The ocean bluffs of Mendocino Headlands State Park
offer VIP viewing to the best show in town this month when migrating gray whales journey from Baja breeding grounds back to Alaska.
The Fritz Wonder Plot is part of 7,334 acres of former industrial timberland that now make up the Big River unit of the Mendocino Headlands State Park
. The Mendocino Land Trust, with the support of individual and institutional donors, raised the $28 million needed to acquire the Big River Unit in 2002.
In 2003, ownership transferred to the Conservation Fund, and then the California state park system as part of Mendocino Headlands State Park
We oriented ourselves at the Ford House Museum & Visitor Center, also the information center for Mendocino Headlands State Park. Besides offering brochures on the town's restaurants and beaches, the center, in a home built in 1854, has exhibits on Mendocino history.
Before we left, we wandered down to the fine-sand beach at the town's edge, part of Mendocino Headlands State Park. The waves were crashing against the bluffs across the way.
All this land is now part of the new Mendocino Headlands State Park
Big River Unit, offering some of the area's best scenery and recreational opportunities without crowds.
Except for Mendocino Headlands State Park
, open for day use only, camping is available at state parks for $12 per night; reserve through Mistix, (800) 444-7275.
Mendocino Headlands State Park
. The white Victorian Ford House is now a museum and park information center.