The city of Fort Bragg, CA, has been a logging town since the beginning, around 1860. With the recent closing of the Georgia-Pacific Lumber Mill after 125 years in operation, the town is now adjusting to life as a tourist destination. The city was named after an Army outpost called Fort Bragg, named in honor of Colonel Braxton Bragg. This outpost was built during a time of land conflicts between the native Pomo Indians and the incoming settlers. The outpost was abandoned after only a few years, but the name stuck for the town. Fort Bragg built up around the logging industry, aided by the excellent harbor at the mouth of the Noyo River. In addition to logging, a fishing fleet (almost 500 strong) built up over the years. If you’d like to know more about the history of the city, visit the Guest House Museum on Main Street at Laurel Street.
Across the street from the Guest House Museum, you’ll find the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center. The Chamber provides up-to-the-minute information about local activities, inns, restaurants, and pretty much everything else.
One of the most entertaining activities is to take a ride on the historic Skunk Train. The Skunk Train has been going back and forth in the redwoods along the Noyo River for over a hundred years. They even have an open-air car that lets you experience things much more closely. The Train depot is at Laurel Street and Main Street.
One of the more unusual things in Fort Bragg is Glass Beach, now a part of MacKerricher State Park. (You can even walk there from Surf & Sand.) This beach consists entirely of tumbled glass from the years when this beach was used as the local dump. The truck would back up to the beach, and dump stuff from the bluffs above. Over the years, the wave action has tumbled the glass until it is all smooth. This is a colorful thing to do on a sunny day!
On the south end of Highway One, you'll find the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, featuring indigenous plants (including rhododendrons and fuchsia). They even allow leashed dogs, and you can walk all the way out to the ocean to see whales during the annual migration.
The Mendocino Coast is very dog-friendly in general, since so many people that live here have dogs. In Fort Bragg, though, there are 2 new dog parks, thanks to a dedicated group of dog people. The fenced dog park by the new Aquatic Center provides great opportunities to socialize your dog with other dogs. Noyo Dog Beach, located down under the Noyo Bridge on North Harbor Drive, allows for off-leash play on the beach. This is a beautiful location right by the ocean, and you can see the fishing boats going in and out of the harbor.
The main shopping areas in Fort Bragg are near Main and Franklin Streets, between Redwood and Laurel Streets. This square block is the central area for shopping, restaurants, and other activities.