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2022 Big Trip: Mendocino Coast Thurs March 24 to Sunday March 27

Published on 2/28/2022
Mendocino Coast - Chairs and Arched Stack

PACC 2022 Big Field Trip: Mendocino Coast - Thurs, March 24 to Sun March 27

Places we Photographed
Mendocino 2022 Place

Our Beach Fire at Sunset

Mendocino 2022 Beach Fire

Out taking Photos

Mendocino 2022 People

The Field Trip was well received, we had 20 people attending.  Above are photos taken during the trip, the better photos are being held to win in future competitions



This trip is a social and photography event suitable for PACC members and non-photographer guests & family members - with additional opportunities for drone photography, hiking, golf, tennis, touring, and retail therapy.  

Non-photographer family members who may enjoy this field trip include children.  The Little River Inn is our "official" lodging for this field trip.  The Little River Inn has rooms that accommodate dogs as well.  You may also find lodging in the town of Mendocino (about 5 minutes away) or Ft Bragg (15 minutes away)

As with previous Big Field Trips, this trip is designed to enjoy for 1, 2, 3 or 4 days - whichever fits your schedule and preferences.

This Field Trip description covers the following topics:

  1. How to best enjoy this Field Trip
  2. Prime Places for Photography
  3. Social Events
  4. Other non-photography Activities
  5. Lodging and sites for nighttime gatherings

How to Best Enjoy this trip

  1. If you plan to stay overnight for one or more nights, stay at the Little River Inn (or use lodging in Mendocino or the Van Damme State Park camping).  This will make it easier for you to join our social events and meet with other people on this trip.  To do this you will need to book your reservations early. 

  2. Stop at one or two of the Anderson Valley wineries for a tour, tasting and picnic lunch on the day you drive from the Bay Area.  This will start your "arrival" about 30-45 minutes sooner on your 3 1/2 hour drive - without adding to your total drive time.  Visually, Anderson Valley is very different from the Mendocino coast.

  3. Join a group that will travel together for the entire trip, or just one day at a time. This group may be the people you carpool with from the Bay Area to Mendocino, or it could be other people you meet along the way on this trip.  Our group is too large and with too broad a photography interest for us to travel as a single group of 20 to 35 people from place to place.  Discuss with your group which places you want to go the next day.  I highly recommend carpool drivers invite PACC members they don't already know well to join your group for the day.

  4. Join in at least some of the scheduled social activities listed below - especially, the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden picnic lunch social on Saturday and the nightly gatherings - see the Social Events sections for details. 


Prime Places for Photography

  1. Mendocino Coastal Botanical Gardenare located on 47 acres in Fort Bragg, between California's Highway 1 and the Pacific Ocean. The garden property includes canyons, wetlands, coastal bluffs, a closed-cone pine forest, and picnic grounds on a beautiful coast. The Gardens comprise plant collections suited to its mild coastal Mediterranean climate and acidic soils including: Native forests and bluff plants, Heaths and Heathers, Rhododendrons, Camellias, Fuchsias, Dahlias, Magnolias, Maples, Succulents, Begonias and Conifers. The Heath and Heather collection is part of the National Plant Consortium. MCBG is also recognized as a conifer reference collection by the American Conifer Society.  YOU ARE REQUIRED TO PURCHASE TICKETS IN ADVANCE ONLINE or have proof of Membership in American Horticultural Society's Reciprocal Admissions Program.  Gamble Garden membership gives you membership in this program, but Filoli does not,   The gardens are open from 10am to 5pm.

    On Saturday, March 26 we have a picnic social at the coastal picnic grounds of the Mendocino Coastal Botanical Gardens 12:00 to 1:30pm

  2. Anderson Valley Wineries (along Highway 128) - You need to book in advance tours and tastings at most wineries, also the days of free tasting rooms are over (wineries generally allow two people to share a single tasting flight).  Wineries listed below are based on having an attractive setting, good wines and are open to tours and tastings.

    Most members will find the best times to visit Anderson Valley wineries are on the day you arrive and on the day you depart, as this will minimize unnecessary drive time.  These wineries are about a 30 minute drive from The Little River Inn.  Some of the wineries have picnic tables, so stopping at one of the wineries for lunch while traveling through could work very well.

    1. Roederer Estate in Philo, Calfornia.  Owned by Louis Roederer, the famous Champagne house that produces Cristal,  Roederer Estate produces everything in methode champenoise, and have a beautiful lineup of wines to taste as well as beautiful grounds.

    2. Domaine Anderson in Philo, Calfornia.  Also owned by Louis Roederer, is known for their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
    3. Scharffenberger Cellars in Philo, Calfornia.  Also owned by Louis Roederer, great sparkling wines made in a much more “California” style.

