Fort Bragg’s 12-mile stretch of Northern California’s Mendocino Coast boasts some of the best beaches anywhere. Lots of sand, hidden coves and sea caves, shoreline rock formations, sea birds, clear water and plenty of solitude.
You can picnic, run, beach comb, explore tide pools, watch whales, go birding, ride horses, or photograph spectacular waves … and even more spectacular sunsets. Three of our beaches are world renown for colorful frosted sea glass, tumbled into myriad fanciful shapes by majestic waves.
Let’s start with Ten Mile Beach — technically a series of beaches backed by one of the California coast’s longest dune systems, the home of the rare, endangered Snowy Plover. More than 90 species of birds visit or live on the sand and along the cliffs. Seals lounge on nearby rocks, while whales feed and play year-round.
Getting There: Follow Highway 1 a few miles north. Just past the MacKerricher State Park sign, you’ll make a left on Mill Creek Road (Purple Rose Restaurant is on the corner) and drive a half mile to the ocean where you’ll find two parking lots: one at Cleone Lake and just beyond the lake, Laguna Point. Both have restrooms.
Things to Do: Walk, exercise, hunt for sand dollars, bird-watch, read, snap photos or take some video of waves crashing on the shore to share with friends and family on Facebook or YouTube.
Laguna Point’s boardwalk (located in MacKerricher State Park near Cleone Lake) leads to two ocean viewing platforms with interpretive signs about the history and wildlife in the area. The perfect place for photography, bird and whale watching, these platforms offer sweeping views of the Lost Coast and the King Mountain Range (King Mountain is the tallest peak) to the north. Surfers like it here, too.
Best Picnic Spot: A two-mile stretch of beach just north of Ward Avenue offers warm sand dunes, storm-tossed driftwood logs to lean against, and plenty of places for a blanket.
Next Up: Virgin Creek Beach