We recently got back from an overnight trip to the Mendocino Coast. I'm sharing where we stayed and what we did! From railbikes to breweries and more.
I received a night’s stay and dining at Little River Inn, as well as Skunk Train railbike passes. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
I was born in Santa Rosa, CA and go back to the area to visit at least once a year. The little town of Mendocino is about 100 miles north. We took a curvy scenic road (101 to 128 to 1) to get there and it took just over 2 hours.
The drive up was just beautiful! I wasn't driving, so I was able to really stare at the giant redwood trees as we passed beneath them. Once you get about halfway on highway 128, you'll start coming up on a lot of wineries and small towns. We didn't have time to stop, but if we had an additional day or two, we definitely would have squeezed them in.
My husband, Zack and I drove up Monday morning and checked out Tuesday afternoon. A quick trip, for sure! It was the week of Thanksgiving, so we wanted to fit family time in too. Read on to find out where we stayed, what we did, and more!
Where To Stay
From the second you pull into Little River Inn, you feel at home and calm. It's been around for 80 years and it's easy to see why! You're greeted with a friendly smile and given a key to your room.
The original house was built in 1853 and has now been expanded to include over 60 rooms spread throughout multiple buildings, a dining room, bar, golf course, tennis courts, spa, and more, all on their 225 acres of property.
They also have private trails to take you into Van Damme State Park or the State Beach. Little River Inn is very family-friendly, and that extends to your furry friends as well!
We had plans to explore the surrounding area before checking in, so we hopped back in our car and continued driving north.
Skunk Train Railbikes
About 20 minutes north of Little River Inn, is the city of Fort Bragg, CA. Whenever I mentioned to family and friends that we would be visiting Mendocino, most of them asked if we were going to ride the Skunk Train.
Instead of riding the train, we opted for the new railbikes! How could we not experience this unique hour and a half adventure?! The Skunk Train Railbikes are a two-person, pedal-powdered vehicle that takes you along the Pudding Creek Estuary to the Glen Blair Junction.
Along the way, our group stopped a few times to learn about the history of the area. Once we got to the end of the track, we took a short hike, as one of the guides turned the railbikes around to go back.
It was such a cool experience that is perfect for couples or families!
As you can see, it was a pretty chilly and windy during our end of November ride. Be sure to bundle up if you're going in the cooler months!
More just north of Mendocino
After our adventure railbiking through the redwoods, we stopped into North Coast Brewing Co. Taproom for a light snack and beer flight. Highly recommend trying their Red Seal Ale!
We finished at North Coast just before sunset, so decided to make a quick stop at Glass Beach before officially checking into Little River Inn for the night. The sunset was absolutely beautiful and pictures just don't do it justice!
I was very excited to explore Glass Beach after seeing all the amazing photos of the rounded glass. Thankfully, I got a heads up beforehand that the glass is slowly diminishing and over the years, there's not as much to see. It was still incredible and I highly recommend you still go down to check it out.
Checking In to Little River Inn
After our long day of exploring the Mendocino Coast, we got checked in to our room a couple hours before dinner. The staff at Little River Inn were so kind and thoughtful. We were greeted with a bottle of wine, truffles, and a handwritten note.
The rooms are expansive yet cozy and charming! My favorite part was the push to start fireplace. This stay made us decide that we need to have one installed in our home. Not kidding!
After a glass of wine by the fireplace, we got ready for dinner. We made a later than usual dining reservation, since I knew it would be a long day. The walkways around Little River Inn made getting around so easy and convenient.
Dining at Little River Inn
Even though I'm not vegan, I love eating mostly plant-based and trying out the vegan options while dining out. For dinner, the Little River Inn Restaurant has vegan tacos, a vegetarian lentil burger, zucchini pappardelle, a beet & arugula salad, and crusted eggplant. I fully went into dinner thinking that I would get the vegan option, but after chatting with our server, we decided to make it a seafood night!
For a starter, I tried steamed clams for the first time. Then for my main dish, I enjoyed their pine nut crusted, pan seared salmon. For the grand finale, Zack and I shared a delicious blackberry sorbet! Everything was delicious and our service was excellent.
Breakfast in Bed
All day we kept hearing about a storm that was going to move in on our second and last day. Rather than head into Mendocino to stroll the streets bright and early, we decided to try to sleep in and place an order for room service.
Their breakfast menu has something for everyone with pancakes, granola, scones, fresh fruit, and more! I ordered the vegan rancheros with black beans, bell pepper, spinach, green chilis, avocado, green onion, salsa, corn tortillas, and hash browns. It was delicious!!
As we ate our breakfast, we watched the waves roll in and enjoyed the peace and quiet.
Since it was already dark when we got to our room the night before, I really wanted to explore Little River Inn before it started to storm.
We filled our coffee mugs and bundled up to take a morning walk around the grounds. The gardens are perfectly manicured, making the surroundings so serene as you look out to the ocean.
Unfortunately, it started to rain during our walk so we decided to pack up and head back home. There was actually snow on the radar just north and inland!
We had such a wonderful time visiting the Mendocino Coast and staying at Little River Inn! Here's what's on my must-do list next time we make our way up there:
- Wander around the streets of Mendocino and grab a bite to eat at Good Life Cafe or Trillium
- Catch the sunset at Mendocino Headlands State Park
- Stargaze at Little River Inn
- Hike Russian Gulch State Park and Van Damme State Park
- Check out Point Cabrillo Lighthouse
- Explore the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
If you're looking for a relaxing retreat, head to Mendocino! There's so much to do and see, and you can do as much or as little as you please. Have you explored the area? What's your favorite must-see spot?
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