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Living a Beach Lifestyle in Mendocino, California

 Mendocino is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the Golden State. This tiny town in northern California has a population just over 800, many of them artists. Most people come to see the unbelievable cliffs and rocks that tower over the raging Pacific Ocean below.  There are some beaches in this area but they tend to be wild with big surf and huge cliffs above them. Previously a logging town, Mendocino has been the site of the Mendocino Music Festival since the 1880's, and features a classically-based  series of concerts held annually near the Mendocino Headlands State Park. The town attracted most of its fame by being the setting for 9 episodes of the TV mystery series, "Murder, She Wrote". Photos courtesy of Wikipedia and Jef Poskanzer.

Where to Retire in Mendocino and Home Prices

You can live in town or nearby, although flat land becomes very rare as you move away from the coast. Mendocino is home to many fine homes that date back to its early days. One of those is the William Henry Kelly House, a splendid Victorian at the corner of Main and Albion Streets, overlooking the Big River and Mendocino Bay.
Homes are expensive in Mendocino, with Zillow reporting the Median Home Value to be $997,050 in late 2022.

What Is Special about Mendocino

Trip Advisor named Mendocino one of its top tourist destinations. Its stunning beauty and state parks like Mendocino Headlands State Park give it unusually natural beauty.  The interesting artist community and wonderful shopping make it attractive as well. Blair House is a lovely B & B overlooking the Pacific that was the star of "Murder, She Wrote".

What Is Not Special about Mendocino

Retirement in Mendocino has some drawbacks. For one, it is very expensive. For another, it is quite small and a tourist town. And lastly, it is very hard to get to, involving a switchback laden drive along the coast or over the coastal mountains.

Climate and Physical Environment

Mendocino sits on a headlands overlooking the Pacific in northern California. The weather is heavily influenced by the Pacific and is quite temperate. The average July high is 67 and the average Jan low is 41.  January is the wettest month with over 7" of rain.  April through Oct are quite dry.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

As one might expect for an upscale tourist destination in California wine country, Mendocino has its share of excellent restaurants.  Top rated restaurants include the Mendocino Cafe, Cafe Beaujolais, and the Moose Cafe. In addition to the Mendocino Music Festival in July, there are other festivals throughout the year such as the Symphony of the Redwoods in September, the Mendocino Film Festival, and the Fisherman's Harbor and Seafood Festival. The work of loca artists are displayed in many galleries.


There is not much crime other than tourist-related incidents in upscale Mendocino.

Medical Facilities

The Mendocino Coast District Hospital is about 16 miles away in Fort Bragg.


Transportation is a weakness of living in Mendocino, which involves twisty roads along the coast or over the mountains. The nearest major airport is located in Santa Rosa about 100 miles away. The nearest international airport is in Oakland, about 170 miles from Mendocino.

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