the oldest Protestant churches in California that still operates today.
Less than a mile away from the Mendocino Headlands State Park is the little known Mendocino Bay Overlook. This stunning location, south of the Big River, offers a marvelous view of the entire coastal village of Mendocino. You can find the Mendocino Bay Overlook off of Road 500B/Brewery Gulch Drive immediately south of Mendocino (it’s on the southern end of Big River Bridge and across from the main entrance to Comptche-Ukiah Road).
Mendocino has many local signature foods such as mushrooms, abalone, crab and salmon. The Café Beaujolais, at 961 Ukiah Street, is a top-rated French restaurant, ideal for a romantic meal with your sweetheart. Take your kids to the Eco-Lodge at the Stanford Inn by the Sea, at 44850 Comptche Ukia Road. Although a bed and breakfast, the on-site restaurant is open to the public and is extremely family friendly. It offers an extensive menu with several American classics and comfort food as well as a vegan menu that many locals say is the best plant-based food around. There are also 10 different wine regions in Mendocino County, offering world class and innovative wines. You can view the complete list of wineries here.
If you’re traveling with your family during December, there are several Mendocino activities and events you don’t want to miss! Get the entire family dressed in pajamas and delight your kids by taking them on a real Christmas Train Ride on Fort Bragg’s famous Skunk Train, which offers 90-minute trips throughout December complete with Santa’s Elves, holiday music, cocoa and cookies. There are three Whale Festivals that take place the first three weekends in March, the first weekend is in Mendocino. This festival includes wine tasting at several vineyards, a Chowder Tasting, an art exhibit featuring wildlife at the Mendocino Art Center and a Plein-air Artist Display where you can observe artists at work. The Mendocino Film Festival takes place in late May to early June, and the Mendocino Music Festival takes place every July for two weeks at the Tent Concert Hall, which is assembled on the gorgeous Mendocino Headlands. Every Friday, May through November, the Mendocino County Farmers Market takes place on Howard Street. It brings locally grown produce, handcrafted goods, music and activities to local residents and visitors.