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Sonoma Coast State Beach

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Sonoma Coast State Beach
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Sonoma Coast State Beach
Campground Reservations

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Quick Facts
Reservation Status: Accepted Campground reservations can be made online or by calling (800) 444-7275.

General Information

Description - Long sandy beaches below rugged headlands, a craggy coastline with natural arches and secluded coves are features that make Sonoma Coast State Beach one of California's most scenic attractions.

The Beach, actually a series of beaches separated by rock bluffs and headlands, extends 17 miles from Bodega Head to Vista Trail located 4 miles north of Jenner. Beachcombers, fishermen, sunbathers and picnickers can access the beach from more than a dozen points along coast Highway 1.

Attractions - There is a five-mile trail system in the dunes. The beach is home to one of California's largest seal rookeries. In the winter, Bodega Head is one of the finest whale-watching sites on the North Coast. The park is also home to many kinds of seabirds. The ocean bay and river frontage offers perch, salmon, steelhead and smelt fishing.

Wright's Beach
There are 27 developed campsites located adjacent to the beach. There are no showers, but campers may use the hot showers at nearby Bodega Dunes Campground. Maximum trailer length is 27', no hook-ups are available. Each site has picnic tables, fire rings and paved parking spurs. Running water and flush toilets are nearby. When the campground is filled, the overflow area in the Wright's Beach Picnic Area may be used for self-contained vehicles. This area is along the roadway adjacent to the kiosk. Reservations are recommended, especially on the weekends and during the peak season.

Bodega Dunes
There are 98 campsites with hot showers, flush toilets, and a trailer sanitation dump station. Maximum trailer length is 31', no hook-ups are available. Campfire and Junior Ranger programs are held in the summer months. The day use area includes a disabled accessible boardwalk out to a classic sandy beach. No DOGS and NO FIRES are allowed on the beach as a measure to protect the snowy plovers. The western snowy plover is listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act as a threatened species because of loss of nesting habitat due to human development, invasion of European beach grass and predation by ravens, foxes, domestic dogs and cats.

Willow Creek Environmental Camp
11 primitive campsites with fire rings, picnic tables, and pit toilets. Campsites are within 1/4 mile from the parking lot and there is no running water. The only State Park campground on the Russian River, sites are shaded by willows but close to a large beach for swimming and fishing. Blue heron, egrets, osprey, and occasionally river otters can be seen by the river. To protect the wildlife, no dogs are allowed. These sites are not on the reservation system.

Pomo Canyon Environmental Camp
20 campsites with fire rings, picnic tables, pit toilets and running water nearby. Campsites are within 1/4 mile from the parking lot, one is disabled accessible. Camps are set in a beautiful redwood grove among the ferns. A three mile trail to Shell Beach takes off from the campground, crossing seasonal streams and rising up into the grassland with marvelous views of the river and finally the ocean. To protect the wildlife, no dogs are allowed. This campground is not on the reservation system.

Bodega Head is the rocky headland that forms the entrance into Bodega Harbor. The harbor side provides a popular crabbing area along the jetty, and the many hiking trails on the ocean side allow access to small, sandy coves and spectacular scenic blufftop views. The high cliffs offer excellent vantage points for observing migrating gray whales.

Goat Rock, near the mouth of the Russian River, is known for its scenic shoreline and easily accessible sandy beach. Picnic tables and restroom facilities are also available. Goat Rock beach is home to a colony of harbor seals which are fun to watch, but please stay 50 yards from the seals, especially during pupping season (March - August.) Due to the protected status of the seals, NO DOGS are allowed on Goat Rock Beach.

Shell Beach is a favorite location for beachcombing and tidepooling. It is used by schools as an outdoor classroom for the study of tidal pool marine life and enjoys a reputation as a prime fishing spot.

Duncan's Landing is famous for two things: as an early-day landing for loading small coastal ships with lumber and food products and for being the most dangerous point along the Sonoma Coast due to large and unpredictable surf. Heed the signs and stay off the rocks, the waves have come up to the parking lot and people have been swept off the rocks. In the spring the wildflower displays are spectacular.

Portuguese Beach & Schoolhouse Beach are beautiful sandy beaches surrounded by rocky headlands. Rock fishing and surf fishing are popular in these locations.

