The tiny village of Westport clings to the rocky cliffs overlooking the wild waves of the Pacific Ocean. Founded in the 1870s and originally called Beall’s Landing after one of the first settlers, it was renamed Westport in 1877 by another resident as a counterpart of his hometown of Eastport, Maine. Nearly 150 years later, Eastport remains the least populous city in Maine and Westport is one of the least populous communities in Mendocino County, with a population hovering around the 60 mark.
Westport has a general store which includes a deli, and perhaps fortunately for those seeking the adventures of the Lost Coast and beyond, a gas pump as well. Residents of this small community take care of it and each other, and hold several events throughout the year, like their annual Mother’s Day Rubber Ducky race and the volunteer fire department BBQ, to raise funds for village projects and maintenance.
Westport-Union Landing Beach stretches below the town, and is a great place for tide pooling, surf fishing, and photographing the spectacular coastal scenery. The beach is home to many species of sea and shore birds, as well as an excellent vantage point to watch the majestic migrating whales.
It’s only fitting that this little village on the edge of the earth is the gateway to the Lost Coast, a rare expanse of pristine, undeveloped wilderness stretching along the California coastline. Most of the Lost Coast and its wonders are only accessible by hiking, sometimes through overgrown and challenging trails, but Usal Beach, with its distinctive black sands, is just a few miles north of Westport and can be reached by car. The Lost Coast Trail and its adventures start at Usal Beach.