Leisure

Whale Watching in Mendocino

Springtime brings whale migration season, and Mendocino is the perfect place to see these majestic mammals on their journey north. February through June brings the migration of the Pacific Grey Whale, as the breeding mothers and their babies swim thousands of miles from Baja to the Bering Sea. These whales' migration is the longest distance any mammal on earth travels, as they go from breeding grounds to feeding grounds. Pacific Grey Whales always migrate in shallow water, making them easy to spot from land. The late 1800s saw a rush of whaling up and down the California coast, as settlers from the east arrived and were easily able to reach the migrating whales. These men nearly hunted the grey whale out of existence, and eventually reduced the population to the point where whaling was no longer a profitable business. Fortunately, the population has rebounded since, with over 20,000 whales making the annual migration in recent years.

The headlands of Mendocino make one of the best places to go whale watching in California, and no trip to our boutique Mendocino hotels would be complete without trying to spot some whales. Because the whales swim so close to land, you can spot them with the naked eye, but a pair of binoculars are helpful too. Head out to the Mendocino Headlands State Park, just a short walk from our Blue Door Group, for some easy whale watching in Mendocino.

Three festivals in early March celebrate the migration of the Pacific Grey Whale. Mendocino and Fort Bragg's festival includes a chowder cook-off and a beer and wine tasting. North Coast Brewing in nearby Fort Bragg has even brewed a special IPA for the event, the proceeds of which go to marine mammal research and rescue efforts. Little River's whale festival has docent-led whale walks, wine dinners, live music, and geocaching adventures. No matter what weekend you visit in March, you'll find a whale festival happening nearby.

Mendocino Whale Festival | Mendocino, Little River, and Fort Bragg