Salmon Creek Beach , where a lagoon forms as sand closes the mouth of Salmon Creek, is a popular summer destination. Nearly two miles of unbroken, scenic, sandy beach make this an excellent place for surf fishing, beachcombing, and picnicking. The surfers are here when the waves are good. NO DOGS and NO FIRES are allowed on Salmon Creek Beach due to the protection of the snowy plovers. The western snowy plover is listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act as a threatened species because of loss of nesting habitat due to human development, invasion of European beach grass and predation by ravens, foxes, domestic dogs and cats.

Recreation - Sonoma Beach offers opportunities for camping, hiking, fishing, picnicking, boating, canoeing/kayaking, nature programs, viewing spectacular coastal scenery, viewing wildlife, surfing and more.

Like most north coast beaches, Sonoma Coast is NOT FOR SWIMMING. Strong rip currents, heavy surf and sudden ground swells make even surf play dangerous. A small staff of well-trained lifeguards are usually on duty during the peak season, but with so much coastline to cover they may not be available.

Climate - Summers are generally mild. Fog is often encountered near the coastline, with sunny, warmer weather more common inland in the foothills. Winters are generally cool with considerable precipitation. Wear layers of clothing to accommodate cool to warm temperatures and good walking shoes. Rain protection should be included at any time of year.

Location - Sonoma Coast State Beach is located between Jenner and Bodega Bay on Highway One.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Not Recommended
Report: My girlfriend and I, along with two other couples, were looking for a relaxing weekend away from the stresses of the city. After we go our tents set up, we got the fire started and had a few beers. Within an hour and a hlaf of our arrival, we get a suprise visit from a young park ranger named Greg (badge #1086). He demanded IDs saying some of us looked too young to drink. While we gathered our IDs he searched through our belongings without our consent. He threatened multiple times to send us packing if we didn't cooperate with him in his sudden campsite infiltration, though he knew we had been drinking. Apparently, Sonoma County has a problem with underage drinking and this guy was just doing his job, however, his accosting us was the last thing we needed on a weekend away from troubles like him. The next night he returned and successfully busted some 20 year olds who were drinking quietly and peacefully. When I visited with them as the citations were being written, the Greg tried to get me to leave. I was only there to make sure no one's rights were being infringed upon. He reminded me that he was a "Federal Official" and that I had no business there. I told the kids how I work for a law firm and we exchanged e-mails. That shut the power-tripping sheriff wannabe up. Again, that badge number is 1086. Other than that, the grounds were nice, river was fun (though touristy), the other rangers great, all campers respectful, but the locals didn't wave...ever.

Filed By: D.O.B. (Sacramento, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I have been to this park two times. Both times I stayed at the Bodega Dunes campground. My first trip was on a weekend in mid-August in 2003. The campground was completely full. I would highly recommend making a reservation well in advance, because people were being turned away at the gate while I was checking in! My second trip was over the first weekend of October 2003. I still made a reservation, because they were almost booked before I left, but a huge storm rolled in the night before, which left the campground almost empty. So, I basically had the entire campground to myself. If you like that idea, then go during the winter. If you can withstand the wind and rain, it is worth it, especially going to the beach the morning after a storm!!! It is a great place for tent campers, which I am, (even in winter storms!). The showers are HOT and FREE, the park staff is always friendly, and the beach is a mile walk/car ride. Also, you are camping within the sand dunes, which makes this campground very unique.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Camping Sonoma Coast offers several family and environmental camprounds with over 150 total campsites.

More Information

Contact Information:
Russian River-Mendocino District Headquarters, 25381 Steelhead Boulevards , Duncans Mills, CA, 95430, Phone: 707-865-2391, Fax: 707-865-2046

Additional Information:
California Beaches -
North Coast State Parks and Beaches - The North Coast Region, stretches nearly 400 miles, from just north of San Francisco to the Oregon border. It is a land of rugged shoreline and pounding surf, of towering redwood forests and rushing rivers, of verdant hills and bountiful vineyards.
Northern California -

California State Parks - Official agency website.
Campground Reservations - Reserve your campground online here with reserveamerica.com


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