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Fort Bragg is the klutzy sister to a gussied up Mendocino. She won't put on makeup for anyone; she rarely takes off her flannel shirt and workboots; and don't even think about asking her to clean up her potty mouth. Yet, give her a bath and she may just be one of the unheralded stars of the Northern California coast (move over Monterey!). This old gal may have begun with unsavory intentions (the Army created this community as a reservation for those "pesky Pomo Indians") but she soon became the darling for lumber barons, who swiftly constructed Victorian houses (that still remain) and a railroad that motors through the redwoods to Highway ...

Fort Bragg is the klutzy sister to a gussied up Mendocino. She won't put on makeup for anyone; she rarely takes off her flannel shirt and workboots; and don't even think about asking her to clean up her potty mouth. Yet, give her a bath and she may just be one of the unheralded stars of the Northern California coast (move over Monterey!). This old gal may have begun with unsavory intentions (the Army created this community as a reservation for those "pesky Pomo Indians") but she soon became the darling for lumber barons, who swiftly constructed Victorian houses (that still remain) and a railroad that motors through the redwoods to Highway 101. Since the lumber industry in recent decades hasn't been the most popular way to make a buck in this crunchy county (Mendocino county is the flower child of the United States), tourism has started inching her way into Fort Bragg's consciousness. And why not? With some of the state's most enchanting beaches and hiking trails, access to redwood forests, the rugged Lost Coast, and a bluff-top Botanical Garden that would make any major city proud, Fort Bragg deserves her turn to shine. Still not convinced? She does have a pretty freaky Tattoo Art Museum and Egghead's, the finest greasy breakfast diner for miles.

Michele Bigley
About the Expert

Michele Bigley is the author of Northern California: An Explorer's Guide and Great Destinations Kauai from Countryman Press.

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Michele Bigley for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Early fall.