Three Towns, Oodles of Ways to Love Whales

It's that sweet time of year, when Little River, Mendocino, and Fort Bragg celebrate our fluke-fabulous friends.

Mendocino Whale Festival

WHALES ARE BIG, and we're confident that's a fairly air-tight statement, so much so that we won't break out the graphs and charts and slideshows to show why. For we landlubbers recognize that these cetacean sweeties regularly rock the "largest animals on the planet" lists, and with excellent reason: They're impressively ginormous. And while the Golden State is home to many whale-loving larks, the sort of festivals that fold in both whale-watching and educational activities, few cover multiple weekends as well as multiple locations. But the Mendocino Coast Whale Festival is not an ordinary whale party, for it is as big as a really big whale, and it covers three weekends, and it takes place in three lovely towns along the water each and every late winter. The...

MENDOCINO WHALE FESTIVAL... is up first, on March 2 and 3, while the Little River Whale Festival follows on the second weekend of the month, and Fort Bragg on the third. Each party rocks its own admirable attributes and outings, so choosing when to go, and what to do, will take some planning. In Mendo, on the first weekend? A Chowder Tasting & Competition is one highlight, as are beer and wine tastings. Little River'll boast a charmer of a sand castle contest, as well as a Bloody Mary & Bacon showdown. And up in Fort Bragg? There's a Whale Run and Walk, as well as more chowder goodness and more libations to try.

CHOOSING IS DIFFICULT, yes, but knowing that sometimes you gotta go big, when honoring some of the biggest earthlings around, is not hard at all. Either is daydreaming about a perfect idyll along the Mendocino Coast, one of the most peaceful and pretty stretches in our state. If whale affection is also woven through such a visit, well, even the sense of joy and fun grows bigger. Take a look now at this big whale happening, a celebration so huge it'll swim through three towns over three weekends.

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