Discover the Adventure
Little River California

Where is Little River California, You Might Ask

Where is Little River California? Well, Mendocino Village sits atop the Mendocino Headlands, overlooking the mouth of Big River. As we all know, where there's a Big River (or Big Creek, or Big whatever), there's likely to be a Little one as well - and that would be true in this case too.

Little River is a small stream that empties into the Pacific Ocean in Van Damme State Park.

Hike along the stream away from the beach to discover Fern Canyon Trail.

And next to the park is an unincorporated community - a hamlet really - called Little River.

The town consists of a grocery store, two gas pumps, a post office, and a former restaurant - and the most fabulous oceanic views you'll find anywhere in the world!

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Little River California Meets the Mighty Pacific

Little River California - 3 miles south of Mendocino Village - isn't much more than a hamlet or a whistle-stop.

There's a Post Office, a little store, and a wonderful little restaurant (more about that later), all sharing the same wood-frame building.

Don't you blink now...

So why do I recommend it? It's surrounded by State Parks, beaches, dramatic scenery, forests, first-rate inns and restaurants...

It's peaceful, it's pretty, and you can get your pamper-fix on with nearby spas, gourmet dining, golf and tennis opportunities... Or just relax and enjoy the views from your balcony.

Plus it's pretty central to all the other great attractions along the Mendocino Coast, whether they be south (Albion, Anderson Valley) or north (Van Damme, Mendocino, Fort Bragg).

Things to do In and Around
Little River California

  • Treat yourself to a pampered few days at one of the lovely inns around Little River.

    It's right across Highway 1 from the Post Office complex that's known as Little River, it sits up on a hillside offering Victorian elegance surrounded by lush gardens, and it has unbelievable views of the Pacific Ocean!

    And you'll enjoy having a drink and/or a pub meal with locals
    and other guests alike in Ole's Whale Watch Bar; dining in what I like to call the Garden Dining Room; staying active on the Little River Inn Golf Course and the lighted Tennis Courts; and pampering yourself at the Spa at Little River Inn!

    The first time we ever stayed there, I woke up the next morning and - still in bed - looked out to sea to discover a small pod of Gray Whale breaching for air as they made their way south down the California coast! It was one of the most extraordinary sights I've ever experienced!

There are many other inns to choose from, though: Brewery Gulch Inn, Auberge (formerly Rachel's Inn), Glendeven, the Inn at Schoolhouse Creek, Albion River Inn - just to name a few. And each one has its advocates!

Van Damme SP Beach by Wolf RosenbergVan Damme SP Beach by Wolf Rosenberg
  • While you're in the area, spend some time at Van Damme State Park on Little River - it's actually more of a creek than a river, but it's home to the the beautiful Fern Canyon Trail, Mendocino County's own Pygmy Forest (see photos here), and the bog called the Cabbage Patch - where Skunk Cabbage reigns King!

    You'll find a small beach at the river's mouth which is a great starting point for scuba and abalone diving. And you'll find there are kayak tours of the Mendocino coast that begin here too!
  • Don't miss the chance to dine at one of the exquisite
    restaurants in and around Little River California. For such a small place, there are a lot of choices!

    Try nearby Stevenswood Restaurant for California cuisine; Ravens' Restaurant for vegetarian dining; Albion River Inn Restaurant and Bar; and Harbor House Seaside Dining (in the hamlet of Elk). All are excellent choices!
  • Play golf or tennis at the Little River Inn.
  • Take the short drive up to Mendocino Village or Fort Bragg for a bit of exploring, sight-seeing, and shopping.
  • Hike along the ocean, the headlands, or in the forests - you'll discover scenery as diverse as sandy beaches and old-growth redwood trees.
  • Tour the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse - it's in the process of being renovated through volunteer work and you'll find an interesting history there!
  • Treat yourself to one of the spas near Little River California. If you're looking forward to a manicure, pedicure, facial, or any number of massage techniques, there's no better setting for pampering yourself!
  • Watch for surfacing Gray Whales heading South between December and February, then back again North between February and March (for Whale Watching Tips). Also keep a lookout for sea otters, porpoises, sea lions, and sea birds - both migratory and resident!
  • Or simply relax, have a nice glass of wine, and read a book on the beach or on your private deck or balcony!

If you have time - and be sure to make time if you possibly can! - visit some of the other areas of Mendocino County as well - you won't be sorry you did!

  • Mendocino County
    From the Pacific Ocean to the interior valleys, Mendo County covers a lot of territory and a lot of scenic variety.
  • Fort Bragg
    Fort Bragg has a glass beach, the Skunk Train, a fishing harbor, and much more!
  • Mendocino Village
    Mendocino Village is breathtakingly picturesque with tons to see and do!

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