Sonoma Beaches

Beautiful, Secluded
Northern California Beaches

Sonoma beaches are among the loveliest on the California coast. The bluffs and rugged headlands hide secluded coves and pocket beaches. There are grasslands, woodlands and dunes. Wildlife is abundant.

Sea stacks and offshore rocks provide a haven for seabirds, seals and sea lions. Numerous tide pools harbor fascinating little sea creatures. In winter and spring, gray whales pass by on their annual migration.

Photo courtesy of Sonoma County Tourism Bureau
Sandy cove on the Sonoma Coast, Northern California beaches

You'll find many recreational opportunities here. There are numerous hiking trails, where you'll enjoy stunning views from the bluffs and headlands. Sonoma beaches offer some of the best surfing north of Santa Cruz. Beginners can take lessons in Bodega Bay, California.

If surfing's not your style, go horseback riding, kayaking, abalone diving or fishing. You can rent a charter in Bodega Bay, or go rock fishing, surf fishing or river fishing.

Take a drive. Highway 1 hugs the coastline here, curving back and forth, and the views are beautiful. The drive between Fort Ross and Bodega Bay is particularly scenic. Take care when driving, because you'll be tempted to gawk at the scenery instead of the road.

Then again, you might prefer to do a whole lot of nothing. Sonoma beaches provide plenty of room to relax.

Sonoma Coast Hotels & Lodging

Includes accommodations in Sea Ranch, Jenner, and Bodega Bay.

Gualala Point Regional Park

Photo courtesy of Sonoma County Tourism Bureau
Sea lions on the Sonoma coast

Gualala Point Regional Park is located at the mouth of the Gualala River, directly across from the village of Gualala, California, which sits on the other side of the river in neighboring Mendocino County. You'll find lodging, outfitters, and restaurants in town.

In addition to sandy beaches and lovely coastal vistas, this 195 acre Sonoma beach park offers picnicking, camping hiking, kayaking, and fishing. There are open meadows, coastal forests, and an abundance of wildlife, including seals and migrating grey whales.

Blufftop trails provide panoramic views of the coastline and take you south through the private community of Sea Ranch.

There's a day use fee, restrooms, a visitor center, and a paved wheelchair-accessible trail to the beach.

The camping area is in a redwood forest along the Gualala River. Facilities include picnic tables, restrooms with flush toilets and coin-operated showers, firepits, and a dump station.

The park is open year round. There are fees for day use. Dogs are permitted on a leash. The park is operated by the County of Sonoma.

Salt Point State Park

You'll find a lot to see and do in the 6,000 acres of Salt Point State Park. There are sandy Sonoma beaches, rocky coves, grasslands, woodlands, pygmy forests and stunning views. You can hike or ride your horse on the 20 miles of trails, and it's a popular spot for abalone diving and camping.

Stillwater Cove Regional Park

This 210 acre park offers spectacular coastal views, open meadows, coastal forests, and a small sandy beach. History buffs can take the half mile trail to the restored Fort Ross schoolhouse, built in 1885.

Stillwater Cove is a popular spot for launching small boats and for skin and scuba diving. It's especially notable for abalone diving. Take the long stairway to the beach, or choose the wheelchair-accessible path.

The park includes a campground with restrooms, coin-operated showers, electrical outlets and a dump station. Dogs are permitted on a leash.

Fort Ross State Historic Park

Photo courtesy of California State Parks
Fort Ross State Historic Park

Fort Ross is a little piece of tsarist Russia on the Sonoma Coast. The fort was established in 1812 as a trading base and agricultural colony meant to supply Russian communities in Alaska. The only surviving building is the Rotchev house. Several other buildings have been reconstructed, including the Russian Orthodox chapel, the stockade, and others.

The park includes 3,386 acres of coastal bluffs, sandy beaches, coniferous and redwood forests, and open grasslands. Wildlife is abundant, including grey foxes, harbor seals, sea lions and migrating gray whales.

Recreational activities include camping, fishing, picnicking, hiking, diving, and abalone diving. Divers can explore the wreck of the 19th century ship, the S.S. Pomona.

Twenty primitive campsites are available seasonally at the Reef Campground on a first-come first-served basis. Facilities include tables, stoves, food lockers. flush toilets and drinking water. The campground is not suitable for large RVs.

You can download a brochure, park map, and campground map from the California State Parks' web page for Fort Ross State Historic Park.

Sonoma Coast State Park

Photo courtesy of Sonoma County Tourism Bureau
Sonoma beaches

Sonoma Coast State Park features some of the most scenic Northern California beaches. There are long sandy beaches, secluded coves, tide pools, sea stacks, and natural arches. There's plenty to do, including hiking, horseback riding, fishing, crabbing, beachcombing, surfing, picnicking, camping, and abalone diving.

Westside Regional Park

This small park in Bodega Bay, California is a popular spot for fishing. Located on the harbor side of Bodega Head, the park features a boat launch, boat rinsing station, and a fish cleaning station.

There are 48 campsites. Facilities include wheelchair-accessible restrooms with flush toilets, coin-operated showers, picnic areas, and an RV dump station. The park is operated by the County of Sonoma.

Doran Regional Park

Doran Beach, Bodega Bay
Doran Beach, Bodega Bay, California

You'll find 2 miles of sandy beach at Doran Beach - one of the best Sonoma beaches for family outings. The 127 acre park is located on the sand spit that separates Bodega Bay from the harbor and the town. The beach is on the ocean side of the spit. Enjoy a variety of water sports here, including surfing and body boarding.

The harbor side of the park offers a salt marsh for bird watchers. A rock jetty at the mouth of Bodega Bay Harbor provides fishing and crabbing access. The boat launch can accommodate boats up to 20 feet.

You'll find parking, picnic tables, wheelchair-accessible restrooms, 138 campsites, coin-operated showers, a dump station, boat launch, fish cleaning station, and an ocean fishing pier. There are fees for day use. Dogs are permitted on a leash.

The park is operated by the County of Sonoma. For more information, see Sonoma County Regional Parks.

Virtual Guidebooks provides panoramic views of Sonoma Coast beaches.

More Northern California Beaches

Northern California Beaches | Map of Northern California Beaches | Del Norte County Beaches | Mendocino County Beaches | Humboldt County Beaches 

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