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Are you looking for an escape from the hustle-bustle of the city? A place surrounded by forest and sea? A romantic hideaway? A girlfriend getaway? Family fun time? Sweet solitude?
Fort Bragg, California (pop. 6,500), 150 miles north of San Francisco on the rugged Northern California Coast, is the perfect destination for all that and more.
We’ve got bookshops for the bookish, thrift stores for the thrifty, shops for the shoppers, art for the artists, camping supplies for the campers.
We’re eco-friendly, vegan and vegetarian friendly, pet friendly and family friendly. Of course, you will feel right at home as a couple or a single.
There are no traffic jams, no rush hour (no rushing of any kind) and no parking meters downtown. The air is some of the purest on earth; the blue-green ocean pristine.
And, we are an official Gateway to the California Coastal National Monument. Let’s go now!
Glass Beach: actually, we have three and they are the story of how trash has become treasure. You can walk to two glass beaches from Downtown Fort Bragg. The third requires a trip by kayak.
The Skunk Train: leaving daily from its Laurel Street (downtown Fort Bragg) depot, you’ll plunge into miles and miles of virgin redwoods shortly after leaving the station.
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens: these 47 acres stretch from Highway 1 (the entrance) to the ocean bluffs. Along the way, you’ll experience a world of colorful plants populated by dozens of bird species.
Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park: a 300-acre nature preserve with a working lighthouse, this unique state park features two museums, a gift shop, a marine life exhibit, walking trails and picnic tables.
If you like strolling on beaches, digging your toes in the sand or hanging out in search of wildlife, then our mild pursuits are right for you.
- Walk on Ten Mile or another great beach. Read “Getting Beached in Fort Bragg.”
- Ride a bike on the Haul Road through MacKerricher State Park
- Hunt treasures on Glass Beach.
- Go Birding at the Botantical Gardens. See List of 276 species on the Coast.
If you are intent on shaking up your day — in a good way — then there is nothing better than to hit the trail, ride the waves in a kayak or race through the forest on a bike. Check out our video.
- Horseback ride on the beach – Lari Shea will supply you with everything you need, including a guide.
- Kayak in the ocean – Jeff and Cate from Liquid Fusion Kayaking will guide you on a safe adventure.
- Mountain bike in Jackson State Forest – Fort Bragg Cyclery can recommend the best trails.
- Hike to the Hans Jenny Pygmy Forest in Jug Handle State Reserve – this is one of only four in the U.S. (two are on the Mendocino Coast, a third south in Sonoma County and the last, a private forest in New York).
- Take a cooking class at Living Light Culinary Institute
- Luxuriate with massages, facials, pedicures and special treatments at Bamboo Garden Spa, The Beauty Bar, 242 South and Belle De Jour
- Get that special tattoo at Madame Chinchilla’s Tattoo Museum
- Shop downtown for clothes, shoes and antiques
- Walk to local bars and restaurants for nightlife
- Tango at the Weller House
[tabby title=”Families”] Yes, Fort Bragg has internet and cell service so you won’t be able to cut off the kids’ endless texting, but there are plenty of distractions — and WiFi free spaces — that will allow for a great family outing. Below are a few highlights. Click here for more activities.
- Swim at the C.V. Starr Center (adults and kids)
- Ride the Skunk Train
- Hang out at the Skateboard Park (older kids)
- Play at Wiggly Giggly Playground (younger children)
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After hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, riding the Skunk Train, exploring the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, stepping back in time at Point Cabrillo Lighthouse or walking through redwood forests, you’ll be ready for some quiet time … time to slow down and enjoy what we call “simple pleasures”—Fort Bragg-style.
Don’t just take our word about the wonders of Fort Bragg. Check out these articles:
- Sunset Magazine about “The New Fort Bragg”
- The Canada Free Press.
- The New York Times also includes a great story called “36 Hours on the Mendocino Coast”which features lots of Fort Bragg attractions, restaurants, a brew pub and more.