Amazing Mendocino Hotels for Your Next NorCal Getaway

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Beach at the Elk Cove Inn in Mendocino
Beach at the Elk Cove Inn. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

High above the windswept beaches along the Northern California coast, the beautiful town of Mendocino awaits. Located just three hours north of San Francisco, Mendocino is just right for a weekend getaway on a Pacific Coast Highway road trip. Luckily, there are some amazing Mendocino hotels to make your stay extra special.

Rather than huge resorts, the region is speckled with some of the best hotels, bed and breakfasts, coastal inns and campsites you’ll find anywhere. (And yes, there are plenty of chain hotels in the area, too!) No matter your budget, there’s a perfect spot to call home base while you explore all the fun things to do in Mendocino.

Whether you want to sleep at a farm, camp among the redwoods or relax in luxury at an oceanfront inn, this guide will help you find the right Mendocino hotel.

Incredible view from the aptly name Wavewatchers Room at the Elk Cove Inn in Elk, California.
Incredible view from the aptly named Wavewatcher Room at the Elk Cove Inn in Elk, California. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

Elk Cove Inn

Co-owned by food and wine dream team, sommelier Melissa and Chef Victor Passalacqua, Elk Cove Inn is a gorgeous respite overlooking the jagged Pacific Ocean coastline. It’s between two points, literally: a 30-minute drive north to Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park or 30 minutes south to Point Arena Lighthouse.

In other words, Elk Cove Inn is quiet (except for the sound of the crashing waves). A colorful and bountiful garden leads to the main office and restaurant and there are more gardens, a greenhouse and a mini farm next door.

Uniquely, the rooms have names, not numbers. Over the past couple of years, Melissa and Victor have thoughtfully updated all of the suites and rooms. Our room, Wavewatcher, is a gorgeous, spacious carriage house retreat overlooking the gazebo and the ocean.

We woke and slept to the sound of crashing waves. It was a short hike from our room to the beach to check out the sea caves and driftwood.

Mendocino Little River Inn Exterior
Unwind at the Little River Inn. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

Little River Inn

Family-owned and operated for more than 80 years, Little River Inn extends its family-friendly hospitality to guests. With options for every budget and sweeping ocean views, it’s an ideal place to rejuvenate and play 9 holes of golf (18 if you do two loops).

Ocean sounds and views are 24/7 from our cabin, which is next to the steps that lead to the Little River Inn restaurant garden.

As soon as we arrived, we flipped on the electric cast iron stove and opened the blinds to marvel at the view. There was no need for the smart TV.

The wet bar kitchenette has a small fridge with plenty of space for leftovers and wine glasses for the haul from Anderson Valley wineries. A large stained glass window is illuminated by a switch on the wall in the bathroom, giving it a golden glow.

Playing golf at the Little River Inn in Mendocino
Little River Inn Golf in Mendocino. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

Things to do Near Little River Inn

Little River Golf Course is the only course for at least 60 miles in any direction. It’s a casual atmosphere, with plenty of golf carts and clubs for rent. The course is hilly (you will get a workout if you carry the clubs) and the greens are rough.

But it was just the golf fix my husband needed to get into vacation mode. He played 18 holes and I drove the cart. We had a great day soaking up the spectacular views and even made some new friends along the way. Tee times fill up so reservations are recommended.

Hiking is abundant in Mendocino County, and Little River Inn is one of the best hotels for being close to nature. Walk out the front door of Little River Inn and you find a short trail to Van Damme State Park. Follow the ferns to the Fern Canyon Trail, an excellent place for hiking and biking.

We saw lots of people kayaking to the sea caves from the beach across the street, as well.

Heritage House Resort and Spa

The Heritage House on Hwy 1 in Little River puts you in the front row for ocean views.

Accommodations include standard hotel rooms, suites and vacation rentals. For larger families, the Redwood house with 3 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, an open kitchen with a cozy nook, living room with fireplace, and a private outdoor dining area provides plenty of space.

Mendocino Hotel & Garden Suites
The historic Mendocino Hotel & Garden Suites is located right in the village. Photo credit: Mendocino Hotel & Garden Suites

Mendocino Hotel & Garden Suites

Mendocino Hotel & Garden Suites is a full-service hotel overlooking the Mendocino Bay and the Mendocino Headlands. It is walking distance to all the great restaurants, museums and things to do in Mendocino Village.

Established in 1878, the Mendocino Hotel and Garden Suites provides a unique setting and lovely amenities, including two on-site restaurants. There are a variety of guest room types available, including ocean view rooms, Victorian rooms and garden suites.

