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Your guide to Fort Bragg
All About Fort Bragg
On Northern California’s remote Mendocino Coast, the town of Fort Bragg is sandwiched between redwood forests and the roaring Pacific Ocean, making it the perfect escape for anyone craving a date with nature. Unlike its more upscale neighbor, Mendocino, Fort Bragg celebrates its rugged spirit, earned from its years as a center of the region's timber trade. Instead of fine art galleries and wine bars, you’ll find vintage shops and craft beer halls — also, fewer crowds.
Not to be confused with the military installation of the same name, Fort Bragg is located near two nature reserves: MacKerricher State Park and Marine Conservation Area, which is north of town, and the Mendocino Woodlands State Park, lying just inland. Both are loaded with hiking and mountain biking trails, and MacKerricher’s coastal park allows for kayaking and whale-watching during migration season. Fort Bragg is also home to one of the region’s most famous beachcombing spots, Glass Beach. As a California Historic Landmark, the town holds an important place in the state's logging industry. You can experience Fort Bragg’s past and present on an historic train ride through the area's valleys, meadows, and forests.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Fort Bragg
The northern Pacific Coast climate of Fort Bragg includes drastic weather swings between the seasons. From May to September, temperatures are pleasantly warm, with minimal chances of rainfall, creating optimal conditions for ocean kayaking and hiking, making summers a great time to book a vacation rental in Fort Bragg.
For events and festivals, the shoulder seasons provide most of the region's offerings. The Mendocino Whale Festival takes place in the latter half of March. It includes beer and wine tastings from local producers, delicious chowder and seafood, and fantastic opportunities to check out the bands of migratory whales that pass through the area. The winter sees temperatures fall dramatically along with an increased chance of rain. Be sure to bring a waterproof jacket if visiting during this time to avoid getting wet.
Top things to do in Fort Bragg
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
This 47-acre garden is open year-round, with over four miles of walking trails and more than a dozen different plant collections that bloom throughout the year. The gardens also host regular events, such as yoga, plant sales, and bird-watching groups.
A former trash dump, Glass Beach is now a part of the MacKerricher State Park, and one of the most popular destinations on the Mendocino Coast. Years of ocean weathering have eroded the remaining glass into smooth, colorful pieces that intermingle with the natural pebble beach. Removing glass from the park is illegal, but hiking along the water’s edge is a great way to get an eye full. A Sea Glass Museum also resides in town for a better look at some of the more remarkable pieces of glass recovered from the area.
Fort Bragg Coastal Trail
This newly constructed hiking trail extends for miles along the coast to the north and south of town. Tracing dramatic sea bluffs, secluded beaches, and dense coastal forests, the Fort Bragg Coastal Trail is an easy hike for various fitness levels. In addition to the hikers, you can also find bikers and those pushing strollers due to the relatively flat and easily traversable pathways.