Are you planning a trip to Fort Bragg? Or maybe you’re a local looking for things to do in the area? Either way, I’ve got you covered! Located in Mendocino County, California, Fort Bragg is a beautiful coastal town that’s perfect for a weekend getaway. Not only is the scenery stunning, but there are also plenty of fun things to do in Fort Bragg that will keep you entertained. In this guide, I’ll share 21 of the best attractions and things to do in Fort Bragg you have to check out.
Things To Do In Fort Bragg
1. See The Glass Beach
If you had to choose just one thing to do in Fort Bragg, make it a visit to Glass Beach. Located at MacKerricher State Park, this beach is famous for its smooth, colorful sea glass that has been created over many years from the trash that was once dumped here.
Although it’s now protected, the beach is still covered in an array of colorful sea glass that has been smoothed and tumbled by the waves. It’s a beautiful sight and one of the unique things to see in Fort Bragg.
Therefore, you can take a short walk out and stroll among the sand and glass, take some photos, and simply enjoy the beauty of this special place. Just be aware that taking any glass from the beach is illegal, as people have been taking too much in recent years.
And being one of the famous spots in Fort Bragg, This beach is always busy with visitors. I suggest you visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.
Address: West Elm Street, Fort Bragg, California.
2. Discover The Beauty Of Mackerricher State Park
I don’t know if it’s the beautiful sunsets or the crashing waves against the rocky cliffs and sea stacks, but this state park is one of the most popular attractions in Fort Bragg. The coastline here is rugged and dramatic, making it a photographer’s dream come true.
But that’s not all. This state park is also a great place for whale watching. So if you wish to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, then the best time to visit is between late December and early February. However, sighting whales is possible all year round.
There are also plenty of things to do in the park; you can hike, camp, bird watch, beachcomb, and much more. You can also explore the many tide pools that exist here, home to a variety of marine life.
Address: 24100 Mackerricher Park Rd, Fort Bragg, CA 95437, United States.
3. Get Lost In Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
Since 1961, the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens have been open to the public, and wow, what a place it is. Located a few miles west of Fort Bragg on Highway 1, this is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Fort Bragg if you love flowers and gardens.
Today, the garden sits on a 47-acre bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and is home to more than 1,000 tender species and hybrid rhododendrons. They have beautiful winding pathways that take you through different themed gardens.
In addition, there are more than 180 bird species have been spotted in the gardens. This makes it a great place for birdwatchers or anyone who wants to enjoy a quiet day outdoors.
4. Ride The Skunk Train
Probably one of the coolest things to do in Fort Bragg with kids is a ride on the historic Skunk Train. In the 19th century, this train used to be the main method of transportation for residents and lumberjacks in the area. Today, it’s a heritage railway that still uses the original locomotives.
It was named the “Skunk Train” because of the sulfur smell that came from the engine. But thankfully, things have changed, and today you only get a whiff of history. The train travels through redwood forests and meadows from Fort Bragg to Willits, giving you some amazing views along the way.
There are two main options for riding the Skunk Train. You can take a scenic ride through the Pudding Creek Estuary or theredwood-lined Noyo River Canyon. Whatever you choose, you’re in for an amazing ride.
Address: 299 E. Commercial Street, Fort Bragg, California
5. Relax At Noyo Headlands Park
Opened in 2015, Noyo Headlands Park has become one of the popular spots in Fort Bragg for people looking to relax and take in the fresh air. Initially, this was a private property that had been owned by the Georgia-Pacific lumber company.
But it was donated to the City of Fort Bragg in order to create this lovely public park and coastal trail. You can wander through the various pathways, relax on the grassy areas, or even take a seat on one of the many benches that have been placed along the trail.
The views out to the coast are simply stunning, especially when the sun is setting. In fact, this is one of the most popular places in Fort Bragg to watch the sunset. It’s also a great place for whale watching; during the annual Gray Whale Migration (between December and February), you can often see these gentle giants from the shore.
Address: Fort Bragg, CA 95437, United States.
6. Hike The Fort Bragg Coastal Trail
Do you love hiking in stunning scenery with unending ocean views? The best place to do this in Fort Bragg is definitely the Fort Bragg Coastal Trail. This 2.3-mile (3.7km) out-and-back hike is very popular with hikers, dog walkers, and nature lovers.
This trail stretches from Pomo Bluffs all the way to MacKerricher State Park, following the rugged coastline. Along the way, you’ll have incredible views of the Pacific Ocean as well as opportunities to see some wildlife. The trail is also relatively flat and easygoing, making it perfect for all levels.
It took my friends and I about an hour and a half to complete the entire trail, but we often stopped to take photos and just soak in the views. So if you’re looking for free things to do in Fort Bragg, I recommend checking out this coastal trail.
7. Tour The Guest House Museum
The name doesn’t really entice you to visit. But this museum is actually one of the best places to visit in Fort Bragg. This building was initially built to entertain the guests and family of Johnson, the owner of Fort Bragg Redwood Company. It was built in 1892 using old-growth redwood lumber and is one of the oldest buildings in town.
