Mendocino : California

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What it's Like to Retire in Mendocino

Situated on the northern California coast above San Francisco, Mendocino is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the Golden State. This tiny town of just over 800 has a sizable artist population and great shopping. But most people come to see the unbelievable cliffs and rocks that tower over the raging Pacific Ocean below.  This old logging town has been the site of the Mendocino Music Festival since the 1880's, and features a classically-based  series of concerts held annually in a huge circus type performance tent on the town's Main Street in the Mendocino Headlands State Park. Most of the town was added to the National Register of Historic Places listings in Mendocino County, California in 1971 as the Mendocino and Headlands Historic District. The town attracted most of its fame by being the setting for 9 episodes of the TV mystery series, "Murder, She Wrote". Photos courtesy of Wikipedia and Jef Poskanzer.

Where to Retire in Mendocino and Home Prices

You can live in town or nearby, although flat land becomes very rare as you move away from the coast. Mendocino is home to many fine homes that date back to its early days. One of those is the William Henry Kelly House, a splendid Victorian at the corner of Main and Albion Streets, overlooking the Big River and Mendocino Bay.
Homes are expensive in Mendocino, with Zillow reporting the Home Value at $687,900, in early 2016.


What is special about Mendocino

Trip Advisor named Mendocino one of its top tourist destinations. Its stunning beauty and state parks like Mendocino Headlands State Park give it unusually natural beauty.  The interesting artist community and wonderful shopping make it attractive as well. Blair House is a lovely B & B overlooking the Pacific that was the star of "Murder, She Wrote".

What is not special about Mendocino

Retirement in Mendocino has some drawbacks. For one, it is very expensive. For another, it is quite small and a tourist town. And lastly, it is very hard to get to, involving a switchback laden drive along the coast or over the coastal mountains.

Who will like retirement in Mendocino

People who are artistically inclined or who want to be near the sea might like it in Mendocino. You should be prepared to live in a small tourist town.

Local economy is driven by

Tourism is the major driver of the economy.

Climate and Physical Environment

Mendocino sits on a headlands overlooking the Pacific in northern California. The weather is heavily influenced by the Pacific and is quite temperate. The average July high is 67 and the average Jan low is 41.  January is the wettest month with over 7" of rain.  April through Oct are quite dry.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

As one might expect for an upscale tourist destination in California wine country, Mendocino has its share of excellent restaurants.  Top rated restaurants include the Mendocino Cafe, Cafe Beaujolais, and the Moose Cafe. In addition to the Mendocino Music Festival in July, there are other festivals throughout the year such as the Symphony of the Redwoods in September, the Mendocino Film Festival, and the Fisherman's Harbor and Seafood Festival. The work of loca artists are displayed in many galleries.



There is not much crime other than tourist-related incidents in upscale Mendocino.

Medical facilities

The Mendocino Coast District Hospital is about 16 miles away in Fort Bragg.


Transportation is a weakness of living in Mendocino, which involves twisty roads along the coast or over the mountains.

Valuable Links

Mendocino Chamber of Commerce

What people are saying about Mendocino

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Facts about MENDOCINO
  • State: CA
  • Environment: Coastal,Small Town,Biking Community,Resort Community,
  • City Population: Less than 10,000
  • Median age of Population: 45-64
  • Avg Jan Temperature: 41-60
  • Avg July Temperature: 60-80
  • Median HH Income: 41,001-60,000
  • Average Home Price (MLS): $500,001+
  • Annual Property Tax on a $200,000 house: Less than 2000
  • Total Crime Index: <80 (Very low)
  • Cost of Living Index: 121+ (very high)
  • Culture Index: 111-120 (high)
  • State Sales Tax: Yes
  • State Income Tax: Yes
  • Name of the Guide: johnb

Can you add to or correct these Facts? Or do you have a photo of this community we could use? If so, please click on Edit these facts

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