FORT BRAGG, CA
DIVE INTO NATURE!
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT
For exploring the redwoods, bluffs, beaches, and coves of Northern California’s rugged Mendocino Coast, Fort Bragg (pop. 7,300) is a perfect, local-flavor base camp. Head to Mackerricher State Park to look for starfish and anemones at low tide and to watch for harbor seals (yearround) and gray whales (December to April). Don’t miss Glass Beach—a natural marvel of sparkling colors, thanks to the erosion of glass bottles that were dumped into the ocean decades ago. Try a bike ride on the Coastal Trail, which traverses the early-1900s Pudding Creek Trestle Bridge, or ride horses surfside with local favorite Ricochet Ranch.
For a kid-friendly snapshot of Fort Bragg’s lumber, fishing, and railroading past, check out the miniature-train displays at Mendocino Coast Model Railroad and Historical Society.
EAT & SLEEP
At Cowlick’s on Main Street, scoops are made in small batches with local ingredients. (Take a leap and try the Mushroom, which scores rave reviews). The bungalow-style Shoreline Cottages have family suites that sleep up to four, plus you can walk to the beach; rates start at $149 a night.
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The beaches are great for wading but too cold for swimming without wet suits.