Angel Castellanos is a freelance travel journalist, TV Host and media personality. His intrepid adventures, love of people, and savvy travel advice have made Angel one of the premiere travel experts. Follow his journey at AngelsTravelLounge.com
The big buzzword in travel is social distancing. As the international travel industry continues to adapt to our changing world during the COVID19 pandemic, we can agree that one safe bet for American travelers is to explore our own beautiful country. If there is any summer to take a classic road trip, the summer of 2020 is the ideal time for travelers to hit the open road to discover the majestic beauty of America. The State of California is blessed with an epic coastline, natural parks, beaches and wine country. It's also has undiscovered gems like Mendocino County. For anyone looking to explore the California Coast and escape crowds, a visit to Mendocino County should move to the top of the list.
How to Get To Mendocino CountyFlying
You can fly into SFO or OAK if you plan on spending time in San Francisco or the Bay Area. My suggestions is to fly into Sonoma County Airport (STS) in Santa Rosa. This gets you much closer to Mendocino and in the heart of the Wine Country.Renting Car
Hiring a car is honestly essential to explore Mendocino. Part of the experience is taking the time to wander, drive along the coast and stop along the way. Getting from STS, SFO or OAK is easiest done with your own car.
Wine Tasting in Mendocino County
I know Sonoma and Napa get the big wine tasting accolades. But, there is excellent wine all over California and especially in Mendocino. I recommend that you wine taste and pick up some wine from the airport to have in your hotel. I stopped at Maple Creek Winery - ArteVino in the Anderson Valley off of Hwy 128. Be sure to stop by this hidden this hidden gem and say hello to the owner Tom for me.
Epic Drives Along the Coast
This part of the California Coast puts on a show for any visitor. Mendocino California is dramatic with lots of secret coves and beaches. There are plenty of places to admire the high cliffs and stunning scenery. The combination of the rough ocean waves and surrounding greenery often reminds me of Ireland or Southern England. The weather in Mendocino is different depending on the time of year. It can be foggy, sunny, or even rainy depending on the time of year.
Take a Ride on the Skunk Train
For families, kids at heart or anyone who loves trains, do not miss taking a ride on the skunk train. It's a nice gentle ride thru the redwoods right along the Noyo River that makes California history come to life. There's some fun entertainment. The train takes off from Fort Bragg and slowly chugs it's way thru majestic California scenery for an hour. Don't forget to visit the free train museum before or after your ride. I recommend booking tickets in advance.
Where to Stay & Eat in Mendocino County
The Brewery Gulch Inn is an upscale B & B with a California modern vibe. The recently renovated inn and full room and board options, means you get a lot of bang for the buck. Both breakfast and dinner here are top notch offering higher end cuisine. I loved getting cozy by the fireplace and getting some work done. My room had a ridiculous view of the ocean at any time of day. This place is perfect for honeymooners and couples looking for a sophisticated yet quiet getaway in a hidden gem in California.
This is a classic family owned traditional inn that has been in operation since 1939. At Little River Inn, there is a warmth and a familiarity that spreads to every aspect of the property. It's not only located right across the street from the ocean, but there is a golf course adjacent too. The Little River Inn restaurant is busy so be sure to book in advance.
There is no shortage of great food in Mendocino. If you are looking for a place to eat in Mendocino look no further than the North Coast Brewery Tap Room in Fort Bragg. I would eat both lunch and dinner at North Coast Brewery if I could! It's across the street from the Skunk Train terminal in Fort Bragg. The fish and chips I had for lunch were spot on. Be sure to order the beer float for desert.