Camping in Sonoma Coast

  • Sonoma
  • by BLOGGER
  • on OCTOBER 31, 2016
  • 757
  • 0
Nestled between the rolling vineyards of Sonoma County and the swells of the Pacific is some of the most scenic campgrounds in California, if not in the nation. Those willing to brave the coastal fog and cold to camp along the Sonoma Coast can enjoy gorgeous seaside hikes and world-class wines all in a single day. Here are some of the best campgrounds to enjoy all that the region has to offer.

Join the Club

Duncan Mills Duncans Mills Camping Club
25387 Steelhead Blvd
Duncans Mills, CA 95430
(707) 865-2024

Encompassing 37 acres of pristine scenery along the Russian River and within five miles of the ocean, Duncans Mills Camping Club is a private RV club that makes it easy for newcomers to experience the benefits of their exclusive grounds before joining. Features include complimentary kayaks and canoes, private riverfront sites, a fitness room, basketball courts, and a general atmosphere of neighborliness between campers.

Insider tip: If possible, plan your visit around one of their Sophie’s Cellars Happy Hours on Friday evenings, when guests enjoy wines from local vineyards and a buffet of hors d’oeuvres.

Scenery, Not Swimming

Wrights Beach Wright’s Beach Campground
7095 CA-1
Bodega Bay, CA 94923
(707) 875-3483

Between the highway and the ocean, Wright’s Beach Campground boasts 27 reservable sites on the southern end of Sonoma Coast State Park each complete with a fire ring, picnic table and paved parking spot. Though the water is too dangerous to wade into, book early for one of the oceanside campgrounds and enjoy the ambience of rolling waves and starry skies overhead at the end of each night.

Insider tip: Don’t miss the views of rocky ocean crags and vibrant fields of succulents at Duncan’s Landing Overlook, only a half-mile south of the campground.

Interact with Marine Life

Gerstle Cove Gerstle Cove Campground
25050 CA-1
Jenner, CA 95450
(707) 847-3221

Gerstle Cove Campground boasts 30 spacious sites with clean facilities onsite along the coastal bluffs of the remote Salt Point State Park, overlooking quarried rocks and tafoni — a natural phenomenon of honeycomb-like holes in sandstone. The Gerstle Cove Marine Area nearby is a haven for marine life where visitors can dive or kayak to catch a glimpse of the underwater ecosystem.

Insider tip: Bring along or purchase a state fishing license to enjoy the opportunities all along the rocky coastline to catch rockfish, lingcod and cabezon — though fishers are only permitted to take fin fish and abalone.

Among the Sand

Bodega Dunes Bodega Dunes Campground
3095 CA-1
Bodega Bay, CA 94923
(707) 875-3483
TripAdvisor: 3.5 stars, 63 reviews

To enjoy the conveniences of civilization and close proximity to the Beach, book a stay beside the rolling waves and shifting sand hills of Bodega Dunes Campground. Located within walking distance of Bodega Bay’s quaint downtown area, the camp features a scenic boardwalk overlooking the beach and pantry cupboards to protect your food from scavenging crows and raccoons.

Insider tip: Hot showers are available on site now for a small fee, a welcome convenience after a day enjoying the fine sands and salty air.

Tents and Teepees

Chanslor Ranch Chanslor Guest Ranch & Stables
2660 N Hwy 1
Bodega Bay, CA 94923
(707) 875-2721
Tripadvisor: 4 stars, 11 reviews

Beyond the standard tent and RV campsites, visitors to Chanslor Ranch can also enjoy their stay in provided platformed canvas tents or teepees for an extra $30 per night. Ranch rooms with ocean views are also available. The 378 acre ranch between Bodega Bay and Salmon Creek also offers kayak rentals and horseback riding through the property’s near-endless rolling hills.

Insider tip: The three teepee sites all feature indoor and outdoor fire pits as well as views of the protected wetlands cascading downwards towards the ocean swells.

River Wildlife

Willow Creek Beach Willow Creek Environmental Camp
25381 Steelhead Blvd
Duncans Mills, CA 95430
(707) 875-3483

For a certain kind of camper willing to brave the elements without the aid of running water or other modern amenities found at other campgrounds on this list, Willow Creek Environmental Campground is well-worth its primitive facilities. Eleven isolated first-come, first-served campgrounds provide walk-in shelter shaded by thick willows within a quarter-mile of the parking area.

Insider tip: Within Sonoma Coast State Park, Willow Creek is the only campground beside the lush Russian River, where river otters, ospreys and blue herons can often be spotted.

Beneath the Redwoods

Pomo Canyon Pomo Canyon Environmental Camp
Willow Creek Rd
Duncans Mills, CA 95430
(707) 875-3483

Enormous redwoods loom overhead and thick ferns abound underfoot at the walk-in campsites of Pomo Canyon Environmental Camp. This quintessential northern California scenery is only a three-mile walk from the grasslands and rocky outcroppings of the Pacific Ocean at nearby Shell Beach. Every first-come, first-served campsite includes the usual picnic table and fire pit, but as with Willow Creek, there are no trash receptacles or running water available.

Insider tip: Pomo Canyon’s considerable distance from the region’s major highways, relative to other Sonoma Coast campgrounds, pays off in the serene seclusions of the spacious campsites.

Beyond plentiful wineries, Sonoma County is home to a gorgeous slice of iconic California coastline that’s best enjoyed outside. There’s no wrong way to see the oceans, forests and open fields of the region, but these campgrounds give travelers an especially intimate way to experience the pristine natural environments.