Brewery Gulch Inn Mendocino Hotel
An aerial view of Brewery Gulch Inn. Photo credit: Brewery Gulch Inn

Brewery Gulch Inn

Perched high on a bluff top overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Brewery Gulch Inn reigns cathedral-like over the dramatic coast. Constructed in 2001 from 150-year old redwood reclaimed from the nearby Big River, the 10 guest rooms – many with a private deck and two-person hot tub – all look out over picture-perfect views of Smuggler’s Cove.

Included with each stay at the Brewery Gulch Inn is a daily cooked-to-order breakfast, and an evening Wine Hour.

Noyo Harbor Inn Mendocino
Oudoor dining overlooking the marina at Noyo Harbor Inn. Photo credit: Noyo Harbor Inn

Noyo Harbor Inn

The Noyo Harbor Inn  a hilltop property dating back to 1868, has updated guest rooms throughout, providing spacious comfort while retaining some of the exquisite features left by the Norwegian shipbuilders who embellished the inn. The artisans who came after them added their own exceptional and individual craftsman-style touches to the elegantly appointed common areas and rooms, many of which feature fireplaces, soaking tubs and private balconies.

The hotel is also home to the on-site restaurant HarborView Bistro and Bar, a wonderful place to enjoy coastal inn cuisine in Mendocino. The restaurant’s patio offers phenomenal views over the Noyo River’s bustling port, all the way out to the Pacific Ocean.

Mendocino hotels - McCallum Lodge House
View of MacCallum House. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

MacCallum House

MacCallum House is a boutique hotel located in the heart of Mendocino Village. It is one of the oldest buildings in Mendocino, a historic Victorian home.

Surrounded by lush gardens, the hotel offers Main House rooms, suites, cottages and barn rooms, making it a truly unique place to stay in Mendocino. Many of these options include fireplaces, hot tubs, ocean view rooms and more. There is also an exceptional restaurant featuring farm-to-table seasonal dishes on-site.

Catch A Canoe & Bicycles Too at the Stanford Inn
Rent redwood canoes or kayaks at Catch A Canoe & Bicycles Too at the Stanford Inn. Photo credit: The Stanford Inn

The Stanford Inn

Nestled on a coastal hillside, the Stanford Inn & Resort overlooks Mendocino Bay and the resort’s farm.

The hotel has a pool, hot tub and sauna, and offers a variety of activities including gardening classes, cooking classes, yoga classes and complimentary mountain bikes. You can rent redwood canoes or kayaks at Catch A Canoe & Bicycles Too, on-site at the hotel in a small cove on Big River Estuary.

A chef-prepared organic plant-based breakfast is included with your stay.

The Stanford Inn is home Ravens Restaurant, one of the best restaurants in Mendocino. This award-winning restaurant serves vegan cuisine inspired by its own farm.

Stay in a cabin overlooking the sea. Photo credit: Agate Cove Inn

Agate Cove Inn

Overlooking the jagged shores of the Pacific Ocean, the Agate Cove Inn is a charming Mendocino bed and breakfast set on two acres of beautiful gardens. Flagstone pathways meander around the seaside cottages, providing the perfect setting for a peaceful Mendocino getaway.

A stay at the Agate Cove Inn includes a daily gourmet breakfast. Featuring a seasonal menu as well as freshly brewed coffee, an assortment of fine teas, fresh juices and hot chocolate, breakfast is served in a room with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the water.

Oz Farm in Mendocino
Stay “off the grid” at Oz Farm on the Mendocino Coast. Photo credit: Oz Farm/Nikolas Zvolensky Photography

Sleep at a Farm

Tucked away in a private valley along the coast, Oz Farm offers a unique sustainable working farm and retreat combination for families.

There are nine lodging options including cabins, yurts and domes. This double-dome geodesic structure provides a living space, fully equipped kitchen, five double beds and a wraparound deck.

Hendy Woods State Park
Camp and hike among the redwood trees at Hendy Woods State Park. Photo credit: Visit Mendocino County

Camp at a State Park

The Mendocino coast is home to a number of beautiful state parks, offering numerous options for hiking, biking, bird watching and more.  With so many fun things to do in the great outdoors along the California North Coast, why not expand outside time by camping?

Here are some great options for camping on the Mendocino Coast.

Tent camping at Van Damme State Park in Mendocino California
Tent camping is popular at Van Damme State Park in Mendocino Coounty. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

Van Damme State Park

Van Damme State Park has numerous year-round drive-in campsites for RVs and tents.

