Each year, some 20,000 California Gray Whales migrate each year from Alaska to the protected warm lagoons of Baja California to birth their calves, then head home — a roundtrip of 10,000 miles. The trip takes place from December to April. It is during this homeward bound portion of their trip that they pass the Mendocino Coast.
And, to celebrate their migration, the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce organizes whale festivals over three weekends in March (Mendocino – March 3-4; Little River – March 9 – 11, and Fort Bragg – March 17 & 18.
The main events, in Fort Bragg and Mendocino, offer chowder, beer and wine tasting.
Visit MendoWhale.com for more event details or for links to buy your tickets early. You can also buy your tickets at the events.
Other Whale Festival Activities:
The Point Cabrillo Light Station, located three miles north of Mendocino (7 miles south of Fort Bragg) is the best place whale watching on the coast. Docents will be on hand to talk about the migration and help spot whales. Also during the Whale Festivals, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will be offering an opportunity to clean up into the lighthouse for a close-up of the 1908 Fresnel Lens, which is still operating as a Federal Aid to Navigation. A small tour fee is collected and used for Light Station educational programs and Coast Guard Auxiliary education and boating safety. Details for Point Cabrillo activities here. Point Cabrillo is a California State Park.
Mendocino Headlands State Park Whale Festival: (located in Mendocino village on Highway One) The park will offer the “Whale Tales” Exhibit at the Ford House Visitor’s Center, featuring bones from a Gray Whale, information regarding the grays whale migration, and an interactive exhibit that lets you quiz yourself on whale facts. Located at the Ford House Visitor Center and Museum, 45035 Main Street, Mendocino, CA open 11am to 4pm daily.