Mendocino is a charming North Coast hamlet, perched on a wave-carved headland, sandwiched between thick forests and a restless sea. Its dramatic location is a natural magnet for artists, and you can often see them capturing the scene on their canvases. The town is meant for walking, so stroll the streets with shops selling local artwork, then pop in for a coffee and chat with the locals. Take a walk along the bluffs, especially at sunset on fog-free evenings. Victorian-era homes, converted into B&Bs in every level of poshness, look like gingerbread houses come to life. Mendocino also knows how to throw a good party, especially when it comes to food, and annual festivals celebrate mushrooms, wine, and crab, as well as the region’s largest inhabitants, whales.