Salt Point State Park covers nearly 10 square miles of rugged coastline on Highway One on the Sonoma Coast. There are two state campgrounds: Gerstle Cove, 30 drive-in sites including a group campsite on the ocean side of the highway; and to the east of Hwy 1 is Woodside, 79 sites of which 20 are walk-in and 10 are hike/bike. Dogs are allowed at the drive-in sites so best to check ahead.
If you're up for a long drive on narrow roads that twist through redwood canyons and along rocky cliffs, you'll be rewarded by stunning views of the Sonoma coast, miles of hiking trails, and the charm of weathered barns, grazing sheep and fresh oysters at the local grocery store.
Your drive from most areas will include a freeway drive on 101 to either Petaluma or Santa Rosa. The Petaluma routes go through hilly ranch land to Hwy 1 at either Tomales or most commonly, Bodega Bay. The most direct route - River Road, four miles north of Santa Rosa, will get you from 101 to Jenner in just under an hour. From there, you'll average 30 mph as you drive through some of northern California's most amazing coastal views on your way to Salt Point. NOTE: there are several one-way spots where the highway's being repaired, so check ahead for possible delays.
We used to stay here as college kids in wetsuits, climbing down through the kelp forests to pry elusive 9-inchers out from under rocks in the murky depths. Now, I'm content to remain above the surface and stick to the hiking trails. But the divers and fishers still come.
We stayed at Gerstle Cove, in site 24 - a level, handicap-accessible site with lots of room and a brand new storage locker. Except for some road noise (sites 21-27 are near the highway), the camp was very quiet. Sites 5,7,9 are very private. Site 6 is close to the bathrooms if that's important to your group. There are no showers.
Birds will aggressively peck at your food, even crumbs, even unopened packages, ANYTHING that looks like it could contain food. Pack everything away, even if you're just running to the bathroom. Even your citronella candle will be pecked open by these pesky birds!
Bring your dogs, but know they are not allowed on most trails, and at most Sonoma County beaches! You can hike with dogs ("wink and a nod" basis) by driving to Kruse Rhododendron park and walking the fire road, but it's dusty. Stillwater Cove beach is dog-friendly but leash law may or may not be enforced there.
If you want a break from camp cookin', nearby Ocean Cove Grill is the best bet for great food, drinks, view and hospitality.
We had a great time on our most recent trip and we'll be back!
The rangers were really helpful and Jacque especially enjoyed her job, going above and beyond to make sure we had a good stay.
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