Visitors to Mendocino enjoy exploring the coast and visiting the little beaches along the way and stopping at rocky points. Campers at Van Damme State Park Campground one of the area's best kayaking and diving beaches just steps from their campsites.
Explore Van Damme State Park with a nice beach for kayaking and diving and great inland hiking trails.
Visit the quaint town of Mendocino and walk along the Mendocino Headlands.
Poke around famous Glass Beach near Fort Bragg and then stop in town for dinner.
Point Arena Lighthouse stands on a rugged point of land. Take a lighthouse tour.
Mountain bike along dirt roads.
Hike around the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Land.
Take a trip to Africa at the B. Bryan Preserve near Point Arena. See Africa's hoofed animals such as Greater Kudu, zebras, and giraffes.
Take an adventurous hike down to Bowling Ball Beach to see the amazing spheres of rock in the surf at low tide.
Mendocino coast beaches are generally considered too dangerous for wading and swimming, but some sheltered beaches and inlets can be safe under favorable conditions. Always check with park rangers about the safety of a particular beach before entering the water.
Key Van Damme State Park Campground Regulations
Fires may only be built in provided fire rings.
Dogs are required to be on leash and always attended. Dogs are not permitted on most trails. At night they must be confided to a vehicle or tent from 10 PM to 6 AM.
Purchase your firewood locally to avoid bringing in invasive insect pests.
Van Damme State Park Campground is found along the Mendocino coast, a few miles south of the town of Mendocino. Van Damme State Park offers some of the best camping in the area with campsites along the Little River and others higher on a ridge in an area known as Highland Meadow. Visitors to Van Damme State Park enjoy the beach set in a protected cove, scuba diving, abalone fishing, kayaking, hiking, and sight-seeing.
Van Damme State Park Campground has 68 campsites. Five of the sites at the eastern end of the campground are designated for tents-only, while the rest can accommodate RVs, trailers, and tents. In addition, there are 9 environmental campsites requiring a couple of miles of hiking up Little River from the main campground to reach. Van Damme State Park also has a Hike & Bike campsite and a Group Campsite.
Kayak Mendocino is set up on the beach in the summer for guided tours. Spend some time in the Visitor Center. Explore the hiking trail to Fern Canyon. Stroll along the Pygmy Forest Self-guided Nature Boardwalk. Hike the Bog Trail. Enjoy bird watching. Come for the Whale Festival in mid-March. Hike around the Spring Ranch Property trails.
ReserveCalifornia Reservations Tips
California State Parks' new reservation system - ReserveCalifornia - now allows campers "to make reservations 6 months to the day in advance of their arrival date." For example, on January 1 reservations can be made for stays beginning on July 1. In the past, reservations were released in one-month blocks. Now it is day by day. For months with fewer days than the month 6 months away, reservations for the remaining days will be released in a small cluster on the first of the next month. For example, on March 1 (because February is a short month) you can make reservations for stays beginning August 29-31. Read details at ReserveCalifornia.
Van Damme State Park Group Campsite
Van Damme State Park has one group tent campsite for between 9 and 50 people and up to 15 vehicles (or 10 autos and 4 RVs). The maximum vehicle length is 27 feet. The group site is open from late March through November.
Fee: $160 per night
Reservations: Van Damme State Park Campground Reservations
Van Damme State Park Group Campsite
General Camping Information
Opening and closing dates of campgrounds are only estimates, usually dependent on snow conditions. Not all campsites can accommodate trailers or RVs of all lengths. Check carefully on the website when you make your reservation to be sure your vehicle will fit your campsite.
In order to prevent the spread of invasive insects, purchase firewood locally.
Designated Accessible sites are usually reserved for people with disabilities who have a vehicle displaying an accessible parking placard or license plate.