Family-Friendly Hotel with Mini-Golf Course near Mendocino Coast
Bordered by Pacific coastal bluffs, Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is a nature lover's paradise. The nearly 50-acre habitat spans canyons, wetlands, and evergreen forests sprouting with rhododendrons, lilies, cacti, and wild mushrooms. An afternoon wandering the garden takes you past hundreds of species of birds that are native to the Mendocino Coast. Just a mile north, Emerald Dolphin Inn is a family-friendly hotel and a convenient home base for visiting the gardens, as well as the Mendocino Coast's legendary redwood forests, tide pools, and state parks.
From Emerald Dolphin Inn, you can easily walk to the rocky bluffs that overlook the Pacific Ocean, and it’s well worth it. Beaches are typically less crowded here than on Southern California’s part of the coast, and several offshore rocks make Fort Bragg an official gateway to explore the California Coastal National Monument. The hotel seems to embrace the relaxed spirit that the nearby coastline exudes. Guest rooms are simply decorated with unfussy décor and warm emerald tones. There’s also an onsite Club House filled with arcade games, and guests have unlimited access to the hotel’s 18-hole mini-golf course.
Fort Bragg, California: Coastal Bluffs and Colorful Sea-Glass Beaches near Redwood Forests
Located on northwest California’s Pacific Coast, Fort Bragg was founded as a military port before the Civil War. Its rocky shores now welcome thousands of tourists year-round. Just a 10-minute drive north from Emerald Dolphin Inn is the popular Glass Beach, which earned its name for the smooth, colorful sea glass that’s strewn along the shoreline. The beach is the result of garbage—from automobile parts to glass bottles—that had been dumped into the Pacific from 1906 to 1967. The ocean slowly eroded the trash, transforming it into smooth glass that began to wash up on this beach.
To explore Fort Bragg, you can bike over the Pudding Creek Trestle, a redwood bridge built in 1916 for local trains, or hop on the historical [Skunk Train] (http://www.skunktrain.com/). The train chugs along the Mendocino Coast, past massive redwood trees and overgrown toothpicks (ask the hotel concierge about discounted tickets). For another look at Northern California’s famous redwoods, take an hour drive southeast to Montgomery Woods State Reserve, where trees have reached record-breaking heights of 378 feet tall.