Mendocino, California, located 155 miles north of San Francisco, is a windswept, coastal beauty. This once bustling logging town—thanks to neighboring redwood forests—is now a thriving arts community with a rugged coastline and stunning views.

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The bluffs that run along the edge of town are part of the Mendocino Headlands State Park, consisting of almost 350 acres of meandering footpaths, pristine beaches, and quiet coves.

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Smuggler’s Cove

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Mendocino Headlands State Park

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Mendocino Headlands State Park

Just north of Mendocino you’ll find the Mendocino County Botanical Gardens. This “Garden by the Sea,” is the only public garden in the Continental United States with an ocean view. Known for its tender species rhododendrons, the garden is also home to more than 150 species of birds.

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Mendocino County Botanical Gardens

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Mendocino County Botanical Gardens

If you’re a lighthouse lover, check out the Point Cabrillo and Point Arena Lighthouses. The Point Cabrillo Light is surrounded by 300 acres of gentle grassland trails with beautiful bluff views. Part of the California Coastal Trail, these trails connect the light station to the Casper Headlands State Beach just one mile to the north.

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Point Cabrillo Lighthouse

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Point Arena Lighthouse

The Point Arena Light is not only perfectly situated on a high bluff (on the closest point of land to the Hawaiian Islands in the Continental United States), but it is also the tallest of the Pacific Coast lighthouses, standing 115 feet.

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Mendocino’s cool maritime climate means you might wake up in a blanket of fog. But once the fog lifts, you’ll discover a natural, windblown beauty whose charm and serenity won’t disappoint.