Luxury holidays in Fort Bragg

Set along NorCal’s blustery, Pacific-battered coast, Fort Bragg in Mendocino County is a former military garrison and lumber town turned cosmopolitan road-tripping stop. Now a California Historical Landmark, it retains plenty of 19th-century charm even if signs of a century’s worth of gentrification have crept in – say, at the Company Store building that once supplied labourers with basic provisions and now showcases picks from Mendocino County’s growing wine scene and delicacies from local farms. The city is perhaps best known for Glass Beach, where colourful grains can be found amid the sands (there’s a local museum dedicated to finds too). And, the coast and Noyo River provide wonderful opportunities for ridgeway hikes (to see whales in season), kayaking and following the Noyo River Headlands trail, to learn about the native Pomo tribe who once resided here. The redwoods grow tall and mighty here too and there are volcanoes to – safely – explore as well. And, when you’re done with hiking, you can steam through the forest on the historic Skunk Train.

When to go

Fort Bragg’s Mediterranean-style climate means that it stays temperate year round, although it does get a little cooler along this stretch of Cali coast in the winter. Visit in January and you can join the revels at the Mendocino crab, beer and wine festival.

Getting there

  • Planes

    The closest travel hub is the domestic Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport, just over a two-hour drive away. Flights arrive direct here from major US cities (although New Yorkers and those arriving from outside the US will need to stopover). Alternatively, fly into the international airports at San Francisco or Sacramento (both just under a four-hour drive away).
  • Trains

    Aside from the Skunk Train, which doesn’t really cater to commuters, the closest is Santa Rosa Downtown station, a two-and-a-half-hour drive away.
  • Automobiles

    This legendary stretch of Route 1 is prime coastal-cruising territory, and as this is the only main artery going through Fort Bragg, having a car is pretty much essential. If you drive up from San Fran you’ll have the lush green winelands to your right and the cliff-crashing Pacific to your left – awe-inspiring stuff.