Beaches & Rivers
Canoe rentals just across the road
Quick drive to Big River Beach
Numerous other beaches up and down the coast for your strolling pleasure
Dog-friendly beaches listed on the Pets? page
Great hikes inland from all beaches
Mendocino Grove sits on a forest bluff across the bay from the picturesque town of Mendocino. The campground is in close proximity to several stunning state parks with towering redwood forests, sweeping meadows, coastal bluffs, and sandy-white beaches. These surroundings provide endless opportunity for exploration and outdoor adventures.
Big River Beach (.25 miles north)
The campground is auspiciously located adjacent to one of the most popular beaches in the area. This long white sand beach has a deep blue lagoon where the river opens up to the sea. A perennial sandbar in the north end makes this a safe place to swim for all levels. It’s a particularly good spot for drift wood collection, fort building, sunbathing, and bonfires. A fire trail follows the river inland for about 7 miles, great for long runs, mountain biking and epic river adventures.
Caspar Headlands State Beach (5.2 miles north)
This lovely pocket beach with the occasional surfer is one of the safest beaches for swimming on the coast. Be warned however, the water can be cold and conditions can change quickly, so be sure to watch for riptides. A beautiful new trail now leads from Caspar South to Point Cabrillo Lighthouse State Park.
Jug Handle Beach & Reserve (6 miles north)
This is an epically beautiful beach and a local favorite. It’s a jewel-like, small cove beach nestled between Jug Handle Creek to the north and a high expanse of prairie headlands to the south. The white sand beach is deep and extends far into the surf, and a natural stone break about 200 feet out makes it a safe place for swimming. The reserve also features the Ecological Staircase Trail, which covers varying micro-ecosystems. The trail measures 5 miles from beach to pygmy forest and back.
Russian Gulch State Park (3.7 miles north)
Russian Gulch boasts a mile and a half of ocean frontage and is often compared to Point Lobos on the Big Sur coast. Nearby, you’ll find swimming at the mouth of Russian Gulch Creek, tide pool exploring, SCUBA diving, free diving, and fishing. With a valid license, species you can catch include crabs, fin fish, lobster, mussels, and oysters.
The Fern Canyon to Falls Trail hike is a must when visiting the park. The 6+ mile loop trail over meandering streams, fern meadows and towering redwoods forests ends at a spectacular year-round 36-foot waterfall, making this one of our favorite hikes.
Van Damme State Beach (1/2 miles south)
This beach is more of a jumping off point for sea kayaking adventures. Craig at Kayak Mendocino can create your own adventure with professionally-guided sea cave tours and more.
Fern Canyon Trail in the park on the east side of Highway 1 is our go-to hike in the area. The 5-mile out-and-back trail takes you through a beautiful Fern Canyon alighted on either side with towering redwoods and meandering streams, to the curiosity of the pygmy forest, where trees can’t grow much taller than 3 feet.
Glass Beach (11.4 miles north)
This beach is literally covered in sea glass created from years of dumping garbage into the northern area of this coast line. Despite large crowds and uneven deposits of glass, the effect can be magical, especially on sunny days. The beach is part of the larger beachfront expanse of MacKerricher State Park.
MacKerricher State Park and Beach (14 miles north)
MacKerricher Spans 10 miles of coastline from Glass Beach in Fort Bragg to Ten Mile River. The old paved Haul Road (closed to motor vehicles) offers access to miles of coastal walking, and there are boardwalk trails through prairie bluffs. It’s home to The Ten Mile Dunes complex, which contains a unique, relatively pristine native dune and wetland ecosystem.