Greenwood State Beach

A Scenic Mendocino Beach With a History

Greenwood State Beach offers scenic views, a small sandy beach and a bit of history. It's a place to take in the view, have a picnic, or do a little fishing or kayaking. Picnic tables, fire rings and a hiking trail are located on the bluffs overlooking the beach, and a somewhat steep trail leads down to the beach. Sea stacks and sea caves offshore add to the drama.

Photo courtesy of Lee Coursey |

It all began in the the 1850s when the town of Greenwood (now called Elk) was settled and lumber operations began. Redwoods and bark from the tan oaks were shipped from there to San Francisco, and thence on to China. An unusual wharf was built, making use of the offshore rock outcroppings. You can see a mural depicting the wharf in the Visitor's Center, which houses a museum and gift shop.

The beach is located in Elk, California, which has grown in recent years and, though still a quiet hamlet, now features some upscale restaurants, inns, and bed and breakfast accommodations. All told, a good place to get away from it all in comfort.

The Visitor Center is located in town, not far from the beach. It includes displays detailing the town's beginning as a lumber operation. There's a mural depicting the unusual wharf, which was quite dramatic nestled against offshore rock outcrops. The museum includes photographs, period furniture and other artifacts of the town's past.

Facilities include an unpaved parking area and restrooms. Located about 20 miles north of Mendocino, California. See the California State Parks site for more info about Greenwood State Beach.

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