River otters and redwoods blend smoothly in the charming hamlet of Mendocino. And while many visitors head for convenient drive-in campgrounds, just a few miles south of town is one of the best hike-in (or bike-in) campgrounds on the California coast. Van Damme State Park follows the Little River inland from the ocean, and the nine tucked-away campsites can be reached only via the partially paved and mostly flat Fern Canyon Trail. You can hike to the campsites but we recommend bringing your bike to ride the 2 miles in. Each site has a picnic table, some have fire pits, and all are nestled among coastal redwoods in a fern canyon along the Little River. Beautiful. Spend some time exploring.
Hike a couple of miles from camp to a pygmy cypress forest where 100-year-old trees reach just one foot in height. Or hang out on the large and delightful beach at the mouth of Little River (a popular entry point for scuba and abalone divers). Damme good time!
For more information on Van Damme State Park’s hike-in (environmental) campsites, visit their website or call 707-937-5804. No dogs.