Mendocino (formerly, Big River, Meiggstown, and Mendocino City) is an unincorporated community 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 of the census-designated place (CDP) was 894 at the 2010 census, up from 824 at the 2000 census. The town's name comes from Cape Mendocino, named by early Spanish navigators in honor of Antonio de Mendoza, Viceroy of New Spain. In turn, the etymology of Mendoza is "cold mountain."
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.