Mendocino County is north of Sonoma at the end of Highway 1. The area has pristine beaches butted up to rugged mountains between sleepy coastal towns. Point Arena is the most famous of Mendocino surf spots and is one of the best spots north of San Francisco. The water temperatures range from 40’s to 60’s, so full gear is recommended. Much of the coast is dangerously rocky, swells are too rough, or spot are inaccessible for surfing. Of course, locals know secret spots with routes through the forest and down the steep cliff faces, but probably won’t let them go to strangers.
When conditions are bad, they can be really bad. But during the right time of year, on a west to northwest swell or a really strong south summer swell, surf can really turn on. Fall and winter are the best times to surf, but winter storms can get really wild. Mendocino may not make any top 10 lists for surf destinations, but for outdoors enthusiasts, the area is pure magic.