What You’ll See at the Whale Festival in Mendocino

a whale’s tail above the blue ocean surface

a whale’s tail above the blue ocean surface

Each year during the Mendocino whale watching season, California natives and visitors are gifted the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of seeing Pacific gray whales as they migrate down the coast. During December and January, guests can marvel as about 20,000 gray whales start their incredible 6,000-mile journey from Alaska to Mexico, and then again in February and March when the whales return to their feeding grounds. It’s one of the most amazing wildlife migrations on the planet, and humans are able to witness these gentle giants spouting, breaching, and fluking from ocean bluffs. This March, be sure to check out the Whale Festival in Mendocino and experience these majestic beauties like never before!

The 2016 Mendocino Whale Festival

In early March 2016, visit the beautiful village of Mendocino, California, where you’ll have breathtaking views of the whales from the Mendocino Headlands State Park and can sample homemade chowder, enjoy beer and wine, explore local art exhibits and shops, and more! Here are some of the amazing things you’ll see at this year’s Whale Festival in Mendocino.

Festival Exhibits and Excursions

To learn more about the history of this incredible species, head to the “Whale Tales” exhibit where you’ll see the gigantic bones of a gray whale, learn more about the whale’s interesting migration patterns, and can test your knowledge with a whale quiz. Experienced docents will be on hand with tips on when and where to watch for whales and will provide insight on the gray whale’s natural history.

Daily Whale Walks will also be available to the public throughout the festival. Led by State Park interpreters and guides, guests will be able to watch these glorious whales interact and can use binoculars to get an even closer look at this natural phenomenon. Additionally, Point Cabrillo Lighthouse will have a variety of fun activities including docent-led tours, whale watching, and spectacular lens tours.

Festival Food and Beverages

Start off your day at the festival the right way with a free coffee tasting at the Ford House, presented by Thanksgiving Coffee! You can enjoy a scrumptious cup of joe before heading out to search the sea.

Or, feel free to join the friendly Mendocino community for a yummy chowder tasting that will feature delicious soups from various local restaurants. You can try them all and vote for your favorite! Afterward, make your way to the North Coast Brewing Company beer sampling, or enjoy a wine tasting from local vineyards. Guests are welcome to sip on flavorful wines that have been poured at different locations across Mendocino, all while admiring the beautiful scenery of the California coast. Don’t forget to pick up your Mendo Whale wine glasses for the perfect souvenir!

More Opportunities for Mendocino Whale Watching

For even more chances to spot these rare creatures, you can also check out the Little River Whale Festival and the Fort Bragg Whale Festival. Each will feature their own unique events and activities, but you’re guaranteed to love the main attraction – whales!

Lodging in Mendocino

Unbelievable wildlife, delicious local delicacies, and stunning scenery are just a few of the wonderful things you’ll experience at the Whale Festival in Mendocino. When you begin planning your trip to the area, be sure to book your stay at the Inns of Glendeven. You’ll come back to a beautiful room complete with ocean and garden views that will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed after a fun-filled weekend at the festival!

Torrey Douglass