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Road Trip from San Francisco to Mendocino

Mendocino Headlands State Park

For her, the ocean was more than a dream, it was a place she needed to visit to find herself. And when she returned to the city, you could see the sun in her eyes, the wind in her hair, and taste the infinite salt on her lips. – Jose Chaves

Mendocino is a quaint little town on the coast of Northern California that I had been dying to visit for so long. It finally came to fruition last month and I am so glad we got a chance to visit. Mendocino is a perfect weekend getaway from San Francisco and is a perfect road trip with many fun stops in between. 


The drive to Mendocino is incredible. While some people take the coastal route through Hwy 1, we took the equally beautiful drive through wine country and Hwy 101. You will get to visit the quaint town of Healdsburg in Sonoma County. Once past Sonoma County, the road gets windier and the forests denser leading to more wineries in Anderson Valley. Even though the drive is about 4 hours, strategic stops make the drive enjoyable.


We stopped at Healdsburg for a quick snack and got a chance to do yet another activity that I’ve always wanted to do – tea tasting. Yes, lots of aromatic, exotic, herbal, green, blended teas. What an experience it was! Tea tasting is very much like wine tasting. I thoroughly enjoyed the floral aromas and dark tea tannins! Healdsburg is another cute little town in Sonoma County that is a must visit for anyone but especially for wine lovers!

Wine tasting in Anderson Valley

Another beautiful stop if you are a wine aficionado is the Anderson Valley. Anderson Valley has gained prominence in the wine world recently and was even dubbed as the Burgundy of California! Their Pinot Noirs and Whites are a perfect accompaniment on a summer day like the one we had visited. What fun it was to get lost in the vineyards while sipping wine…

Lunch at “The Bewildered Pig”

We also found a hidden gem in Anderson Valley – a restaurant called The Bewildered Pig. I cannot recommend it enough! The ambience, service, food, decor, everything was amazing and trendy. Each ingredient chosen seemed to be top notch and full of flavor. 

The olives, almonds and cheese platter paired with a crisp Moscofilero wine was so good; even the pepper tasted fresh and delicious! And the salad pictured below had about 100 or more ingredients carefully picked from the nearby forests. I cannot rave enough about it. We talked to the owner and the chef and you can tell how passionate they are about this restaurant. A MUST visit for food lovers or just anyone!


Finally let’s talk about Mendocino.

A few things I would like to mention about it:

The town itself is cute and quaint. It is very peaceful and perfect escape from the chaos of the city.

Mendocino Headlands State Park

Walk along the Mendocino Headlands State Park and watch a mesmerizing sunset in the evening.

Mendocino Botanical Gardens

Check out the Botanical Gardens for a variety of exotic and native plants.

If you visit the gardens, don’t forget to visit the Dahlia garden for a chance to see a mix of beautiful Dahlias.

Fort Bragg and Glass Beach

Or drive further north to Fort Bragg and explore the coastal towns.

There’s art in every corner of the town, you just have to look.

Food – Farm to table ingredients and incredibly flavorful dishes seemed the norm in every restaurant we ate. I tried a fancy vegan restaurant for the first time and really enjoyed it! Whether you are meat lover or vegan, you will love the food in Mendocino.

Lots of things to do in Mendocino but so little time. There’s always next time I guess! 🙂


woman in sunflower field

Hi there!

I am Aswani Kurra. I am an engineer, dreamer and part-time wanderlust, writer and wine lover. I always had an urge to write, create and travel. So I created this space to satisfy my creative itch and combine all my skills to help you plan your Charming Escape.

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  1. Valmir Almenara on October 11, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    Great!!! Love your pictures, comments and the place.


    • Aswani on October 12, 2017 at 12:36 pm

      Thank you for the kind of words, Valmir! It was great fun.

  2. Ramya on October 12, 2017 at 2:24 am

    Been in California couple of times but never even heard of these places… the Vineyard and garden is full of life❤️ And that sunset is amazing…. #sunsetsnevergetold
    Thanks for sharing about this beautiful place!!

    • Aswani on October 12, 2017 at 12:34 pm

      Thank you Ramya! Mendocino is a bit of a drive but very beautiful and picturesque. You should check it out next time you are here. I am sure you will love it!

  3. Lisa Hofeling on June 25, 2023 at 5:51 am

    I love all your photos but the dahlias and those colorful grasses really got me! I love your outfits and all your pics. I’ve never felt I was a landscape photographer – I prefer portraits in beautiful environments, so your work is right up my alley. I have to say I’m super jealous of all the trips that you’ve gone on because I would love to do everything on your blog! If you ever need a photographer because your husband is busy with your child or something I’m so down to be your photographer road trip buddy! Which is probably weird! Anyway, love you pics! Best, Lisa IG: RWCLisaMarie

    • Aswani on August 8, 2023 at 5:01 am

      haha. Thank you, appreciate it. 🙂

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