We will be driving from San Francisco to Mendocino (and back) for a one-night stay a week from tomorrow. We are mainly interested in scenery and activities that would be unique to the area. My main questions involve how best to divide up our time and what might be the "don't miss" sights/activities. Our first priority is to drive the coastline area that is most similar to Big Sur. We will probably leave S,F. at about 9:00 A.M. and leave Mendocino at about 3:00 P.M. the next day. Specifically,
1. Does this make sense: Getting to Hwy.1 at Jenner on the way north, but leaving Hwy.1 at Cloverdale on the way back?
2. Are there must-see things to see or do on either route, other than simply enjoying the scenery? I would like to get to Mendocino in time for dinner.
3. I have seen many recommendations for state parks. Does one stand out head and shoulders above the rest? How does Mendocino Headlands State Park stack up with those on the route?
4. Would you budget more time for the trip or for Mendocino itself?
5. Is there a hidden gem among the restaurants in Mendocino, where the food is just as good as the most expensive restaurants?
Thank you very much.