“To inspire wonder, discovery, recreation and stewardship of our

natural and cultural treasures in Mendocino County’s State Parks”



The park features the lush Fern Canyon scenic trail system; the Pygmy Forest where mature, cone-bearing cypress and pine trees stand six inches to eight feet tall; and the bog, or Cabbage Patch, where skunk cabbage grows in abundance. The park’s ten miles of trail go along the fern-carpeted canyon of Little River. A paved road is used by joggers and bicyclists. The beach is popular with abalone divers.

Friday, March 11th, Saturday, March 12th and Sunday, March 13th 2016

REMINDER:  Daylight Savings starts Sunday, March 13th.


Full Details for the Little River Whale Festival

A sampler of hospitality and adventure in Little River is served up for your convenience all in one weekend.  The 5th annual Little River Whale Festival offers lodging specials, a food and wine tour and an art and nature adventure Passport Contest to share our local hidden secrets.


Whale of a Sale Lodging Special: Properties throughout the seaside town of Little River, CA (including two lodging specials at the Little River Inn) are offering lodging specials during the seventh annual Little River Whale Festival. Stay two nights during the festival and get the third night free!

Contact your favorite participating lodging establishment for details!

  • Heritage House Resort                               707.202.9000
  • Andiron Seaside Inn & Cabins                    800.955.6478
  • Cottages at Little River Cove                      707.937.5339
  • Little River Inn                                           888.466.5683
  • Dennen's Victorian Farmhouse                   800.264.4723
  • Glendeven Inn                                           800.822.4536
  • Inn at Schoolhouse Creek                          800.731.5525

**Valid for nights of Thursday, March 10 through Sunday, March 13, 2016.

Adventure Passport: Guests have the opportunity to enter the Little River Whale Festival Passport Contest. For each festival activity attended guests will earn one sticker. The collection of three (3) or more stickers will allow guests the chance to win lodging, food, and adventure prizes at participating businesses throughout Little River. Passports are available at each festival or event site.

Friday, March 11th, 6 - 7:30pm: Van Damme Beach Campfire: Natures Whale Parade Campfire: Join local Naturalist and discover what the gray whale's annual migration is all about as well as other interesting whale trivia. This interactive campfire includes games and prizes and is fun for all ages.

Saturday, March 12th, 10am - 12pm WHALE WATCH WALK: Free, donations welcome! Two hour guided walk searching for pelagic cormorants, seaside daisies and of course, whales! Binoculars available. Your furry friends are welcome when on leash. Free and open to the public.

Saturday, March 12th 1 - 4pm TASTE OF LITTLE RIVER: Tickets are $30. Advance tickets are available for $25 through the Little River Inn and come with a keepsake wine glass. For advanced tickets, call Little River Inn at: 707.937.5942 Registration begins at 12:30pm at the Kent Spring Ranch Estate Parking Lot - 8475 N Hwy 1 **Must be 21 Years of Age with a Valid I.D.

Saturday, March 12th, 7pm MENDOCINO WHALE WARS LOCAL VIDEO DOCUMENTARY Abalone Hall, Little River Inn. Showing of the 1976 Mendocino Whale Wars Local Documentary. Doors open at 6:30pm.

Mendo ECO Artists: Springs Ranch Barns Benefit Exhibit Art sales benefit MAPA's Kent/ Spring Ranch Barn project to save the barns. Friday, Saturday & Sunday, March 11, 12 & 13, 8am-9pm, FREE. Main Dining Room in the Little River Inn, 7901 North Highway One. 

Kayak Mendocino Sea Cave Tours: Paddle through sea caves and meet the local harbor seals, sea stars, algae and shorebirds. Saturday and Sunday (ocean permitting) 11:30 am & 2 pm. Cost is $60 per person. 10% of proceeds donated to Surfers for Cetaceans. Please call for reservations: 707.813.7117

Sunday, March 12th 10:30am - 12pm KENT/SPRING RANCH BARN TOUR: Docent-led tour of the Kent/Spring Ranch Barns. Donations for the preservation of the barns welcome. Park at the Kent/Spring Ranch Estate on the east side of the highway. Look for the balloons.

Van Damme Visitor Center Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10am-3pm Docents will share the history and environment of our park. For more information call 707.937.4015

Watch for other additional Little River discounts and specials during the festival


Kayak Tours ( Kayak Mendocino )
Visitors can get a unique perspective of the coast line by taking the kayak tours, available through a concession agreement, at the Van Damme beach parking lot.

The park is located three miles south of the town of Mendocino on Highway 1. The highway runs through the park separating the campground and the Fern Canyon trail head to the east and the beach and parking lot to the west. Map

Seasons/Climate/Recommended clothing
The weather can be changeable; layered clothing is recommended.