Remarkable for its architectural style and beauty, the guest house was turned into a museum. Today, it houses permanent exhibits which relate to the history of the Mendocino Coast lumber industry.
Address: 343 North Main Street, Fort Bragg, California
8. Get Amazed At The Sea Glass Museum
Did you know that Fort Bragg has the world’s highest concentration of sea glass? So it only makes sense that one of the things to see in Fort Bragg is the Sea Glass Museum. More than 3,000 pieces of sea glass are on display, all in different colors and sizes. These glasses have been found on the beaches of Fort Bragg and Mendocino, as well as in other areas around Northern California. It’s pretty amazing to see what the sea has created out of what was once trash.
Address: 303 N Main St Ste F, Fort Bragg, CA 95437, United States.
9. Enjoy Wine Tour At Pacific Star Winery
When you travel, do you like to try the local wines where you go? I’m a big fan, and if that’s you, then you need to add Pacific Star Winery to your list of top things to do in Fort Bragg.
There are two reasons why I enjoyed my visit here. Firstly, this is the only winery perched right on Mendocino Coast, so you know the views are going to be stunning. Secondly, their wine is really good too. I’m not a huge red fan, but their Pinot Noir was fantastic, and I also enjoyed their Petite Sirah. The best part is that you can enjoy a wine tasting here for only $14, which includes five different wines. Just make sure to call ahead and reserve a space if you’re more than ten people.
Address: 33000 CA-1, Fort Bragg, CA 95437, United States.
10. Explore Jackson Demonstration State Forest
One place that I’ve really enjoyed getting to know more about is the Jackson Demonstration State Forest. It is a working forest, which means there are still active timber harvests occurring here, but it’s also open to the public for recreation.
There are lots of things to do in Jackson Demonstration State Forest; you can go camping, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and even taking a scenic ride. The tall redwood trees and incredible biodiversity make this an excellent place to explore and connect with nature.
There are 23 campgrounds located within the forest with a variety of amenities. So whether you’re looking for a rustic camping experience or something a little more comfortable, you can find it here.
Address: 802 N Main St, Fort Bragg, CA 95437, United States.
11. Take A Scenic Along The Pacific Coast Highway
You can’t come to California and not drive along the Pacific Coast Highway. And Fort Bragg is one of the prettiest sections, with its dramatic cliffside views. The drive starts south of Leggett in Fort Bragg, down to San Francisco. This is probably the calmest section of the journey as there is no traffic or many people.
Therefore, soak in the views, pull over at lookout points, and enjoy this drive. This is one of the best things to do in Fort Bragg you definitely can’t miss.
12. Relax By Pudding Creek Beach
You don’t have to spend your whole day at the beach to relax; a few hours is all you need. And Pudding Creek Beach is the perfect place to do just that. It’s a beautiful and secluded little beach where you can read your book, swim, build sandcastles, or just take a nap in the sun.
What impressed me the most about this beach was how clean it was. I didn’t see any trash or pollution, which is always a huge bonus. Plus, there were no crowds, which made it the perfect place to relax.
So if you’re looking for the perfect spot in Fort Bragg to relax and unwind, Pudding Creek Beach is it. I spent three hours here, and it was the highlight of my trip. There are also several trails nearby if you want to explore more of the coastline.
13. Watch A Movie At The Noyo Theatre
You’ll never be bored in Fort Bragg, as there’s always something going on. Therefore, I was surprised to find out that this sleepy little town had its own movie theatre. The Noyo Theatre is a historic landmark in Fort Bragg, built in 1940.
The schedule is always packed with new releases, so you can be sure to find a movie that you’ll enjoy. Check out what’s playing before you go, as there are also regular showings of classic movies.
I had the opportunity to watch a movie titled “Ticket to Paradise” while I was in town, and it was a great experience. The theatre is small but charming, and it’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon/evening if you’re looking for cool things to do in Fort Bragg.
Address: 57 E Commercial St, Willits, CA 95490, United States.
14. Explore Otis R. Johnson Wilderness Park
If you love nature, this is another one of the Fort Bragg attractions for you. The Johnson Wilderness Park is a great place to take a walk, have a picnic, or just explore and take in the fresh air.
This place is popular with locals and tourists alike, as it’s a fantastic place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and just relax in nature. The good thing is that the crowd is not always an issue, so it’s a great place to come for a peaceful day out.
My time here was spent exploring the walks and taking in the scenery; there are plenty of trees, bushes, and flowers to see. It’s a great place to come if you want to see some wildlife, as I spotted a few squirrels and birds during my visit.
The park is not that big, encompassing just over 7 acres. But it’s certainly worth a visit if you want to escape the city for a little while.
