NorCal Roadtrips

An Explorer's Guide to Northern California

Highway 1 North Campgrounds

The campgrounds listed below are those not located in a national or state park or recreation area. Those are listed on the pages for that specific site. Choices include Point Reyes National Seashore (part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area), Tomales Bay State Park (boat-in sites), Sonoma Coast State Beach, Ft. Ross State Historic Park, Salt Point State Park, Manchester State Park, Van Damme State Park, Russian Gulch State Park, MacKerricher State Park, Westport-Union Landing State Beach, Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area, Sinkyone Wilderness State Park, Richardson Grove State Park, Benbow Lake State Recreation Area, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Patrick's Point State Park, Redwood National Park, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Jedediah Smith State Park and Tolowa Dunes State Park.

A general observation. In summer, exploring the California coast is a popular pastime. Campsites are in high demand. If you are a camper accustomed to winging it you are living dangerously here. A word to the wise is almost always sufficient.

At Leggett north of Ft. Bragg Hwy. 1 merges into Hwy. 101, so campgrounds between there and the Oregon border will be found on the Hwy. 101 North pages. Click here- Hwy. 101 Campgrounds.

Doran Regional Park

A campground on the water at Bodega Bay where you can launch a boat, fish from the jetty, clam or just enjoy the area. If you aren't fishing, head into town and get some fresh seafood for the evening meal. One issue: this place can get very windy, making it virtually impossible to pitch or secure a tent or enjoy the outdoors. Its the luck of the draw. Some days its warm and sunny and others you can barely stand up. There are several sections of the campgrounds, so you get close to the jetty or be somewhat protected in some dunes. But if its windy it won't matter where you try to hide. This is a Sonoma County Regional Park so county residents can get in free for day use with an annual pass and get a $4 discount on campsites.

Location: Take Hwy. 1 north to just south of Bodega Bay and follow the signs to Doran Park Road and the park. Its less than a mile from Hwy. 1.

Attraction: On a nice day, a pretty spot right on the coast. If you have a boat, you can launch into Bodega Bay, protected by a breakwater. Kids will like searching for starfish, and if you are a clam digger this is a good spot. The town of Bodega Bay has some nice attractions too. The crab shack across the street from Spud Point Marina has the best clam chowder anywhere; we go out of our way to be in that neighborhood at lunchtime. And while you are there, Bodega Head is a nice spot to relax and watch the fishing boats come and go.

Campsite Description: 10 sites for tents only, 128 sites for tents or RV's of any length, 1 hike-in/bike-in site and a group site for up to 50 people. Picnic tables, fire grills, drinking water, restrooms with flush toilets and showers, dump station, fish cleaning station and boat ramp. Some sites with wheelchair access. Our favorites are sites 68-72. The first two back onto the lagoon away from the ocean. The third has a nice view of the harbor entrance so you can see the fishing boats entering and leaving the harbor. You also have a birds-eye view of the Coast Guard station. Site 72 is the most private of this group as you have no close neighbor to one side. All are very close to the aforementioned Coast Guard station so you will share reveille and other things piped over the station PA system. If you like to sleep late take someone else's advice. Sonoma County residents get a $4 discount on campsite fees.

Season: Year round.

Reservations: Accepted on weekdays at 707-565-2267.

Public/private Public   Wheelchair Access Yes
Fees $32   Fishing Saltwater
Hook-ups No   Boating Bay/ ocean
Drinking Water Yes   Lake on Site No
Showers Yes   Elev Sea level
Toilets Flush   Supplies Nearby

Information: Sonoma County Parks Dept. 707-875-3540 or www.sonoma-county.org/camping.

References: California Camping, page 302.

Westside Regional Park

A campground on Bodega Bay on the Sonoma Coast with amenities similar to Doran Regional Park.

Location: From Hwy. 1 drive thru Bodega Bay to Eastshore Road. Turn left 1 block to Bay Flat Road and follow signs to the park.

Attraction: A place to camp and fish in a nice area.

