source Enjoy open-air seating, inside seating and a snack bar. Purchased for public lands in , Big River State Park the Big River watershed , was the site of logging operations for over years. Now protected, local citizens are restoring fish, wildlife and habitat. Thanks to their efforts, salmon, redwoods and conifer forests will return and thrive.
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Big River Beach is a popular driftwood sculpture area on the Pacific. Gather, build, photograph and leave behind for others to admire your creation before high tide wipes the canvas clean for the next artist. The local business, Catch a Canoe and Bicycles Too , provides wind-powered, people-powered and solar-powered transportation options. Rent a bike, kayak, canoe or outrigger for exploring.
Each are fully restored and in use. Stay in one of the four houses once used by light station attendants. This location is one of the best whale watching spots on the northern California coast. An annual gray whale migration begins in late November and continues through May.
Humpbacks are spotted throughout the year. Pods of orcas and blue whales may also occasionally pass by. Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is one of the few botanical gardens with ocean front. The 47 acres include canyons, wetlands, coastal bluffs and forest. Open year-round, the botanical gardens are a superb whale watching and picnic spot.
Numerous festivals and events are held in the gardens throughout the year. Climb in a canvas-covered touring jeep and explore the pastures of B Bryan Preserve. View zebra, giraffe and antelope. Stand eye-to-eye with Rothschild Giraffes in their specially built barn.
From a loft, you can look the tallest of all giraffes in the eye. The Rothschild Giraffes are stately kings of the preserve. Close to extension in the African wild, BBP's group of male giraffes are involved in breeding programs internationally.
The ADA-accessible paved trail is an intimate way to experience the rugged, wild coast, its many habitats, inhabitants and thought-provoking historical sites. From sea to air, nature explodes. We were within 5 minutes of Mendocino, where we had a family event scheduled. Cook like a local in an ocean front vacation rental or seaside campsite. There you will find parking, water and restrooms. Everything Sucks 6, Easy.
Tours of the preserve are a wonderful way to see and learn about African animals. The best way to immerse yourself in this special place is by renting one of the three lakeside cabins and watch the sunset with a giraffe. Visual and performing arts thrive on the Mendocino coast. Visit the Mendocino Art Center and stroll the sculpture gardens and the galleries. Attend a play at the theater or join a drop-in open studio. Music of every genre is performed in coffee shops, bars, restaurants, community centers and concert halls.
A calendar of entertainment and special events can be found in Fort Bragg-Mendocino Coast Packet , a regional publication covering entertainment, festivals, food and shopping on the coast. Mendocino County has at least one festival per month, some months have one every weekend. Festivals celebrate whales, crab, abalone, mushrooms, wine, beer, music, ukuleles, rhododendrons, Paul Bunyan, film and so much more.
Something is always being celebrated on the coast. Mendocino coast offers every style of lodging from camping on the beach, to luxury inns and vacation rentals.
The enormous organic garden influences the menu daily and provides fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs year-round. There are countless things to do on the coast. Come to unplug, unwind and watch the surf, or take a sea cave tour by kayak. It was love at first breath. The short walk from the plane to the jetway gave me enough time to take it all in. Even at the airport.
Inside, the walk to baggage claim was quiet. Nobody barking at each other or shouting into their smart phones. The closer we got to Mendocino, the more emergency announcements came through the car radio.
Mike pulled over once to let a faster car pass us by, and I opened my window. I shut the window, put my palm to the glass, and felt heat. We got back on the road and continued driving north. I kept my window shut until we got to our destination, and when I opened it then …not one whiff of smoke. Mendocino itself is so close to the Pacific that ocean breezes fended off the scent of fire.