Mendocino County is “so close and yet so far away” when it comes to scenery, attitude and ambiance. Whether you play it sophisticated or sniff out the rustic, you’ll have no trouble carving out an itinerary to fit your budget and style. Leash-free stretches of sand such as Noyo and Seaside beaches near Fort Bragg are yours to enjoy, along with dozens of winery tasting rooms where canines are regarded as welcome family members. Stroll the North Coast Botanical Gardens, paddle an estuary in a customized kayak from Catch-A-Canoe or Liquid Fusion, snuggle up at the luxury Stanford Inn By the Sea or rough it within sound of the waves at beautiful MacKerricher and Van Damme state parks. You won’t find many outdoor places where you’ll be turned away, even if a leash is required. You and your dog can even enjoy a ride on the fabled Skunk Train between Fort Bragg and Willits. Mendocino County, it’s a journey worth taking.
Photo: "Chuck and Kayla prepare to board the Skunk Train" by Dave Kendrick