Address: Fort Bragg, CA 95437, United States
15. Take A Stroll Through Downtown Fort Bragg
It’s good to know that some things never change, and one of those things is the small-town feel of Fort Bragg. This is still a working town with a lot of charm, and taking a stroll down the main street is one of the best things to do in Fort Bragg.
The main action seems to be between Alder and Pine streets, where you’ll find a plethora of cute shops and eateries. There’s also a lot of public art to enjoy, and I definitely recommend visiting the Cake Shop if you have a sweet tooth.
There are also some interesting historical buildings and museums to check out along the way. They include Sea Glass Museum, Skunk Model Train Museum, Skunk Train Depot, and much more.
16. Appreciate The Works Of Local Artists At North Coast Artists Gallery
Take your time to explore the North Coast Artists Gallery and appreciate the work of local painters, sculptors, jewelers, woodworkers, and textile artists. The artists represented here are all from Mendocino County, and the gallery has been open since 1986. And as you browse, you’ll see different styles and mediums on display, making this a great place to explore if you’re interested in the arts.
A yearly event also takes place here to support local art, and it’s a great opportunity to meet the artists and learn more about their work. So don’t forget to include it on your list of fun places to visit in Fort Bragg.
Address: 362 N Main St, Fort Bragg, CA 95437, United States
17. Enjoy The Culinary Delights Of Fort Bragg
I always say that the best way to experience a destination is through its food, and that’s definitely true of Fort Bragg. While you’re here, indulge in some of the freshest seafood you’ve ever tasted. Remember, you’re right on the coast, so things don’t get much fresher than this.
So one of the best things to do in Fort Bragg is to visit one of the many markets held throughout the week. Here you can stock up on fresh, locally sourced produce as well as try things like freshly made jams, artisanal cheeses, and much more.
And if you’re looking for a Fort Bragg restaurant recommendation, head to Silver’s at the Wharf for some of the best seafood in town. The Dungeness crab is particularly delicious here, and you can enjoy it with sweeping views of the harbor. Another great option is Sea Pal Cove. This is a little more casual, but it’s still great for fresh seafood and beer.
18. Tour The Noyo Harbor
Ask anybody who’s been to Fort Bragg before, and they’ll tell you that a visit to the Noyo Harbor is one of the things you must do in Fort Bragg. This is one of the busiest fishing areas in Fort Bragg, and it’s always bustling with activity.
There are two things that make this harbor so special. First, it’s one of the few harbors that still supports a significant fishing fleet. Second, it’s the gateway to some of the best whale-watching and fishing expeditions.
In terms of things to do, you can take a fishing charter, go on a whale-watching tour, or just stroll around the harbor and watch the fisherman bring in their catch. There’s always something going on, and it’s a great place to get a taste of Fort Bragg’s fishing culture. No wonder it’s one of the most famous tourist attractions in Fort Bragg.
Address: 19101 S Harbor Dr, Fort Bragg, CA 95437, United States.
19. Go On A Whale Watching Tour With All Aboard Adventures
I’m a fan of any activity that gets me out on the water. So, of course, whale watching was high on my list of things to do in Fort Bragg. And what better way to do it than with All Aboard Adventures?
These guys have been taking people out on the water for over ten years to see the majestic California Grey Whale. Not only will you see whales (which is an amazing experience in and of itself), but you will also get an informative and fun commentary from the captain and crew.
All Aboard Adventures offers both whale watching tours, fishing, and crabbing expedition. So, if you want to do more than just watch whales, this is the perfect activity for you.
Address: 32410 N Harbor Dr, Fort Bragg, CA 95437, United States
20. Go Camping At Westport-Union Landing State Beach
One place you’ll definitely want to visit while in Fort Bragg is Westport-Union Landing State Beach. This beautiful beach stretches for 3 miles, making it the perfect spot for a day (or more) of relaxing. It’s not crowded like some of the nearby beaches, so you’ll be able to enjoy some time alone with your thoughts, a good book, or whomever you came with.
However, what most people come here for is the incredible camping. There are 85 campsites divided into three separate campgrounds for tents, trailers, and RVs. This means that there is a spot for everyone. All of the sites come with water, a picnic table, a fire ring, a pit toilet, and a trash receptacle, so you’ll be all set to make some great memories.
If you’re planning on doing some cooking, make sure to bring your food, as there are no stores nearby. There are also no hookups, so come prepared. All in all, camping here is one of the best things to do in Fort Bragg for anyone who loves the outdoors.
Address: 25000 Hillshore Dr, Westport, CA 95488, United States
21. Enjoy Fort Bragg Nightlife
The time has come to enjoy some Fort Bragg nightlife! Don’t think that because this is a small town, there’s nothing going on after dark. There are some great places to enjoy a cocktail or two, listen to some live music, or even dance the night away.
Most actions occur in the downtown area on Friday and Saturday nights, but you can find something going on almost every night of the week if you know where to look. My favorite hot spots include Tip Top Lounge and Golden West Salon. But no matter what you’re looking for, you will find it here during your night out.