Mendocino Dispensaries Guide
October 30, 2019
24th Annual Boonville Beer Festival
February 2, 2020

Wine, Whales & More

For nearly 40 years, the Mendocino Coast has celebrated the northern migration of gray whales with an activity-filled Whale Festival (rain or shine) during the first three weekends in March.

Weekend One: Mendocino. Enjoy chowder and craft beer at Crown Hall, followed by a taste of some of Mendocino County’s finest varietals in shops and galleries throughout Mendocino village. Stroll along the trails at Mendocino Headlands State Park for a picturesque view, where you are likely to spot some whales breaching or spouting. Complimentary transportation to shops and galleries during the Mendocino wine tasting will be provided by Julie’s Trips and Tours.

Weekend Two: Little River. Little River’s Whale Festival events include docent guided walks along the trails in Van Damme Park—learn about the history and environment of the park, including Spring Ranch trails, a lush Fern Canyon, a scenic river bank trail system, and a Pygmy Forest interpretive walk among the miniature trees. A campfire at Van Damme state beach during the weekend includes learning about whale migration and whale trivia from State Parks naturalists, as well as live music, games, prizes, marshmallows and hot chocolate—fun for all ages! Docent-led whale watch walks, kayak tours, art exhibits, and geocaching events are often included.

Weekend Three: Fort Bragg. Local restaurants compete for the “Chowder of the Year” award, and a tasting of local beers takes place at Masonic Hall and other venues, after which visitors take to the streets to sample local wines and hors d’oeuvres at participating businesses. Work off some calories at the Whale Walk and Run at 8:00 a.m. Saturday before imbibing in all of the chowder, beer, and wine. The Fort Bragg Beer Fest at Eagles Hall later in the day offers a selection of pilsners, stouts, and ales from regional microbreweries.The Noyo Center for Marine Science participates with Whale Trail exhibits at The Crow’s Nest Interpretive Center, with docents on hand to answer questions, and a variety of educational family events.

More Whale Watching. More great spots to whale watch during Whale Festival weekends include the five-mile Coastal Trail along the headlands in Fort Bragg; MacKerricher State Park, with a wheelchair accessible boardwalk leading to the headlands at Laguna Point, and Point Cabrillo Light Station, the perfect location to learn more about whales, the shipwreck of The Frolic, or take a tour of the magnificent Fresnel Lens. Noyo Harbor is an exciting choice for whale watching tours by boat.

Many hotels and inns offer special packages during Whale Festival Weekends. Get all the details and purchase tickets for any event at