Catch a Canoe
Although located on the North Coast of California, Mendocino looks more like a New England fishing village along the Pacific Ocean. The town of 1200 people on a rocky bluff of the Pacific was founded in 1852 by settlers from New England and the town has retained that New England look. Previously serving as a fishing village today Mendocino has a large number of artists, B&Bs and crafters. The more commercial fishing operations have moved to Fort Bragg fifteen minutes up the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1). Tourism is a major industry in Mendocino which is a three hour drive from San Francisco and Sacramento and four hours from San Jose. Many people arrive at Mendocino by car while driving the scenic and winding Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1).
Mendocino is the tourist center of the region, although you will find Fort Bragg an interesting destination as well. There are a number of especially dog-friendly hotels and B&Bs in Mendocino. Stanford Inn is nestled on a hillside with its own organic gardens, a dog-friendly organic patio restaurant called the Raven and pet-friendly room packages. Little River Inn offers pet-friendly lodging and breakfast and dinner in Ole's Whale Watch Bar. The Cottages at Little River Cove offers pet beds, treats and a "Pet Package". And the Inn at Schoolhouse Creek offers 8 acres of ocean view comfort for you and your pet. Smaller B&Bs include MacCallum House, Mendocino Seaside Cottages and for people looking for pet-friendly vacation rentals there is Mendocino Preferred Vacation Rentals. In Fort Bragg there is The Rendezvous Inn and Restaurant, Tradewinds Lodge and the Emerald Dolphin Inn & Mini Golf, which offers a special dog package known as the "Dyno Doggie Bag".
People who arrive with dogs via Motorhome or Travel Trailer can stay at Casper Beach RV Park and Campground in Mendocino or Pomo RV Park and Campground in Fort Bragg. Fort Bragg's Dolphin Isle Marina offers 85 full hookup sites, access to the marina and the Noyo River and a deli with outdoor patio dining for you and your dog. If you are tent camping try Van Damme State Park in Little River or Navarro River Redwoods State Park.
While in Mendocino you can find a number of dog-friendly attractions. You can canoe with your dog at Catch a Canoe Rentals next to Stanford Inn in Mendocino. The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is pet-friendly and you can walk your leashed dog through the only botanical garden in the U.S. directly on the ocean. Dogs are allowed on some of the boat tours by Fort Bragg's charter fleets, which offer sightseeing, fishing and individual charters. However, what most visitors with or without dogs do in Mendocino is browse the quaint maritime town. You can walk the streets and visit the art galleries, shops, and stores. Along the scenic Pacific Bluff there are small and level trails between the town and the ocean. There are a number of very dog-friendly restaurants for you to dine at in town and most of the town is dog-friendly. For great burgers try Mendo Burgers.For great all around organic dining in a pleasant setting there is the Mendocino Cafe. The Raven Restaurant at the Stanford Inn is a bit out of town but serves organic food on it's dog-friendly outdoor patio. In Fort Bragg for seafood visit Silver's at the Wharf.
For beach access with a dog there are a number of choices. For an off-leash beach visit Noyo Beach Off-leash Dog Beach in Fort Bragg. Leashed dogs can visit Caspar Beach for miles north of Mendocino, Big River Beach just south of Mendocino and Van Damme State Beach 2 miles south of town.
When on the North Coast of California you may also consider visiting the Redwood National and State Parks region and the Trees of Mystery, a very dog-friendly attraction. Also, you may want to drive the Avenue of the Giants. If driving the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco there a many interesting stops including Bodega Bay , Point Reyes National Seashore and Muir Beach. For other sights in that area, see the DogFriendly.com guide to Marin County and the North Bay.