Discover the Seafaring Tale of the Frolic Shipwreck


Hunting for buried treasure? Well, you won’t quite find it at the 1850 Frolic Shipwreck that happened off the coast of Mendocino. But, you will discover the rich history of this landmark vessel and its ultimate demise. Discover more about the birth of pioneer Mendocino and how the Frolic Shipwreck played a role in our town’s unique history. Then, explore the rest of our gorgeous coastal town in California and all it has to offer. From beautiful outdoor spaces to unique attractions, shops, and restaurants, you’ll have plenty to discover during your stay! 

For more information on historic sites and events, such as the Frolic Shipwreck, download our free Vacation Guide. It will fill you in on the best places to visit and explore during your stay at the Sea Rock Inn.

History of the Frolic Shipwreck

The Frolic Shipwreck occurred back in 1850 and left its wreckage off the shore of Mendocino. It all goes back to the voyage of this Baltimore-built clipper en route to the San Francisco Gold Rush from China. After running aground on submerged rocks, a hole was torn in the ship’s hull, snapping the rudder off. The opium-carrying vessel crashed on a reef north of the Point Cabrillo Light Station and left behind an underwater archeological site.

Frolic Shipwreck Artifacts That Tell Its Tale

After divers and archaeologists probed the wreck site, a variety of artifacts were uncovered. These include ornately carved trunks, fine silks, marble tables, gold jewelry, mother-of-pearl gambling pieces, and over 6,000 bottles of Edinburgh ale. An unbroken porcelain plate and square porthole with the glass still intact are some other artifacts that divers discovered amongst the wreckage.

See These Artifacts for Yourself!

Divers who had explored the site over the years were asked to donate some of their discoveries to a small museum, which now is on display at the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. Among these items are a six-pound cannon, leather shoes, antique firearms, coins, and other valuables. You can view all these items when you visit the lighthouse and take a step back in time! It’s a strange feeling to know that the last time people saw these items was in 1850. And now they are part of a legacy and a tragic tale that’s story has stood the test of time.

Stay at Sea Rock Inn and Imagine the Frolic Ship Offshore

You’ll be right on the edge of the Mendocino cliffs when you stay at Sea Rock Inn. Let the breeze rustle your hair as you look out onto the sea and imagine the Frolic on those same waters over a century and a half ago! You’ll love our gorgeous seaside retreat, from our quaint junior suites to full seaside cottages. Amenities include a fantastic complimentary breakfast each morning of your stay, private decks with full ocean views, fireplaces, featherbeds, and more! Plan your California Coast adventure today, and book your stay at Sea Rock Inn.