    4. Goldeneye Winery in Philo, Calfornia, owned by Duckhorn Vineyards, makes California style Pinot Noir and Vin Gris of Pinot Noir & Rosé

  3. Old Lighthouses - Point Cabrillo Light Station and Point Arena Lighthouse

    1. Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park.  Located on the Mendocino Coast, between Mendocino village and Fort Bragg, about halfway between Russian Gulch State Park and Caspar Beach, on Point Cabrillo Drive.

    2. Point Arena Lighthouse   in Mendocino County, California, United States, two miles north of Point Arena, California. It is located approximately 130 miles north of San Francisco in the Fort Point Group of lighthouses. The lighthouse features a small museum and giftshop. Guided tours of the light station as well as self-guided tours of the grounds are available daily.

  4. Town of Mendocino Mendocino is the only town on the California Coast that is designated as an Historical Landmark. Established in the 1850's, the architecture is reminiscent of Maine with its grand Victorians and quaint Saltbox cottages. Flowers grow lush and many of the Mendocino hotels offer beautiful gardens to enjoy. It has many shops and restaurant for a town of 1,000 people.

  5. Mendocino Headlands State Park surrounds the town of Mendocino.  Here is a brochure of Mendocino Headlands, Van Damme and Russian Gulch state parks with very useful information.

  6. Van Damme State Park is adjacent to the Little River Inn.  Van Damme habitats include marine, coastal beach, coastal bluff terrace, pygmy forest, redwood forest, and riparian, with wetlands areas farther inland. Bishop 
    pine and coastal redwoods grow along the river.  We will use the Van Damme Beach for a night time fire after dinner 

  7. Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve

  8. Gualala Point Regional Park

  9. Ten Mile Dunes

  10. Grounds of Little River Inn

Social Events

When we have dinners, we will generally do so with tables of up to 6 people at a table -as this is more conducive to conversation.  We will not have a room reserved for our group but will have tables mixed with other restaurant guests. 

  1. Thursday, Friday and Saturday after dinner gatherings at the Little River Inn or the beach at Van Damme State Park with a fire.

  2. Thursday, Friday and Saturday group Dinners at 5:30pm so people can take photos during Golden Hour with Sunset at 7:30pm,  Locations will be at Little River Inn, Town of Mendocino and Fort Bragg.  Depending upon responses to a survey, these dinners will be held at one or more locations on the same day.

  3. Saturday Picnic Lunch on the coast at the Mendocino Coastal Botanical Garden - bring your own food and drink.

  4. Gatherings for tennis or Pickleball  - we will have sign-up sheets for this, and the group can decide timing.  Likely to use the tennis courts at Little River Inn




Official Lodging - The Little River Inn

Little River Inn Ariel View

The Little River Inn  is the "official" lodging for this field trip

This was chosen due to its location on the coast, wide range in price for lodging ranging from very nice and moderate cost rooms, and more expensive luxury rooms and units suitable to families near the ocean. Parts of the resort welcome you to take your dog.  The place has a total of 65 rooms.

Use our group lodging discount code "PACC" when you make your reservation at The Little River Inn Website The "PACC" code will give you a discount and access to our block of rooms.  Reservations apply a 1 night deposit.  Note the cancelation policy for your reservation is as follows:

 - Canceled more than 7 days before booked arrival, your choice of 1)  Full Refund on your deposit LESS $30, or 2)  Full refund as a CREDIT on a future stay

 - Cancel less than 7 days before arrival there is no refund of your deposit 

There is lower cost lodging available in the area, including:

- Van Damme State Park for Camp Sites website . This state park is adjacent to the Little River Inn, but number of campsites is limited, so book early.

There are many inns, motels and hotels in nearby towns - which also provide a range of dining options

- Lodging in the town of Mendocino about a 10 minutes drive away from Little River Inn

- Lodging in Ft Bragg about 20 minute drive from Little River Inn

Remember to understand what the cancelation policy is for your booking wherever you book.

From The Little River Inn's Press Kit

Perched on the Pacific Ocean, Little River Inn is a classic coastal resort situated where the coast’s history and natural beauty meet. Commanding a lovely curve on the Mendocino coast, Little River Inn is one of the oldest lodgings on this dramatic stretch of the Northern California coastline. Facing the setting sun and surrounded by lush gardens, the property unfolds around the stately Victorian centerpiece originally built in 1857. Additional luxury units are located west of the Inn proper. Each room has an incredible view of the ocean and many feature fireplaces, wet bars, Jacuzzis, steam showers, and private hot tubs. Little River Inn gladly welcomes child travelers and those under 16 stay free. We also understand that sometimes family members have four feet instead of two and have many pet- friendly accommodations.

Situated on 225 wooded acres, the Little River Inn is now surrounded by 65 ocean view rooms, a dining room and bar, nine-hole golf course with pro shop, and day spa.

From the Little River Inn you can walk to Van Damme State Park or to Van Damme State Beach.

The Little River Inn Mendocino

Above photos are of The Little River Inn
Little River Inn Map