Chicoans work and play hard — which leads to the subject of vacationing. There are many traditional places for those in Chico to get a change of scenery and culture. Some may simply go camping in the Sierras or at Mount Lassen. Others head for the coast while some may go south.
Fort Bragg is perhaps one of the most popular destinations for Chicoans. It's a relatively painless drive and there are plenty of things to see and do. Fort Bragg is a less costly cousin of Mendocino but is also more vacationer friendly than Arcata. The small city has many affordable hotels and bed and breakfasts strung along Main street (Highway 1) and often within view of the ocean. However it has many of the aminities that Chicoans are familiar with such as Starbucks, two Rite-Aids, and a Safeway.
A year-round favorite in Fort Bragg is Glass Beach. Prior to the 1980s this portion of beach adjacent to Fort Bragg was used as a dump. Most things got carried out to sea but broken glass stuck around and began to weather away by wave action and tumbling along the pebbly beach into smooth, frosted pieces of glass. They now lend beautiful coloration to the public beach and provide hours of entertainment as visitors try to extract their favorite color of glass.
During Gray Whale Migration season (Feb-early April?), Chicoans enjoy watching for spouts on the many terraces around Fort Bragg. Mendocino Headlands, Mackerricher State Park, and Point Cabrillo are perhaps some of the best places to watch for whales. Mackerricher State Park offers a recently renovated boardwalk with beautifully done interpretative signs. Furthermore they offer docents to educate and help out aspiring whale watchers. The Mendocino Headlands surround the town of Mendocino, and Point Cabrillo is also the location of a famous lighthouse by the same name.
Fort Bragg and Mendocino have a plethora of high-class restaurants — many highly rated by Zagat. Such restaurants include The Mendo Bistro, The Restaurant, and the North Coast Brewing Company. These places have menus with prices for a single meal often reaching $30. An often overlooked restaurant that does not have such a high price point but exudes quality is R D'Aurelios. This is an Italian restaurant that makes pasta in-house. For those that prefer diner food, there's Denny's and Tradewinds.