It would truly be a shame to visit Mendocino and not treat yourself to the soul-reviving experience of exploring the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. Tourists and experts agree that the 47 acres of lush Northern California verdure is an unparalleled delight. From the picturesque coastal bluffs to the surreal succulent garden and the indigenous mushroom groves, the Botanical Gardens is sure to have something for everyone in your family to enjoy – even the dog! The entire grounds are likely to take hours to fully appreciate, so plan on bringing a picnic or stopping in the garden café during your visit.
Widely regarded as a one of the country’s finest botanical gardens (USA Today ranked it #5 in the country in 2017), the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens comprises more than a dozen distinct plant life gardens. The Rhododendron garden, Heritage Rose garden, and Orchard are among fan favorites. Other attractions include a wheelchair-accessible trail which spans a 1.2-mile loop, winding past tranquil creeks, spanning the beautiful coastal prairie, and peaking at the magical coastal bluffs. Additional trails break off from the main loop for guests with wandering spirits.
Whether you seek a peaceful retreat with the family, an afternoon to connect with nature, an opportunity to learn about Northern California wildlife and ecology, or you intend to discover the subject of your next work of art – Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens will undoubtedly inspire. The grounds are open year-round, and the reasonable admission goes directly back into maintaining the non-profit gardens and amenities.
Remember to check their website for special events as well! The annual summer Art in the Gardens festival features fine art, live music, food and beverages in addition to access to the spectacular grounds. Each winter, the gardens are transformed into an enchanting, sparkling footpath for the Festival of Lights, complete with a cozy tent to enjoy live music, refreshments, and spirits to warm up. The gardens are also available for workshops and wedding ceremonies.
If you’re not sure that you’ve got the energy for all 47 acres, you can still get a taste for the grounds by dining at Rhody’s Garden Café, which is open to the public for lunch seasonally. Dine-in at a table alongside the perennial gardens or enjoy your meal outside on a garden picnic bench. The menu consists of a unique selection of homemade soups, organic salads made with home-grown vegetables, creative paninis and locally-sourced desserts. Rhody’s is proud to feature sweet treats from Mendocino businesses such as Cowlick’s Ice Cream.
Perhaps the most special thing about the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is the community of people who are invested in preserving the beauty of the grounds, educating and inspiring visitors, and keeping the non-profit organization thriving. In addition to an active and devoted board of directors and a highly engaged staff, the grounds and amenities at the Gardens are nurtured by over 350 annual volunteers and The Friends of the Gardens, which consists of 100 supporters who provide substantial sponsorship.
The magnificent Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens represent the pride that this northern coastal community takes in preserving and honoring the beauty of their habitat. It is certainly an essential stop for visitors seeking an authentic Mendocino experience.