Little River may be small in size – and its river more like a stream – but this scenic seaside town is full of wonders and adventures. Historic Little River Inn has a family tradition of gracious hospitality for five generations. Presiding over storied Highway One, the iconic inn has one of the best views on the Mendocino Coast, especially from the cozy and convivial Ole’s Whale Watch Bar. The Inn has the only golf course on the Coast, and it is not only Audubon certified, it has a breathtaking ocean vista from all nine holes. There are also tennis courts for a scenic game or two.
Just down the road is pretty Van Damme State Beach, with its sandy shores and stunning vistas of ocean waves, sea stacks and arches. Want to get up close and personal with those arches, waves, and sea caves? Let Kayak Mendocino be your guide. Whether you’re a kayak expert or a total novice, the knowledgeable guides will tailor your experience for you so you will be safe and comfortable while enjoying the spectacular scenery, birds, and wildlife.
If you’d rather stay dry, go across the street to Van Damme State Park, home of the rare Pygmy Forest. The acidic soil has stunted the growth of these ancient trees, the bonsai of the redwood world. Several trails and walks are available, both short and long, so you can spend as much time as you like in this special place.
Pick up a picnic at Little River Market, which has a well-stocked deli and a wide variety of local wines, and head to Spring Ranch, just north of Van Damme State Park. You can take a delightful stroll here, enjoying the windswept coastal prairie as you pass the historic barns which once sheltered livestock when this was a sprawling, working ranch. Trails lead to rocky bluffs high above the ocean, with benches along the way to rest and enjoy the tranquility and the view.
If you’d like to learn more about the history of Little River, make an appointment to stop in at the Little River Improvement Club and Museum, close to the southern trail entrance of Spring Ranch. Built in 1885 as “Good Temples Hall”, the modest white building has served many functions over the past century or so, but has always been a local gathering place. It looks much the same as it did when it was first built, and has a fascinating collection of historic photos and artifacts. If these walls could talk! Call (707) 937-5791 for an appointment.