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“Great Beach to stretch your legs”

Van Damme State Park
Ranked #5 of 23 things to do in Mendocino
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Picturesque spot known for its Pygmy Forest of small trees and Fern Canyon.
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
17 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Great Beach to stretch your legs”
Reviewed 15 January 2014

This State Beach is located just after the curvy Navarro Redwoods. A perfect spot to stretch and unwind before heading up the coast. A great newer addition to the California State Parks.

Visited December 2013
2 Thank Wulfart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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177 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
SF Bay Area
Level Contributor
18 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Fantastic Campground”
Reviewed 5 January 2014

We have stayed at this campground in both June & August and we love it! It's located right across from the beach yet in a forest setting with great hikes. The Little River Store is just up the hill for basic needs and the main town of Mendocino is just a few miles away with restaurants, shopping, a pharmacy and grocery store. Campsites at this campground are very well kept. Each has a food locker (bring a lock), firepit (some have 1/2 metal grates) and a wooden picnic table. Rangers are friendly, well present & helpful. Firewood is available to purchase for $7 a bundle. The older bathrooms aren't the nicest but they do have flushing toilets & running water. The newer bathrooms are immaculate with individual toilet rooms and individual shower rooms which are coin operated. We saw rangers cleaning them every day. The lower campground is closer to the beach and hiking trails. We heard sites near the creek get a lot of mosquitos. We prefer the upper campground as it has a nice, large open meadow which gets more sun and is great for children to play in. We always bring our bikes, frisbees & baseball gloves. The campground is very quiet and we found other campers to be very respectful and barely noticed. The weather can be quite foggy and chilly but when the sun breaks through it warms up quickly. Dress in layers and prepare for cold nights & possible rain. Please feel free to private message me for pictures or questions regarding the upper campsites.

Visited August 2013
8 Thank onesassymom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
61 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Only visited Pygmy Forest, which was OK”
Reviewed 20 December 2013

We didn't visit the whole park, just the Pygmy Forest, one of 2 or 3 such forests along the coat. WE drove up Little RIver Airport Road to get to it, rather than hiking all the way in from the main park entry.

We took the short walk along the boardwalk, which was an easy way to see the pygmy forest and read interpretivce signs. It was interesting, but nothing I would go much out of my way to see.

Visited December 2013
1 Thank GPnorthwest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Berkeley, California
Level Contributor
380 reviews
174 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 114 helpful votes
“Huge contrasts”
Reviewed 6 December 2013

The Van Damme State Park is the place to see the huge contrast between the pygmy forest and the huge redwoods. I strongly recommend the Fern Canyon trail. From the parking lot you first explore the pygmy forest with its really tiny trees and bushes. The you hike into the canyon and encounter the contrast. Admittedly, the redwoods are all second growth because the originals were cut down in the 1800s. But you can still see the huge stumps and the still impressive second growth trees which give you an idea about the glory of these giants before they fell victim to logging. The trail is about 5 miles total and I recommend the eastern route down into the canyon and the western route up again.

Visited November 2013
2 Thank hiking-har
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Marin County, CA
Level Contributor
65 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“great hike”
Reviewed 14 November 2013

The fern trail and pigmy forest are breathtaking. The hikes were through one of the most beautiful forests. Excellently maintained. Serene, beautiful, wonderfully restorative.

Visited November 2013
2 Thank doug h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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