Distinctive among even the most celebrated areas of California, Mendocino County presents an exciting opportunity for those in search of a second home.
California has long been a natural draw for those on holiday. With gorgeous scenery, agreeable climate, and an endless array of leisurely pursuits, a traveler escaping the rigors of everyday life is well rewarded.
For those seeking out a more permanent place to take those sabbaticals, there is a quiet corner of the state north of San Francisco that stands out.
Sure, Napa and Sonoma grab the headlines as Northern California’s "it" destinations but venture further north and along the Pacific, and you’ll discover the hidden gem that is Mendocino County.
To call it quaint would be a disservice to this thriving enclave of artists and vintners, hippies and happy transplants.
Heading north along US 101, the first feature that might strike you upon entering the county is the abundance of rolling hills. As the highway winds alongside the Russian River, soon enough you’ll encounter another of Mendocino’s charms—vineyards.
The most famous landscape, of course, is the county’s coastline, a mix of serene beach and photogenic cliffs. Over 90 miles of shore separate land and sea, and even if you choose an inland home, the ocean is a short drive away.
Tip: Arguably, the main draw to Mendocino County is the diversity of landscapes—the area also includes redwood forests and over 15 rivers, creeks and streams. Home prices, in part, reflect their picturesque locations, so invest in one that fits both your lifestyle and budget.
Beyond the topography, the communities of Mendocino County offer their own distinctive appeal.
Inland Ukiah, the largest city and the county seat, is the area’s economic hub. At 16,000 residents, a home near Ukiah is perfect for buyers that want to maintain a closer connection with a population center.
Heading into the wilder stretches of the county, Anderson Valley is a stunning gateway to the Mendocino Coast, including the small communities of Boonville, Philo, and Navarro. A home here grants quick access to the area’s most celebrated wineries and gastronomic establishments.
Along the coast is a genuinely unique place to leave the rest of the world behind. The Village of Mendocino entices a buyer to purchase a second residence, but then consider never leaving. More than just an oceanside vista, culture and history abound, with restaurants and shops dotting the picturesque streets and a diverse schedule of festivals throughout the year.
Tip: Choose an area that best suits your interests, while being mindful of the property's use when you’re not home. If it's an income generator, a house with a central location or knockout views could prove a smarter investment.
Much like the terrain, housing in Mendocino County is incredibly diverse. Available properties will appeal to the entrepreneur, retiree, or those simply seeking a slower (or more inspiring) way of life.
Naturally, winery ownership opportunities exist and will allow a new owner to put their stamp on the annals of California winemaking. Wineries are not the only working properties though. Ranches are available for those investors that relax by getting their hands a little dirty.
For individuals or families wanting space to stretch out, large homesteads with a wealth of extra acreage occupy much of the inland territory. Several even include shared boundaries with meticulously maintained vineyards.
Finally, let's not overlook the true essence of a vacation home. From hideaway cabins in the Ukiah and Anderson Valleys to spectacular oceanfront abodes along the Mendocino Coast, if you want to escape, the real estate is available for you to do so.
Tip: Mendocino county is both a rural and oceanfront community, and each property type requires a diligent homeowner. Before buying, ensure you have a plan for the caretaking of your property, including all acreage, when you’re away.
Much More than a Vacation
The Golden State boasts plenty of locations for a buyer to purchase a second home. Few, however, offer the combination of diverse landscape, unique lifestyle, and property variety found in Mendocino. Even if yours is an investment play, it will prove advantageous.
Take note though of our final buyer's tip. After purchasing a second home in Mendocino County, many end up making it their primary residence.