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Stay at Little River Inn in Mendocino with Kids

Where Coastal Charm and Family Togetherness Meet

Nestled along the captivating coastline of Mendocino, California, the Little River Inn stands as a hidden gem awaiting discovery by families seeking a picturesque retreat. With its blend of coastal charm, scenic vistas, and warm hospitality, this inn offers an idyllic escape that captures the hearts of young and old alike. From the moment you arrive, the air of relaxation and adventure merges, creating an environment where cherished family memories are born. Whether you’re exploring the rugged shoreline, indulging in delectable cuisine, or simply savoring the moments of togetherness, the Little River Inn beckons families to embrace the beauty of Mendocino and craft their own chapter in its storied history.

Disclaimer: Links in this page are meant to help you find relevant information and book attractions easier by linking directly to specific pages on partner websites (i.e. TripAdvisor, If you click a link, we may earn a small commission on transactions. This helps support the cost of running our website, and it adds absolutely no extra cost to you as the consumer. Thank you, we appreciate your support! You can read more on our disclosure policy.

The Little River Inn Story

Little River Inn Built in 1853

A Family Home

Back in 1853, the Mendocino Coast saw the arrival of Silas Coombs, a visionary whose actions would shape the course of the area’s history. Coombs didn’t just build a mill; he laid the foundation for what would become a vibrant logging town, igniting a fire of prosperity that would spread across the Little River region. Amidst his endeavors, he also crafted a family haven right where the heart of Little River Inn now beats.

In those early days, the Coombs family stood as pioneers on the Mendocino Coast, blazing trails for others to follow. The allure of logging and fishing drew intrepid souls to the rugged coast, with dreams of securing their fortunes in the industries and trades that thrived at the time. Their efforts painted the backdrop of a community that was bound by common goals and shared ambitions, etching the Coombs family and their legacy deeply into the tapestry of the region’s history.

Read more about the Little River Inn fascinating history in a book written family member, Mel McKinney.

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Family-friendly Little River Inn in Mendocino

Little River Inn Opens

In 1939, the Little River Inn entered a new chapter in its storied history with the visionary guidance of son-in-law, Ole Hervilla. Hervilla, an immigrant from Norway, saw the potential in the property and its captivating coastal surroundings. Drawing from his background in carpentry and a deep appreciation for hospitality, he embarked on a journey to transform the inn into a destination that would capture the essence of Mendocino’s natural beauty and charm.

Under Ole’s skilled craftsmanship and determination, the Little River Inn underwent a significant expansion and renovation, evolving from a modest roadhouse to a charming coastal retreat. The inn’s legacy of family ownership continued as Ole’s granddaughter, Cally Dym, and her husband, Marc, took the reins, ensuring that Ole’s vision and passion were carried forward into the modern era. After 80 years, the Little River Inn still remains in the family.

Ole’s legacy remains imprinted upon every corner of the Little River Inn, from the welcoming ambience to the scenic vistas that have drawn generations of travelers. His journey from Norway to the Mendocino Coast has left an indelible mark on the inn’s history, transforming it into a cherished haven where families and adventurers alike can experience the enduring magic of the California coastline.

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Story of the Abalone at Little River Inn

The Story of the Abalone

You may notice a lot of mentions of Abalone. Here it the story behind this controversial shellfish. Ole Hervilla, the visionary behind the transformation of the Little River Inn, had a unique connection to the abalone industry in Mendocino. Ole’s journey from Norway to the California coast led him to not only shape the inn’s legacy but also intersect with the Abalone controversy that emerged in the region.

Abalone was a very popular dish at the Little River Inn, but commercial fishing and harvesting of Abalone became highly regulated due to population reduction. This caused a some big controversy for the time and some trouble for Ole. As a result Abalone is no longer on the menu, but I do wonder what an Abalone Burger must have tasted like.

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Why Families Will Love Little River Inn

Spacious family rooms in Little River Inn

Comfortable Rooms

Indulgence takes on a new form at the Little River Inn, where every room tells a story of comfort and coastal charm. Each abode is a sanctuary, whether you are staying in the main house or one of the many cottages on the property, and designed to embrace you in a blend of modern luxury and timeless elegance. With breathtaking views of the Mendocino coastline or the lush gardens, the rooms are more than just spaces; they’re a retreat where you can unwind and rejuvenate.

