The Mendocino and Sonoma Coast is a great place to spend a couple days, or a couple of months.  There's a little something here for everyone, including fishing, hiking, golf, photography, wine tasting, day spas, art galleries and just relaxing.  Here is some information to help you plan your vacation.  All links will open in a new window.

Places To Stay

Seacliff Motel
Whale Watch Inn
Point Arena Lighthouse
Coast Guard House
Sea Ranch Escape Vacation Homes
B Bryan Preserve
Timber Cove Inn

Places To Camp

Salt Point State Park
Ocean Cove
Gualala River Park
Anchor Bay Campground
Manchester Beach KOA
Manchester Beach State Park

Please camp in an organized campground.  County sheriff's deputies as well as the California Highway Patrol watch for illegal camping, and will write you a citation for it.  Just "picking a random spot that looks nice" like some books recommend could get you in all kinds of trouble with wild animals, or private property owners.

Fishing and Abalone Diving

Check with the California Department Of Fish And Wildlife for what is currently in season.  Unfortunately, there are several areas on the Mendocino and Sonoma coastline that are closed to all fishing.  There are certain areas that are closed to some, but not all, fishing.

Maps Of Closed And Restricted Areas With GPS Coordinates

Know the current abalone regulations!  Violations are very expensive.  They are taken very seriously by the local courts.  There really are people serving time in the local county jails for abalone poaching.  It's much cheaper and safer in the long run to just stay legal. 

California Department Of Fish & Wildlife's Abalone Page

Fishing tackle, abalone gear, and licenses can be purchased at Gualala Sport & Tackle, Jay Baker-True Value Hardware, and S&B Market.  Everyone over the age of 16 needs a fishing license to fish in fresh water, salt water, and from the shore.  You don't need a license to fish from the Point Arena Pier.

2014 Ocean Sportfishing Regulations

Boat Launches are available at the following locations.  Some are free.  Some have launch fees.  Some are seasonal in operation.  Some close before sunset.  Please call ahead and make sure before making any plans on launching your boat on the Mendocino or Sonoma coast.

Bodega Bay (ramps)
Timber Cove (hoist)
Ocean Cove (ramp)
Anchor Bay Beach (kayaks, Zodiacs, and boats that can be launched over a beach by hand)
Arena Cove - Point Arena Pier (hoist)
Albion Harbor (ramps)
Fort Bragg/Noyo Harbor (ramps)

Sportfishing boats depart from Fort Bragg and Bodega Bay to fish for whatever is in season.  Depending on the time of year, they target salmon, albacore, rockfish, lingcod, dungeness crab, sanddabs, Humboldt squid, and halibut.

Many of the local rivers also have closed sections, seasons, and special restrictions.  Know the regulations and areas before you go out.  The fines can be very steep, and ignorance of the fish and game regulations is not an acceptable excuse in the eyes of the judge.

Most importantly, never, ever turn your back on the ocean.  It's very cold, the currents are very strong, and you could be a very long way from help.  Plus, many beaches don't have cell phone reception.


Many excellent wines are produced in Mendocino County.  Locally, we have the Annapolis Winery.  Their Zinfandel Port won a Gold Medal at the 2012 San Fransisco Wine Competition.  They offer tastings from 12:00pm until 5:00pm Wednesday through Sunday.  Their facilities are also available for weddings and special events.

More award-winning vineyards are located just about 60 minutes from Gualala in the Anderson Valley along scenic Highway 128.  They all offer tastings and tours of their facilities.  Many have seasonal events and festivals that are open to the public.

Here's a list, in no particular order, of some of the vineyards you'll find along Highway 128 in Mendocino County.  Most of them are open daily for tastings.  Remember to designate a driver!

Handley Cellars


Greenwood Ridge



Toulouse Vineyards



Lula Cellars


Maple Creek

Phillips Hill Estates

Zina Hyde Cunningham

Claudia Springs

Londer Vineyards

Meyer Family Cellars

Roederer Estate (sparkling wine)

Scharffenberger (sparkling wine)

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