While Marin and Sonoma County are within a few hours drive of Tahoe, Mendocino is a bit more of an effort to access. However, the unique rural qualities of the inland portions of the county coupled with the raw beauty of the coast make a trip to Mendo a must. If you’re looking to climb you should probably look elsewhere, but mountain biking, surfing, hiking, wineries, breweries, and empty beaches straight out of a postcard are abundant.
Here’s a shot of a seldom surfed break just north of the county line coming in from Sonoma,
with a shot of the twisty-turny Highway 1 carving its way along the dramatic coastline.
Point Arena is the core surf break in Mendo, and highly regarded as one of the best waves north of the Bay when it’s on. There’s a nice break just left of the pier,
and the showcase break out to the right of the pier that can throw some of the thickest peeling tubes around.
A little further north you can actually find a little climbing at Navarro State Beach,
or just pull-off for a tranquil stroll,
and even camp along the beach if you’re feeling it.
A little further north will bring you to the town of Mendocino where you can peel of Highway 1 and head east towards the epic mountain biking locale of Mendocino Woodlands State Park, or cruise a little bit farther to Caspar. Caspar is a great place to surf when the winds are howling and the swell is too big for the rest of the coast. If you’re into kayaking in the ocean, paddleboarding, coastal hiking, learning to noseride, or just want to relax on a picturesque Nor-Cal beach Caspar is worth the visit.
The little store across from the beach has all the supplies and toys you need if you show up to the beach unprepared. They pretty much rent everything you could want from fishing and diving gear, to surfboards, SUP’s, and kayak’s. I think you can even go horse riding on the beach.
Mendo may be a stretch for a weekend trip, but it’s fully doable, and once you’re there you’ll forget the hours you spent traveling as soon as you pull into a flower studded beach like Caspar’s,
or watch the morning sun cast its rich rays of golden light through deep forests only found on Cali’s North Coast.