Every detail, from the plush bedding to the thoughtful amenities, like fireplaces, balconies, and jacuzzi tubs, is meticulously curated to ensure your stay is nothing short of exceptional. Whether you’re gazing at the Pacific Ocean’s horizon or immersing yourself in the tranquility of the surrounding nature, the comfortable rooms at the Little River Inn envelop you in a cocoon of relaxation, inviting you to savor every moment of your coastal escape.

Our family loved misty mornings on the balcony, enjoying breakfast and Bloody Marys delivered to our room as we rocked lazily and taking in the spectacular views. By night we would enjoy a glass of wine in the rocking chairs as the fog moved, before gathering around the cozy fireplace to laugh and talk about our days adventures.

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Family-friendly dining room at Little River Inn

Little River Inn Dining Room

The restaurant at the Little River Inn is a culinary haven that captures the essence of Mendocino’s coastal bounty and transforms it into an exquisite dining experience. Overlooking the mesmerizing Pacific Ocean, this dining establishment presents a feast for both the senses and the soul. Led by Executive Chef Marc Dym, the restaurant takes pride in showcasing locally sourced ingredients, allowing guests to savor the flavors of the region’s abundant produce and seafood.

The restaurant offers a menu that harmoniously blends classic dishes with contemporary twists, resulting in a culinary journey that’s both familiar and exciting. Whether you’re indulging in delectable seafood offerings or savoring the creations that pay homage to the local terroir, each bite is a celebration of Mendocino’s natural riches. Kiddos will love the selection of options on the kid’s menu, but my kids LOVED the cheese plate.

The ambiance is as captivating as the cuisine itself, with panoramic views of the ocean serving as a backdrop to your dining experience. The cozy fireplace and elegant decor create an atmosphere that’s perfect for intimate dinners or celebratory gatherings.

For those who appreciate the art of wine pairing, the restaurant boasts an impressive selection of local wines that complement the menu offerings, enhancing the overall gastronomic experience. From sunrise to sunset, the restaurant at the Little River Inn offers a culinary journey that mirrors the beauty of the surrounding landscapes, ensuring that every meal becomes a cherished memory etched in the tapestry of your Mendocino getaway.

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Ole's Whale Watch Bar at Little River Inn

Ole’s Whale Watch Bar

If you’ve followed our blog long, you know I love me a cute bar, especially if I can enjoy it with my kids. Ole’s Whale Watch Bar is located just off the Little River Inn dining room and does serve food, so kids are welcomed inside. The name comes form the amazing ocean views, that stretch the length of the bar. There even certain times of the year that you can see whales making their migrations, hence the name of the bar. The nautical-themed decor, complete with maritime artifacts and vintage photos, creates an ambiance that invites you to step into a world of oceanic wonder.

The bartenders serve up delicious craft cocktails, including the Chef’s Kiss made with Silas Coombs 5 year Rye. You can only get the Silas Coombs Rye at Ole’s Whale Watch Bar, and I definitely recommend trying a dram. Also only found at the bar is the exclusively brewed Saison ale made with candy-capped mushrooms. We tried it and it was delightful, fruity and fresh.

On the bar snacks menu I highly recommend ordering the Cracklins. They are made in-house, seasoned to perfection, and served with hot sauce. Needless to say, we wolfed them down and ordered another round.

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Majestic atmosphere at Little River Inn

Charming Atmosphere

The Little River Inn in Mendocino radiates a charming and family-friendly atmosphere that envelops visitors in a warm embrace from the moment they arrive. As a place where generations have gathered to create cherished memories, the inn offers an idyllic escape where families can reconnect and savor the simple joys of life.

Perched above the rugged coastline, the inn’s inviting ambiance extends from its cozy rooms to its sprawling gardens. Here, children can roam freely, exploring the natural beauty of the surroundings while parents unwind in tranquility. The enchanting ocean views, fresh sea air, and lush greenery create an idyllic backdrop for shared adventures.

