4 of the Most Picturesque Beach Hikes in Mendocino

a path through beach grass with the ocean in the background

With secret coves, tide pools full of sea stars, and rocks dotted with resting harbor seals, Mendocino’s coastline has incredible beaches that are just waiting to be discovered. Hiking options on the Coast are seemingly endless, with long beaches, state park trails, and lush forests at every turn. Whether you’re searching for seashells, whale-watching, or admiring a breathtaking California sunset, these beach hikes in Mendocino have something for everyone to enjoy. You just have to get out there!

Our Favorite Northern California Beach Hikes

1. Mendocino Headlands State Park

Miles of trails wind along the cliffs at Mendocino Headlands State Park, giving explorers spectacular views of sea arches and hidden grottos. During the warmer months, guests are treated to the sweet smell of spring wildflowers, or can witness the winter migration of California grey whales when the weather cools. Photographers and painters frequently visit this area, enjoying and capturing the scenic wonders.

2. Haul Road/MacKerricher State Park

The scenic Ten Mile Beach Trail, also referred to by locals as the MacKerricher Haul Road Trail, hugs the Pacific coastline and travels across a unique sand dune area from downtown Fort Bragg to Ward Avenue. Be sure to bring binoculars for whale and seal watching, as this stretch is one of the largest uninterrupted whale-watching spots on the West Coast. The trail continues north along high bluffs, with breathtaking ocean views and great spots to sit and take in the sights.

3. Russian Gulch State Park

With 7,630 feet of ocean frontage, rugged headlands, and spectacular views of the Pacific, Russian Gulch State Park is perfect for an afternoon beach hike. Be sure to check out the “Blow Hole”, a tunnel that comes inland about 200 feet and has a hole at the end that is 100 feet across and 60 feet deep. This unique feature was formed by pounding waves against the headlands, and now, guests can look into this flower-lined pit and watch the surging sea at high tide.

4. Van Damme State Park

Featuring both beach trails and upland on the Mendocino coast, Van Damme State Park is home to the Fern Canyon scenic trail system, the Pygmy forest, and even a bog where skunk cabbage grows. Our guests especially enjoy this park because it surrounds the Inns of Glendeven on three sides. Right off the grounds, you can hike south to Van Damme Beach, which is just a short, scenic walk from our property!

Restore at the Inns of Glendeven

Spending the day on a relaxing beach hike is one of our guests’ favorite things to do in Mendocino, and our inn offers access to some of the best trails in the area! After a fun-filled day out in the fresh Northern California air, join us for a scrumptious wine hour in the barn, then head back to one of our charming rooms or suites and put your feet up. We can’t wait to hear all about your adventures!

Torrey Douglass