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Fort Bragg, California
Fort Bragg, California | © Prayitno / Flickr

7 Reasons to Visit California's Fort Bragg

Picture of Deanna Morgado
Updated: 6 March 2018

Just as the California Redwoods end and the Pacific Ocean begins, is the town of Fort Bragg. California Historical Landmark, Fort Bragg’s military past has evolved into a vintage coastline town that has adopted a culture of its own. Keep reading to discover seven reasons why you should visit California’s Fort Bragg.

Shop historic downtown

Downtown Fort Bragg once housed troops of soldiers, pre-American Civil War. Today, the area is a hub of locally-owned small businesses consisting of clothing boutiques, eateries, a sea glass museum, and even a historic tattoo parlor that’s been in business for over 30 years. The Pacific Ocean serves as a backdrop as downtown presses against a cliffside overlooking the coast.


Dinner at North Coast Brewing Company in Fort Bragg | © Ethan Prater / Flickr

Outdoor activities

Fort Bragg is a charmingly quiet town. However, outdoor excitement awaits with kayaking, boating, and other all-level water sports at the Noyo River. The shorelines make for adventurous mornings and afternoons made up of horseback riding at Ricochet Ridge Ranch, while the following day could be spent on ATV rentals and sunbathing on the Noyo Harbor.

Boat returning to Noyo Harbor near dusk

Boat returning to Noyo Harbor near dusk | © Don DeBold / Flickr

The California Redwoods

Fort Bragg is a part of Mendocino County, known for its California Redwood forests. Finding places to hike through these beautiful trees is as easy as it comes in Fort Bragg. MacKerricher State Park offers longs hikes with birdlife and camping only three miles from downtown, while biking along the designated trails within the state park brings on a change of oceanic scenery to colossal redwoods and open meadows.


Backroad adventure | © Kirt Edblom / Flickr

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is a blooming space for tranquillity and nature. The gardens feature acres of greenery, trails, and ocean views that bloom year-round. There’s a garden cafe, an on-site sculpture gallery to explore, and horticulture classes that range from turning compost into a rich garden to soil education taught by a three-time prestigious Chelsea Flower Show winner. These factors have won the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens recognition as it was named one of the Top 10 Botanical Gardens in the U.S.


The Water Dragon at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens | © a200/a77Wells / Flickr

Glass Beach

Glass Beach boasts the highest concentration of sea glass in the world. After years of glass being dumped along Fort Bragg’s northern coastline, the rough ocean tides dulled the razor-edged shards into harmless colored crystals to create Glass Beach. To take any glass from the beach is against the law as the area is a part of MacKerricher State Park, but the array of cloudy green, blue, and clear sea glass serves as a scenic photo op.


Colored sea glass at Glass Beach | © mamojo / Flickr

While Glass Beach is what most people think of when imagining Fort Bragg, the town is a seaside epicenter. A beach can be found in every direction from town, from the near uninhibited Pudding Creek to the riverside Van Damme Beach and the tucked away Hidden Beach. As a town planted right on the coast, these beaches make up the beginning of the list of sandy shores in Fort Bragg.


The bridge in Fort Bragg, California | © Prayitno / Flickr | © Prayitno / Flickr

All pets allowed

Fort Bragg is a town that welcomes both humans and pets. Many parks and beaches have lots of off-leash play areas while pet-friendly hotels and groomers line the streets of Fort Bragg to create a pet-friendly hub. The famous Skunk Train that traverses through the region’s meadows, forests, and historic sights allows furry friends on board as well.


Fort Bragg is a pet-friendly hub | © Airwolfhound / Flickr