Mendocino (formerly, Big River, Meiggstown, and Mendocino City) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Mendocino County, California, United States. Mendocino is located 9.5 miles (15 km) south of Fort Bragg, at an elevation of 154 feet (47 m). The population was 824 at the 2000 census. Despite its small size, the town's scenic location on a headland surrounded by the Pacific Ocean has made it extremely popular as an artist colony and with vacationers. Because it is less than four hours by car from the San Francisco Bay Area, it is a popular weekend getaway spot for Bay Area residents.