Photo courtesy Little River Inn  

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For more than 80 years, the Little River Inn has welcomed guests to “the edge of the world.” Perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this award-winning resort is just two miles south of Mendocino on Californias famed Highway One.

Guests arriving at Little River Inn check in at a Victorian-style house up the hill from the main entrance to the property. Built by Silas Coombs and later turned into an inn by the owner’s grandfather, the house is a classic Queen Anne that will make you feel like you’ve gone back in time.


Aerial View of Little River Inn Mendocino - Photo by Brendan McGuigan
The Little River Inn overlooks the Mendocino Coast (Photo: Brendan McGuiga)


But make no mistake about it, the Little River Inn is not stuck in the past. Its 65 rooms (64 of which have a view of the ocean) are filled with modern amenities that include everything from Keurig coffee makers to complimentary in-room Wi-Fi. Select rooms are equipped with steam showers and Jacuzzis for a relaxing, spa-like experience.


The Little River Inn, Mendocino, California  

And the dinner menu at the on-site restaurant is anything but old-fashioned. Executive Chef Marc Dym has elevated coastal cuisine with inventive flavors and locally sourced ingredients.

Gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options are clearly marked on the menu, which includes a selection of snacks, bar favorites, small and large plates, and even a four-course prix fixe option. The wine list is dedicated to California blends and varietals, and even the beer selection favors those from local breweries.


Enjoying a Cup of Coffee on Deck at Van Damme PropertyLittle River Inn Mendocino - Photo by Alina Tyulyu copy
Enjoying the food and drink offerings… as well as the views (Photo: Alina Tyulyu)


Adjacent to the dining room is Ole’s Whale Watch Bar. Named for Ole Hervilla, the original stogie-smoking, tall tale-telling bartender and innkeeper, the bar has a designated deck for after-dinner cigars and a full range of creative cocktails. It also boasts a panoramic view of the Pacific and a friendly atmosphere that draws in local residents as well as guests of the resort.


Fun Things to Do at Little River Inn


Ole is also the architect of the property’s challenging 9-hole golf course – surprisingly, the only one on the Mendocino Coast. The course is certified by Audubon International as a wildlife sanctuary and it’s not uncommon to see black-tailed deer stroll across the fairways.


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Looking down the golf course towards the ocean can be distracting, it’s that nice (Photo: Brendan McGuigan)


A different kind of sanctuary, the clubhouse has a food and beverage service and a pro shop stocked with branded merchandise. Left your clubs at home but want to practice your swing at the driving range or sink putts on the practice green? Complimentary club rentals and discounted green fees are some of the many thoughtful amenities available to guests of the inn.

Guests can also borrow tennis racquets for a match on the lighted championship tennis courts or book a private lesson with a pro. Other fun things to do include hiking the Fern Canyon Trail at the state park adjacent to the property, sea kayaking in the secluded bay at the foot of the cliff, or watching the sunset at the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse.


Romantic Retreats and Singles Getaways


Sound romantic? The opportunities for romance at the Little River Inn are endless. Impress your date with one of the resort’s packages that include a two-night stay in an ocean view room, a fruit and cheese plate, and a bottle of NV Roederer Estate Brut Sparkling Wine to enjoy in front of the fireplace. The inn even offers full-service elopement and wedding packages.


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The Electra Room offers a romantic retreat on the Mendocino Coast (Photo: Brendan McGuigan)


Of course, the inn isn’t just for couples. Solo travelers can enjoy a relaxing breakfast in bed followed by pampering treatments at the salon and day spa. Families can get away for the weekend and spend time together exploring the area on their own, or book a weeklong Distance Learning Package. The package includes guidebooks and other learning materials, a private lesson with a local naturalist, a safari tour at the B Bryan Preserve, and an evening stargazing session complete with hot chocolate.

The Little River Inn understands that Fido is a member of the family, too. The resort has designated pet-friendly rooms and provides guests with dog treats and water bowls.


Executive Retreats and Conferences


The inn is also ideal for executive retreats. You can close the deal over a friendly game of golf or get down to business in the conference room. Complimentary wireless internet, a guest computer and printer, and a fax machine are available. A free shuttle service is provided for executives flying into the Little River Airport.


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The spectacular view from the Little River Inn’s Room 102 – (Photo: Aubrie Pick)


No matter what your reason for staying at the Little River Inn, you’ll find a welcoming atmosphere, thoughtful amenities, world-class cuisine, and a view to die for!

LuxuryUnitedStates Recommends: To learn more, including rates and to make reservations, visit the Little River Inn.

For ideas and inspiration regarding alternative accommodations in the area, check out these places to stay on the Mendocino Coast.




Contributor Beth Hoke is a freelance travel and lifestyles writer.