The Little River Inn is more than a place to stay; it’s a destination that caters to every family member’s needs. From specialized children’s menus in the restaurant to a range of activities designed for all ages, the inn ensures that everyone experiences a slice of coastal paradise. Whether it’s building sandcastles on the beach, embarking on coastal hikes, or engaging in fun-filled games, the Little River Inn curates experiences that foster togetherness and create lasting bonds.

With a legacy that spans generations, the inn carries a sense of timelessness that invites families to disconnect from the hustle of daily life and immerse themselves in the magic of Mendocino. The Little River Inn exudes a warmth that makes every family member feel like a cherished guest, embracing them in an environment where laughter, exploration, and cherished moments come effortlessly.

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Family-friendly golfing at Little River Inn


The Little River Inn in Mendocino offers more than just breathtaking coastal views and comfortable accommodations; it also features its very own golf course, adding an extra layer of leisure and recreation to your stay. The Little River Inn Golf Course, established in 1957, is a nine-hole course that winds its way through the stunning landscapes of the Mendocino coast.

This family-friendly golf course welcomes golfers of all skill levels, from beginners looking to learn the sport to experienced players seeking a unique coastal challenge. The course’s design incorporates the natural beauty of the surroundings, with ocean views, towering trees, and rolling fairways that create a scenic and enjoyable golfing experience.

Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a casual enthusiast, playing a round of golf at the Little River Inn Golf Course offers a chance to immerse yourself in the serene coastal atmosphere while enjoying a game that blends relaxation and recreation. And after a day on the greens, you can return to the inn to relish the comfort and charm that await you, creating a perfect balance between active pursuits and rejuvenating relaxation.

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The Spa at Little River Inn


The spa at the Little River Inn in Mendocino is a haven of tranquility and rejuvenation, offering a range of treatments and experiences that cater to your body, mind, and spirit. Nestled in a serene coastal setting, the spa is designed to provide a retreat from the everyday, allowing you to unwind and embrace a sense of relaxation like no other.

With skilled therapists and a variety of treatments, the spa offers an array of options, from massages that soothe tired muscles to facials that invigorate the skin. Whether you’re seeking a moment of solitude or indulging in a couples’ escape, the spa’s diverse offerings cater to your individual needs and preferences.

The coastal surroundings are seamlessly integrated into the spa experience, creating a backdrop that enhances the sense of serenity. From the calming sound of the ocean waves to the panoramic views of the Pacific, every aspect of the spa experience is designed to transport you to a world of peace and renewal.

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Watch Our Stay from Little River Inn!

That’s A Wrap!

In the embrace of the Little River Inn, families can find an oasis that blends the comforts of home with the allure of a coastal paradise. From the enchanting landscapes that surround it to the welcoming ambiance that permeates its walls, this inn offers an escape where the worries of the world are replaced with the joy of shared moments.

Whether you’re embarking on a scenic adventure, savoring culinary delights, or simply relishing the serenity of the ocean breeze, the Little River Inn in Mendocino paints a canvas of family memories waiting to be brushed with laughter, exploration, and connection. Choose this haven as your next family retreat, and discover the magic that blooms when generations come together in a place that captures the very essence of Mendocino’s beauty and charm.

Disclaimer: Links in this page are meant to help you find relevant information and book attractions easier by linking directly to specific pages on partner websites (i.e. TripAdvisor, If you click a link, we may earn a small commission on transactions. This helps support the cost of running our website, and it adds absolutely no extra cost to you as the consumer. Thank you, we appreciate your support! You can read more on our disclosure policy.

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I am a busy mama with 3 delicious babies and a serious itch for travel and writing (when I am not bartending, that is)! After graduating from Cal State San Marcos with a B.A. in Communications, I decided to start a family and pursue a career in freelance writing. I created HotMamaTravel as an outlet to do what I love while sharing useful travel tips and inspiration with others. Our mission is to show parents how to master travel with kids, while keeping your Saturday-night selves. We call it "Family travel...with a twist".

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