Just north of Little River, picturesque Mendocino village, with its wealth of lacy Victorians and colorful saltbox cottages, has more places than you can shake a tennis ball at to enjoy with your four-legged friend. Once you’ve explored the compact downtown, venture on over to Mendocino Headlands State Park, which surrounds the village on three sides. There are lots of options here, but at the top of the list is hiking on a gorgeous, bluff-top trail to moody Big River State Beach.
Or, wander the trails and grounds surrounding the landmark Point Cabrillo Light Station, dating to 1909 and occupying a magnificent location on a rugged headland jutting into the Pacific. The lighthouse’s West Cottage, a stand-alone, one-bedroom unit, is pet-friendly and offers an overnight experience dominated by the pulse of thundering surf.
As is the case everywhere in California, dog-friendly dining in Mendocino is by law confined to patios, decks, and other outdoor spaces. But there’s one notable exception. At Ravens’, the organic vegan restaurant at canine-welcoming Stanford Inn by the Sea, guests with dogs are served at tables in the lobby—a real plus on foggy or rainy days.
If you’re a “where’s the beef?” kind of person, the place to go is Mendocino Cafe, where ocean views come with a menu that leans to sustainably caught seafood and organically raised chicken and beef.