Family Friendly Travel in Fort Bragg, Mendocino Coast

Families Enjoying White Sands of Jug Handle State Reserve Beach Whether you ride the Skunk Train through the redwoods or horses on the beach, there is plenty to keep both kids and parents moving at a full gallop for a weekend or a week. Because the city of 6,000 is small, it’s easy to get around with everything within minutes of a motel, inn or campground.

Seventeen family-friendly activities:

1. Beachcomb at Glass Beach – ocean-smoothed colored glass among the rocks and in the sand create the opportunity for a family treasure hunt.

2. Explore a lighthouse – the restored 1909 Point Cabrillo Light Station (two museums and gift shop) offers a tide pool exhibit for families and a surrounding 300-acre nature preserve for hiking and viewing wildlife. Look for seals, sea lions, whales, birds, and deer.

3. Visit a rare pygmy forest – Jug Handle State Reserve is one of few places in the world where you find miniature trees whose growth is stunted by nutrient poor, acidic soil. Mostly a level walk through giant redwoods to a boardwalks that leads you safely through the delicate pygmies. The small sandy beach at Jug Handle is one of the safest for children. Still, it’s a good idea to be watchful and keep hold of kids near the water at all times.

Skunk Train heading to the redwoods4. Ride the train – the historic Skunk Train will carry you through the redwoods, stopping for a barbecue at the turnaround. Details at

5. Ride horses on Ten-Mile Beach or in Jackson State Forest from Lari Shea’s Ricochet Ranch, a couple of miles north of downtown.

6. Play mini-golf at the Emerald Dolphin Mini Golf Course on Highway 1 near Highway 20.

7. Picnic in the small sandy coves at Ten-Mile Beach, the shores of Cleone Lake at MacKerricher State Park and or on the bluffs at Pomo Bluffs Park (with its paved walkway or wheelchairs or strollers). All provide a perfect setting for an outdoor lunch.

8. Watch whales, catch crabs, fish or view sea birds from a Noyo Harbor charter boat.

9. Walk or ride bikes across the new Pudding Creek Trestle Bridge along the paved Haul Road for a few minutes or a few hours, watching wildlife and wild waves along the way.

10. See ice cream being made at Cowlick’s Ice Cream Cafe on Main Street (call 962-9271 for schedule).

11. Explore the gardens and have lunch and or Cowlick’s ice cream at the 47-acre Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. Trail to the ocean. Signs to help you spot birds. GardenByThe <http://www.GardenByThe>

12. Watch the dogs playing inside the new fenced, off-leash dog park.
13. Let the kids play at Wiggly Piggly Playground (free), on Laurel Street, across from the Fort Bragg Library, 499 Laurel at Whipple.
14. Attend the bilingual children’s storytime on Thursdays, 11:30 – 12, at the Fort Bragg Library. Or participate in the summer reading program each Thursday at 11.
15. Bowl at Noyo Bowl a few blocks north of downtown Fort Bragg.
16. Play video games in the old bank vault at Figueirdo’s Video Movies on Franklin Street.
17. Kayak with Liquid Fusion Kayaking on Noyo River or along the coast (children must be at least 50 pounds to participate); 684-9459.

Fort Bragg also offers a wide range of family-style restaurants whether the kids are hungry for pizza, burgers or sandwiches. The local six-screen cinema regularly shows family-rated movies and, of course, serves popcorn.




Lost Coast to Fort Bragg

Jackson State Forest • Inland


Caspar • Point Cabrillo • Mendocino

Little River • Albion • Navarro


Elk • Point Arena • Gualala