Along California’s Mendocino Coast, at the end of an extremely windy road, sits a small town known for a Glass Beach, redwoods and the infamous Skunk Train.
A perfect escape from the city, Fort Bragg is a nice place to relax, explore untouched beaches and reconnect with nature. Not to mention, it’s pretty dog-friendly too.
So, if you find yourself making your way up North, add these activities to your itinerary.
EXPLORE GLASS BEACH
Who knew trash could be so pretty? Glass Beach is the most popular attraction you’ll hear about when visiting Fort Bragg. The beach used to be a trash dump so broken bottles from garbage cans are now little treasures visitors collect and photograph. The glass is very dull so it’s safe for pups to walk on – the only requirement is they must be on leash.
We made a stop at Glass Beach because it’s on every list for ‘What to do in Fort Bragg’. But the latest reviews are true, the beach has been picked over. So much so, that most of the glass left is green and brown.
Never the less, we were there and wanted to see for ourselves. And even though the glass aspect of the beach wasn’t as cool, the views were totally worth it.
RIDE THE SKUNK TRAIN
Embark on the historic Skunk Train to step back in time and ride through the redwoods. You can enjoy a one-hour roundtrip adventure in an old-school train car with plenty of windows for viewing or an open top car for uninterrupted views.
The staff was super-friendly and dressed to fit the part. There was even on-site entertainment provided by a young man in an old school conductor outfit.
The ride goes by pretty quick, so if you really want to take in the views opt for the two-hour journey.
TASTE TEST AT OVERTIME BREWING
If you’re looking for delicious beer and a yummy menu, make sure you stop at Overtime Brewing for lunch. Their dog-friendly patio is small, but we had no problem fitting a table of 6 with two other parties and room to spare.
Their beer menu is ever changing with a lot of local collaborations and their grilled cheese and mac n’ cheese was much needed on the brisk May day we visited.
HIKE AROUND RUSSIAN GULCH
Just 10 minutes south of Fort Bragg – right outside Mendocino – is a beautiful state park, Russian Gulch. The park has 15 miles of trails, with a satisfying mix of shady forest and open coastal hikes.
We’re suckers for coastal views, so we “hiked” (I’m using quotes because it’s a leisurely walk on a narrow path lined with tall grass) the Headlands Trail for the Russian Gulch bridge viewpoint and the dramatic bluff drop-offs. This hike can be accomplished in an hour without rushing.
Also along the path is a gorgeous sinkhole in the middle of the cliff with the most diverse greenery.
Before we started our “hike” we did spot a sign that mentioned mountain lions. This seemed very unlikely, but as I mentioned the trail for the hike was also very narrow, so that meant Rue caught a ride in her K9 Sport Sack and I was her personal Uber.
ROMP ON NOYO BEACH
Noyo Beach is a sandy strip on Noyo Bay. It’s more known for fishing verse swimming and just down the street from the very popular Princess Seafood. Dogs can run free, dip their paws in the water and climb around on drift logs.
There’s plenty of parking leading to the beach, but don’t forget your after beach care kit. There’s no wash station, so you’ll want to have what you need to avoid bringing the beach home with you.
After burning some energy, stop into Django’s Rough Bar Café for an afternoon snack and grab some fresh caught fish for dinner from Princess Seafood (a place where princesses do all the catching) on your way out of the bay.
Todd’s Point was just across the street from our home away from home. We had no idea it was a landmark, but quickly learned on the holiday weekend that it was the prime spot for firework viewing.
If you’re not visiting on a holiday weekend, there’s also a really nice trail along the bluffs from Todds Point with dramatic views of the coastal cliffs side by side with the clear blue ocean.
Have you been to Fort Bragg? Any other adventures you’d add to the list?
Hi, I’m Melanie! An enthusiastic dog mom with a love for travel (especially when it’s dog-friendly). I live in Northern California with my mini Australian Labradoodle, Ruby, and when we’re not traveling or exploring our new hometown, you can find us practicing tricks, hunting for a new brunch spot or binge-watching anything new to relax and recharge.