February to May in Mendocino

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As winter's squalls turn to gentle raindrops, the Mendocino coast begins to come alive with wildflowers and native grasses. Perhaps one of the most beautiful times to visit, springtime is a fickle season that transforms from grey mornings as fog rolls in, to brilliantly sunny afternoons perfect for coaxing out tiny buds.

Inland areas tend to be similarly rainy, though a bit warmer. Even so, this time of year throughout the county tends to be a slow season, with most travelers waiting to escape to the cool coast when things get stifling elsewhere (June to October). You'll find fewer crowds right now (though February and March are whale season, and attract wildlife enthusiasts). Some tasting rooms and restaurants close up altogether or have limited hours until the crowds start returning in May, so check ahead. The good news is that you may be able to get an easy reservation at your favorite inn or hard-to-book restaurant during this slow season.
What to pack

 Regardless of the season, the temperatures at the coast can quickly drop by more than 30 degrees in just a few hours, so it's always a good idea to bring layered clothing. Have a warm jacket, preferably with a hood; a cozy sweater, some rugged boots for hiking or walking on the wet beach; long pants and some warm socks.

Dining Style

As in most of California, there's rarely an occasion you'll need a tie or sport jacket. Even the most sophisticated restaurants usually welcome diners dressed in pretty much anything appropriate for a casual office environment: slacks and a sweater, a comfortable skirt, pants, whatever--though for really upscale dining its best to avoid jeans if possible.

The People You'll Meet

Mendocino County residents tend to be some of the most laid-back folks in a state full of, well, mostly laid-back folks. Though you'll meet all kinds--farmers, vintners, office workers, etc.--there are a lot of places in the county where it's perfectly okay to explore your chakra in public. The coast is also a bit rugged and remote in places, making for a whole other class of more down-to-earth folks, like the burly crab fishermen or dairy farmers who make their homes in Mendocino County as well. Finally, keep an eye out for winery folks from the Anderson, Redwood and Yorkville AVAs. Mendocino County is an up-and-coming (some might say well on its way) wine region with many Napa, Sonoma and European transplants.

Typical temperatures

Temperatures rarely go below 40 degrees or above 70 in the spring (or most of the year, for that matter).  There may be heavy fog in the morning or late evening, in addition to ocean breezes that make things feel a bit chilly and damp. That's the best time to light a fire and snuggle back under the covers. Click here for current weather forecasts >>

Rainfall

There are frequent rainy days along the coast, but the good news is that most days tend to clear up--at least for a few hours. Bring an umbrella and waterproof jacket to be safe.

Getting There
Keep in mind that although the inland areas of Mendocino are mostly accessible by Highway 101, the coastal regions are only accessible by mostly winding, sometimes hair-raising two-lane roads. In the springtime, there can sometimes be landslide issues or--at the least--slow traffic during wet weather. Be sure to leave plenty of time for travel and take things at a reasonable pace. Locals are may speed down these roads, but visitors should take caution on the blind turns and twists.

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