The Best Road Trip: San Francisco to Mendocino

The road trip between one iconic city to another gorgeous community in California doesn’t have to be boring. If you’re planning a trip from San Francisco to Mendocino, there are a couple of different routes you can take, each with their own unique sights. But, before you make the journey up the Pacific Coast, map out your Mendocino itinerary by using our complimentary Vacation Guide. We compiled a list of the best places to eat, sight-see, hike, and more!

Pick Your Route From San Francisco to Mendocino

If you’re making the trip up the California coast, you don’t want to miss out on some spectacular sights and things to do along the way. Most travelers will take one of two routes. There is a short, direct route and a longer, scenic route. Whichever you choose, you’ve already made the best decision by choosing Mendocino as your vacation spot!

Highway 101 to Highway128

Approximately 3.5 Hours Minimum

Wineries and Apple Orchards

Take Highway 101 to Highway 128 for the quickest way to Mendocino. Although this is the shorter route, it’s not short on sights and activities! Drive past gorgeous scenery and rolling vineyards. Then, make sure you stop for some wine at one or two of the wineries. If you’re a passenger, don’t drink too much, though. This route has some twists and turns!

In addition to stopping at fantastic wine tasting rooms, you can also take a break with some apple picking. Gowans Heirloom Ciders in Philo is one of the oldest orchards in California, the perfect spot for a refreshing apple cider break!

Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway)

Approximately 5 Hours Minimum

Golden Gate Bridge

Highway 1 is a longer, more scenic route than the Highway 101-128 route. Start your road trip to Mendocino at the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. This famous landmark is between the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. What better way to venture through the Golden State than by starting at the towering Golden Gate Bridge. While you’re there, you can hike, bike, shop, or take a guided tour!

Point Reyes Shipwreck

Explore Point Reyes Shipwreck in Inverness, CA, as you trek up the coast. It’s about 20 minutes out of the way, but it’s interesting enough to make the detour. The wreck is an abandoned fishing boat that washed up on shore, but it makes for a phenomenal photo op!

Pointe Arena Lighthouse and Museum

Pointe Arena Lighthouse is a must if you’re looking for history and nature. Pass through Pointe Arena, CA, during winter or spring, and you may even spot some gray whales migrating as you overlook the ocean. The lighthouse is open every day except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Adults can get into the museum and take a tour for $8. 

You’ve Arrived in Mendocino, California!

Stay With Inn at Schoolhouse Creek

Park your car at the charming Inn at Schoolhouse Creek in Mendocino. Our contemporary cottages are conveniently located along the Pacific Ocean, so that you can have the best view of the rugged, California coastline. Settle into one of our cottages and head out for a day of exploration with your friends, family, and pets. Mendocino is full of exciting outdoor recreation, just waiting to be taken head-on. What are you waiting for? Check our availability and book your Mendo getaway today!

Pacific Room's bedroom view