Mendocino Whale Festival

First weekend in March

Explore the beautiful village of Mendocino where there are plenty of whales to view from the surrounding Mendocino Headlands State Park. Chowder, Beer and Wine Tasting options festoon pedestrian-friendly lanes, while you explore art exhibits, local shops and Inns. 

Ford House Museum and Visitor Center
Mendocino Headlands State Park

45035 Main Street, Mendocino Village
Open 11am to 4pm daily, 707.937.5397

March Exhibit: Whale Tales: Exhibit featuring bones from a Gray Whale, information regarding the gray whale migration, and a whale quiz. Knowledgeable docents will be on hand throughout the Whale Festival with tips on when and where to watch for whales, and to answer questions regarding gray whale natural history.

Chowder Tasting:* Features delicious red, white and vegetarian chowder from various local restaurants. Tickets for the chowder tasting are $10 and can be purchased online, at the Mendocino Coast Chamber office or at the venue. Crown Hall (45285 Ukiah Street)

Beer Tasting:* Mendocino County's finest craft brews. $12 per ticket. Must be 21 years of age.

Wine Tasting:* Delicious local wines poured at various locations throughout the Mendocino Village. 1pm-4pm. Advance tickets $35 or $40 on the date. Must be 21 years of age. 

Whale Walks: Available to the public and led by State Park Interpreters and knowledgeable docents. A limited number of binoculars are available for loan.  Meet at the Ford House.

Coffee Tasting: Free Thanksgiving Coffee tasting on the Ford House front porch.

Point Cabrillo Lighthouse: Celebrates the Whale Festival from 10am–4pm. More information at PointCabrillo.org.

*Fundraiser for the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce


Little River Whale Festival

Second weekend in March

The annual Little River Whale Festival offers lodging specials at inns and B&Bs throughout the seaside town of Little River, CA, a food and wine tour, family fun activities, and nature adventure all rolled into one weekend!

Be sure to stop by the Van Damme State Park and Visitor Center, located along Hwy 1 and three miles south of Mendocino. The visitor center will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10-3 p.m.  Volunteer park hosts will share the history and environment of our park, which features coastal Spring Ranch trails, a lush Fern Canyon, a scenic riparian trail system, a Pygmy Forest interpretive walk of miniature mature trees.

Just some of the events include:

  • Nature’s Whale Parade Campfire
  • Whale Walk
  • Visitor Center will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10a.m. – 3p.m.
  • Kayak Tours and Lodging specials also available

Fort Bragg Whale Festival

Third weekend in March

Enjoy chowder and microbrew tasting* while visiting our local shops and inns, and whale watch from Pomo Bluffs in Fort Bragg, as well as from miles of beaches.

The fun continues at MacKerricher State Park, located three miles north of Fort Bragg on Highway 1, is an ideal location for watching the whale migration. A wheelchair accessible boardwalk allows access to the headlands of Laguna Point with stunning views of the coastline. Trained docents will present public whale walks with use of binoculars and a spotting scope to help visitors study whales and other fascinating marine and bird wildlife. 

You may also visit the rare, reconstructed Gray Whale Skeleton on permanent display near the visitor center and entry kiosk. Events are free of charge, for additional information call (707) 961-0471.

MacKerricher's Whale Festival and Family Event Including Arts, Crafts, Games & Educational Activities: Learn all about gray whales in this interactive learning event. Visit our education stations to collect information and tokens so you can build your very own badge of knowledge. Play games, make art, listen to music and enjoy a free hot dog lunch (donations accepted).

Whale Walks: Docents and State Parks Staff presents an informative overview of gray whales. The program starts at the MacKerricher State Park Visitor Center and proceeds to the whale skeleton before driving to Laguna Point for whale watching.

Meet a Whale! Help preserve our whale skeleton: Come to the MacKerricher Visitor Center to help paint and preserve a life size whale skeleton!  Every year a fresh coat of paint is applied to our famous gray whale skeleton to help protect it from the elements. Bring a paint brush and wear your painting clothes!

Point Cabrillo Lighthouse: Celebrates the Whale Festival from 10am–4pm. More information at PointCabrillo.org.

NOTE - rain or fog will cancel

*Fundraiser for the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce