We took a quick overnight trip to Fort Bragg a couple of weeks ago and the California coast gets me every single time. It makes me never want to move away from Northern California! I had fairly low expectations on this trip, so I was pleasantly surprised all along the way and loved it all. This was our last trip as a family of five before we have our baby in the next couple of weeks.
We made it out to Mendocino Headlands State Park, went to Seaside Creek Beach in Fort Bragg, then to Glass Beach in Fort Bragg that evening, and ended our trip the next day at Montgomery Woods State Preserve. All of it was absolutely perfect, especially with small kids.
Mendocino Headlands State Park had a beach that we discovered and we wished that we had planned more time there for hanging out at the beach. Seaside Creek Beach was perfect for us. Even though the parking lot is small, the beach was pretty empty and we had no trouble finding a spot. Glass Beach definitely did not disappoint. We made sure to go the "hard" way on the path, but it wasn't hard at all. I had read that there is more glass if you go that way, and while I don't know what the easy route offers, we found plenty of glass. We also spotted some sea lions, which was quite exciting! We ended the day with Cowlick's Ice Cream, and that was so delicious!
The next morning, we went to Montgomery Woods State Preserve. Unless you intend to go here, you won't just drive past it. It was stunning (Redwood trees always are) and I am so glad we took the time to go and enjoy ourselves. I think there were 10 people total in the preserve when we were there (and we accounted for half that number!). We felt like we would spy an Ewok at any moment and the kids had a great time running around and exploring. It was a great way to get some energy out before heading home.
Mendocino Headlands State Park
Seaside Creek Beach
I have had a few people ask about why there is glass at this beach. In the early 1900s this was a dump. Garbage trucks would unload all the trash here and over years and years, all the glass from broken bottles has worn down and is now smooth pieces. I am glad it isn't a dump anymore, but it sure makes for a neat place to visit!
Montgomery Woods State Preserve
If you didn't plan on coming here, it isn't exactly a place you would just drive by and decide to stop. It is a magical wonderland full of giant Redwoods just waiting to be explored. It made for the perfect ending to our quick trip.