The rugged Mendocino Coast has a front row seat for the annual spectacle of the whale migration. Late in the year, Gray Whales swim south from Alaska to Baja California, where their calves are born. Early in the year, they make a return trip to their northern home. From November to March, these majestic giants can be seen as they pass the Mendocino shoreline, spouting, flipping their tails in the air, and if you’re lucky, breaching, when they burst dramatically out of the water, head first. It’s an unforgettable sight in an unforgettable place.
In Mendocino, we love whales so much that we devote most of the month of March to celebrating them, with festivals in Fort Bragg, Mendocino, and Little River. The festivals include docent-led whale watching walks, chowder tasting, and even a whale-themed race. Don’t miss the Bloody Mary and Bacon competition at Little River Inn. Competition between professional and amateur mixologists can get a little heated!
There are so many great places along the coast to whale watch, from the Mendocino Headlands to Point Cabrillo Lighthouse to MacKerricher State Park. You don’t even have to set foot outside if it’s a rainy or windy day. Just pull up a seat at Ole’s Whale Watch Bar or the Ledford House Bar and enjoy your cetacean spotting with your libation of choice at hand. Magnificent.
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
Mendocino Headlands State Park