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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.
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.
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.
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.
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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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.