Sonoma Coast State Park features some of the most scenic beaches to be found in California.
The park is made up of a series of beaches separated by rocky bluffs and headlands. There are long sandy beaches, secluded coves, tide pools, sea stacks, and natural arches. There's an underwater park for divers that extends the length of the park.
This is one of the most popular parks in Northern California for good reason. There's plenty to do, including hiking, horseback riding, fishing, crabbing, beachcombing, surfing, picnicking, camping, and abalone diving. However, this is not a good place to go swimming or wading. All these beaches have dangerous currents and waves. Even the surf area is unsafe, and sneaker waves have claimed unwary visitors.
The park starts just north of Jenner and extends 17 miles south to Bodega Head, totaling some 5,000 acres.
Sonoma Coast Beaches
The beaches are listed below, from north to south:
Each beach has parking and a path to the beach. Many have restrooms.
The best beach for scenery and wildlife is Goat Rock Beach, which hosts a colony of harbor seals.
The best beach for tide pools and beachcombing is Shell Beach.
The best beaches for fishing are Portuguese, Schoolhouse, and Salmon Creek Beaches.
The best beach for sunbathing is Salmon Creek Beach, with 2 miles of sandy beach and grassy dunes.
The park offers 5 miles of trails, with horse trails located at Salmon Creek Beach.
There are two developed camping areas at Wright's Beach and Bodega Dunes, and two primitive environmental camps at Willow Creek and Pomo Canyon.
Wright's Beach provides 27 campsites next to the beach, while Bodega Dunes offers 98 campsites among the dunes. Both campgrounds include picnic tables, fire rings, flush toilets and drinking water.
Bodega Dunes also has hot showers, an RV dumping station, campfire programs, and a handicapped accessible boardwalk out to the beach. These campgrounds are very popular, and reservations are recommended.
Willow Creek provides 11 primitive campsites along the Russian River. There are fire rings, picnic tables and pit toilets, but no running water.
Pomo Canyon has 20 campsites set in a ferny redwood grove. There are fire rings, picnic tables, pit toilets, and running water. These campsites are on a first-come first-served basis.
Download a brochure with a detailed park map at California State Parks: Sonoma Coast State Beach.