I found out about this campground from family, and I tent camped there in June 2008.
Describe your camping trip:
Van Dam State Park is four miles south of Mendocino on the northern California coast. Half of the campsites sit along Little River Creek in a lush fern canyon, and the other half are on the top of a hill circling a large grassy meadow. Just across Highway One is Little River beach. This beach is very protected from the wind and high surf, which makes it a great place to take small children. The setting at Van Damme is beautiful. The canyon is lush and green year round. You can hear the sound of Little River creek in all of the lower campsites. The redwood trees tower all around you. Kids can ride their bikes or walk up Fern Canyon. You can walk to the beach. There are ranger led campfires on the weekends during the summer and a nice little visitor's center. The Little River store is just up the hill, and Mendocino is just a few miles away. Each campsite has a picnic table and fire pit. The fire pits are round and have a steel grate that flips on and off of the fire ring. There are also a few fire rings on the beach. The restrooms on the hill are new, and the ones in the canyon are the same ones I used as a kid. They do have running water, lights, outlets and showers (bring quarters). Van Damme is a California State Park and Beach, so campsites can be reserved starting on January 2nd through Recreation.gov. Little River beach is a very popular spot to snorkel for abalone. As a result, reservations for the campground fill up first around the low tides in the summer. Weekends are most popular, assume the campground will be completely reserved from May through September.
Pros: Beautiful, uncrowded, near many attractions.
Cons: It can be cold in the summer. You have to make reservations in January.
Nearby attractions: Mendocino, Fort Bragg, beaches, waterfalls, hikes, diving, canoeing, kayaking.