Hotel at a Glance: Inn at Schoolhouse Creek
Every ocean-view room and cottage at the Inn at Schoolhouse Creek looks out on the rugged shoreline of the Mendocino Coast. The winner of a 2013 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor as well as a GreenLeaders recognition, the inn is set back just a few feet from a steep cliff leading to the beach.
- $50 breakfast credit: Put it to good use at Circa 62 Restaurant, which serves delicious dishes from 8 a.m.–10 a.m. daily.
- Creekside Spa: Housed in a Yurt surrounded by trees, the spa provides massages, spa treatments, and access to a hot tub and dry sauna.
- In-room amenities: private decks, gas fireplaces, and free WiFi; jacuzzis, hot tubs, or whirlpool soaking tubs in some units.
- Outdoor activities: There's plenty to do during your stay, from taking a bike ride up the coast to investigating the secluded Buckhorn Cove.
- Warm welcome: Guests are greeted with wine and cookies at check-in.
Mendocino Coast, California: Small Towns near Scenic Oceanfront and Redwood Forests
Located about three hours north of San Francisco, Northern California’s Mendocino Coast is a region filled with tiny towns, art colonies, and varied terrain. Within a few minutes of one another are sunlit valleys, fertile vineyards, rocky headlands blanketed by fog, and serene forests of old-growth redwoods. The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens showcase the area’s geographical diversity through its native rhododendrons, prickly succulents, and colorful blooms stretching to the ocean.
Because of its scenic land- and seascapes, the coast is popular with painters, who gather in artists' collectives such as the Mendocino Art Center. To see the land that inspires the artwork, head to Russian Gulch, Mendocino Headlands, or any of the region’s other coastal state parks. At Mendocino Headlands, crashing waves have carved beautiful arches, grottos, and stony bluffs, while MacKerricher State Park north of Fort Bragg contains dramatic sand dunes.
Although normally quiet, the region comes alive for a series of whale festivals every March and April, when California gray whales pass by the coast as they migrate from Mexico to Alaska. You'll find one of the best vantage points for whale watching at Point Cabrillo Light Station, a lonely lighthouse first lit in 1909.