The park also has an abundance of hiking trails, including one winds through the 100-year-old pygmy forest. Supporting the knee-high trees in the pygmy forest is the ecological staircase in Jug Handle State Natural Reserve.

Mackerricher State Park

Mackerricher State Park is located just three miles north of Fort Bragg. With headlands, beach, bluff, dunes and forest, there’s a variety of habitats and the possibility of spotting seals on the rocky shoreline.

Russian Gulch State Park

Russian Gulch State Park offers a mix of coastal and forest hikes spanning 15 miles just steps from the campsites.

Hendy Woods State Park

Located in the heart of the Anderson Valley wine region, the Hendy Woods State Park camgpround has four cabins and 92 campsites. It is surrounded by towering redwoods. Some of the park’s trees are more than 300 feet tall and 1,000 years old. Five miles of trails lead through the fern-filled forest.

Warmer and less foggy than most redwood parks along the coast, Hendy Woods is a popular spot for swimming in the summer and canoeing and kayaking in late winter and early spring.

Want more of the Mendocino Coast? View the best places to eat and awesome things to do.

Kim Orlando, founder of SheBuysTravel, is a lifelong traveler, an entrepreneur and a sought-after social media and marketing consultant. She has made hundreds of appearances on TV and in digital and print media, sharing advice and tips built on decades of travel experiences. Hailing from the hills of Kentucky and taking her story to New York, Los Angeles, and beyond, Kim built an online platform, the original TravelingMom, that has reached millions of moms and empowered them to explore the world with their families. Today, TravelingMom has evolved into SheBuysTravel. Kim has been featured on “News Nation,” “Today,” “Good Morning America” and on numerous satellite media tours. She has contributed travel guidance to outlets including The Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and more. (Read more about Kim’s media appearances here) Her travel mantra is simple: All travel counts. “You don’t have to go far. Leaving your home is travel,” Kim says. “Wherever you go, even just to the next town over, you can learn something new, see someone and something you haven’t seen before. “It’s good for the brain and good for the soul.” An epiphany in early parenthood started Kim on the journey that led to SheBuysTravel. She’d been a fan of a newsletter for women travelers, and she saw an opportunity. “I thought something like that for moms could be extraordinarily helpful,” she said. “I was traveling for work, traveling for fun, and I was looking for support.” That seed grew into the award-winning website TravelingMom, created as a resource for traveling families of all stripes. Today, TravelingMom has evolved into SheBuysTravel, with an expanded mission to serve women travelers at any stage of life. Millions of readers have visited the site for trip planning help, travel secrets, destination information and gear recommendations. What sets SheBuysTravel’s content apart, Kim says, is its foundation in real-world experience. “Our writers and editors have actually gone out there and done this stuff,” she says. “They’ve booked the flights, tried the tour, tested travel clothing, visited that new hot spot to see if it’s worth the hype. It’s all real.” Memorable Adventures A 2022 tour Kim guided to Bhutan was a particularly standout experience. “Bhutan sounds so exotic, of course,” she said. “But the part where my heart just glows and warms is thinking of the people we met – amazing women doing amazing things in Bhutan.” Their ranks included a former police officer whose ventures into food science helped mitigate food insecurity for residents of Bhutan’s highlands. Top Tips Planning for travel can be daunting, Kim acknowledges. “I always say: Go anyway. No trip is going to be perfect. There’s always going to be something you didn’t expect, something that doesn’t go the way you pictured or planned it. And that something is what’s going to make it a great trip.” And on a practical note: “Go early! Getting to the airport or hitting the road just an hour earlier relieves so much stress.” Kim’s Background Kim, a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, holds degrees in finance and entrepreneurship and has deep experience in developing and running businesses. Her previous work includes developing and running communications workshops and overseeing document management for corporations. SheBuysTravel hits a sweet spot where Kim’s two loves of travel and entrepreneurship meet. “The longer I work in this field, I only want to do more,” she says. “I find the travel world so exciting – not just the trips, but the whole online world of travel. There are still so many opportunities.” The World Awaits “The ‘best trip ever’ probably won’t be the same for an empty-nester or mom of three versus a single woman celebrating a bachelorette party with her friends,” Kim says. “We want to keep it real for traveling women, no matter what their age, life stage, where they came from or where they’re going. “We want to inspire women to travel in any shape or form.” In her free time, Kim enjoys visiting her adult kids, creating trips and traveling with her BFFs to explore the world. Her most recent adventures can be found on InstagramFacebook and LinkedIn.
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