Mendocino County botanical gardens

Fort Bragg Mendocino County Seaside Views Photo Tour

e try to go on a family trip with my parents every year. One year we visited Walt Disney World, a place I hadn’t returned to since I was quite young, and last year we took a tour through Yellowstone, South Dakota and Utah.

This summer, dad wanted to take us up the Mendocino Coast/Fort Bragg which is in Mendocino County located four hours north of San Francisco also 4 hours north of where I am from, Granite Bay (which is 2 hours inland from SF, you got that? haha.), So it’s straight up North for us, but not exactly easy to get to. By this I mean, pretty windy roads along the mountains that Benjamin and I started to get quite nauseous towards the end.

*Click here for the Redwoods post on things to do.

Mendocino County lookout points coastal views

I want to share all the photos I took on our trip to Mendocino Coast/Fort Bragg area with you and where we went and what we did so you can get some ideas when you one day head to this gorgeous location in Northern California. Because we took so many photos from doing SO many things, I have to break this trip up into two parts.  This is a long post with tons of photos but I consider this the Ultimate Mendocino County Fort Bragg photo tour blog post – this post will focus on just the coastal part! Stay tuned for Part Two which will feature the Redwoods!

Mendocino County lookout points coastal viewsMendocino County lookout points coastal views

I said out loud, “This reminds me of Ireland!” because it truly did.

My heart skipped a beat, I really do love Northern California so much and not just because I’m from there. I just love the trees, coastal line, and the slower pace and less traffic.

I would move in a heartbeat if only there was a nearby airport. However, I suppose the reason this place is a little less frequented is because of that very reason.

Check out the 101 things to do in Mendocino. Here are just a few of the fun things we did (along with sharing some videos from IG stories). I hope one day you get to visit, it’s definitely worth it! It’s now one of my favorite spots in the country.

Mendocino County lookout points coastal views
Mendocino County lookout points coastal views

Here are some videos that will show you how gorgeous the coastline was on our first day –

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

We also checked out the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, good idea dad! It is 47 acres of botanical, gardens and the path leads you right to the Mendocino Coast.

First, the gate that prevents the deer from coming into the gardens and well, eating everything. Isn’t this gate gorgeous? I sure would love to figure out how to make one for our home!

branch gate at Mendocino County Botanical Gardens

Botanical gardens gate make it with your own scraps of tree branches

Mendocino Botanical Gardens

The path takes you straight to the coast. We saw a deer take off from the field.

It was everything dreamy. Words cannot express how I felt looking out and just enjoying the views, the weather, the ocean. I am so in love with the ocean and would love to have a view of it over any other view! I really felt rested looking out and hearing the waves crash.

Mendocino County botanical gardensMendocino County coast botanical gardensMendocino botanical gardens

I would have loved to have this be our Christmas photo but Benjamin wasn’t exactly Instagram ready haha! It’s OK. We did find out Christmas photo spot, and it was unexpected. Nothing too over the top but it’s unique and I cannot wait to show you in December, hahahaaa. After these two posts go up perhaps you can guess.

We also spotted a bright red starfish down below! I dunno guys, but that bright red starfish doesn’t seem very friendly. Red to me signals stay away.

Mendocino coast botanical gardens

We continued walking to the vegetable garden. Ahhhh, I cannot wait for fall to plant. I also wish I could lay down bark between my garden beds but we have flood irrigation so it would float away.

vegetable garden at mendocino county gardensvegetable garden shed at Mendocino County

I felt right at home and could have stayed all day truthfully, I mean drop me off, I’m home guys!

mendocino gardens botanical gardens
Mendocino County botanical gardens

I wanted to mention that most of these images were taken with my Fujifilm X100F and a Fujifilm TCL-X100 II Tele Conversion Lens you screw on the front, very convenient for travel photography.

Here are some stories from IG of the Mendocino Botanical Gardens –

Canoeing down Big River

Dad requested that we wake up early to be ready to rent a canoe at a place called Catch a Canoe (so cute!) at Big River. We arrived about 30 minutes before it opened. Yep, dad’s quite early. He was worried about the canoes being taken. Don’t worry, no one else was there at 9 am, LOL.

So, we waited and enjoyed the stillness of the morning and watched the fog float atop the Big River.

Big River in Mendocino County canoe rental big riverfog along big river catchacanoe canoe rental in Mendocino County

I sure do miss fog. Even though I lived a bit more inland growing up in Granite Bay we would have fog from the bay in the mornings. It’s just magical.

catchacanoe canoe rental for big river in Mendocino County
catchacanoe canoe rental for big river in Mendocino County

We saw otters, they were adorable, and let me also tell you that you should be aware that there is no easy coasting with this canoe rental. Like you must row or you aren’t going anywhere, LOL. Thank goodness for my dad and Benjamin. I did a little bit the three hour rental is enough to get pretty far up and back. We laughed because my mom and I were pretty useless. We’re still glad we went though, super fun!

See the live action of the canoeing here –

Main Street

For shopping and restaurants, we went walked down Main Street. First stop, we bought some jam at Mendocino Jams (Benjamin really got excited seeing it and picked the rhubarb jam). It was such a sweet store and incredibly popular and lots of unique jams to taste! Benjamin chatted up the employee and found out he was from Scottsdale and moved to Mendocino per his friend’s encouragement as a place to retire! Boy what a great idea.

Main Street is a cute little street and that is when I thought this has to be similar to what you see in Nantucket. The coastal charm!

Mendocino County Main Street wearing Lilly Pulitzer

Mendocino County Main Street wearing Lilly Pulitzer

We ate at a restaurant that was like a tower, what a view. I didn’t take photos of it. I obviously took some photos on this trip but I really tried hard to not over do it.

I wanted to actually be on vacation but of course outfits and creating content is still important and I also wanted to show you this place so it’s worth taking the time to stop and take a photo when necessary.

Mendocino County Main Street

IG stories –

Glass Beach

And let’s not forget Glass Beach which I blogged about in this post.

glass beach Mendocino County Fort BraggMendocino County Fort Bragg glass beach what is left on the beach

It was so lovely we went back the next day. We had anticipated this being the spot for our Christmas photos but the beach didn’t translate to showcasing Glass Beach unless you were so close up to it. That didn’t work for us, what a bummer.

But, heading to Glass Beach to show you was the agenda, and so we did.

Glass Beach Mendocino County

Mendocino County glass beach

And a video from Glass Beach if you missed it in the earlier post –

sundry jumpsuit orange pink natural on blogger Diana Elizabeth

And that wraps up the coastal part of Mendocino County!

Check out the post about what we did in the Redwoods!

For more information, links and where we went in Fort Bragg in Mendocino County:


Diana Elizabeth had her deviated septum surgery yesterday and cannot sleep with her mouth open. And so, at 3:30 am she publishes this post and looks forward to getting the packing out of her nose today at 10 am.

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party. She continues to blog weekly.

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