Here are some of the classic “postcard picture” locations.
Mendocino Bay Overlook offers a spectacular view of the village of Mendocino and the mouth of Big River. Located off Road 500B/Brewery Gulch Drive immediately south of Mendocino (on the south end of the Big River Bridge and directly across from the entrance to Comptche-Ukiah Road). The public access easement is over one acre in size. This facility is owned and maintained by the BLM.
MacKerricher State Park, only 3 miles north of Fort Bragg, has a boardwalk that takes you out to a spot overlooking the rocks where harbor seals have their pups in April and May. With a good telephoto lens, you can get some great shots of the baby seals and their mothers. From here, you also can see great sweeping vistas to the north, to the area called the Lost Coast — so called because it was so rough, the builders of Highway One moved inland for many miles to avoid it. You’ll also find Lake Cleone here, a stocked fishing pond that draws a lot of birds. There’s a nice path all the way around the lake for birdwatching.
Elk Coastal Vista : I think this is the prettiest coastal view north of San Francisco. It’s about a mile north of the tiny town of Elk, but you can only see it while going south. It’s about 6 miles south of the Highway One / Highway 128 junction. When you get to this point, you’ll want to pull out. There’s enough room for a few cars — it’s mostly just a wide shoulder. But the view is spectacular in all conditions. On a clear day, you can actually see the lighthouse at Point Arena. The fog coming in an out along this stretch of coast makes this view magical at times.