Campsite Description: 45 sites for tents or RV's of any length; some pull-thru. Picnic tables, fire grills, drinking water, restrooms with flush toilets and showers, dump station, fish cleaning station and boat ramp. Some sites with wheelchair access.

Season: Year round.

Reservations: Accepted on weekdays at 707-565-2267.

Public/private Public   Wheelchair Access Yes
Fees $18   Fishing saltwater
Hook-ups No   Boating Bay/ ocean
Drinking Water Yes   Lake on Site No
Showers Yes   Elev Sea level
Toilets Flush   Supplies Nearby

Information: Sonoma County Parks Dept. 707-875-3540 or www.sonoma-county.org/camping.

References: California Camping, page 301.

Stillwater Cove Regional Park

A nice campground close to Ft. Ross and a logical alternative to Reef Campground at that park. Being a county park it is not as visible to visitors and thus may be available when better known campgrounds are full. Like Reef, other nearby sites include Kruse Rhododendron State Reserve and Salt Point State Park. Having said that, during abalone season this and other parks in the area are popular with divers so to be safe try to get a reservation. There are three non-reservable sites and if you get here before noon on a Friday you might have a shot for the weekend. Earlier in the week the odds improve. There are two short (.8 miles) hikes that are beautiful. The Cove Loop starts in the day use parking area and is a self-guided tour with 20 signed and described points of interest. You pick up a laminated guide at the trailhead and return it when you are done. Descriptions aside, this is a fine hike in the forest. The other one is an unmarked trail that begins directly across from the park entrance and meanders along the bluffs above the ocean. Great for wildflowers. It takes you to Stillwater Cove where you can relax and maybe commune with an abalone diver. However, beware that this beach has a reputation for being dangerous due to undertows and "sleeper" waves so be cautious. There is a resident ranger here so there are occasional ranger-lead walks in high season that are great for kids. The area can be foggy, as can Hwy. 1. This is a Sonoma County Regional Park so day use is free with an annual pass and campsites are discounted $4 to county residents.

Location: Off Hwy. 1 four miles north of Ft. Ross.

Attraction: A nice campground across Hwy. 1 from the ocean. For abalone divers Stillwater Cove itself is on the chart and there is beach access in several areas along the highway. Patrick's Point State Park, which is nearby, is probably ground zero for that sport; the waters there are actually an underwater marine sanctuary. For others its just a very pretty spot to stay and explore our wonderful coastline. Kruse Rhododendron State Reserve is about 5 miles to the north.

Campsite Description: 20 sites for tents or RV's to 30 feet and a hike-in/bike-in site that is in poor repair. Picnic tables, fire rings, dump station, drinking water and restrooms with flush toilets and showers. Some sites with wheelchair access. Sonoma County residents get a $4 discount on campsite fees. All but 3 sites may be reserved, and those three will generally fill up on weekends during the summer so if you don't get there before noon on a Friday the odds are against you.

Season: Year round.

Reservations: Accepted at 707-565-2267.

Public/private Public   Wheelchair Access Yes
Fees $32   Fishing No
Hook-ups No   Boating No
Drinking Water Yes   Lake on Site No
Showers Yes   Elev 100 ft.
Toilets flush   Supplies Nearby

Information: Stillwater Cove Regional Park. 707-847-3245 or www.sonoma-county.org/camping.

References: California Camping, page 296.

Stillwater Cove View

Gualala Point Regional Park

A small site close to the ocean and the Gualala River. Several campsites back right up to the river so those are great for swimmers. Fishing is catch-and-release only. All of the sites are very shady, which is good sometimes but not so when its cool or rainy. It is just south of the town of Gualala so if you tire of camp food you have choices. Popular with families with young swimmers. This is a Sonoma County Regional Park so county residents get a $4 discount on campsite fees; day use fees are waived with an annual pass.

Location: From Hwy. 1 past Jenner drive to Gualala and follow the signs.

Attraction: A small, less known campground in a nice area close to Hwy. 1.

Campsite Description: 18 sites for tents or RV's to 25 feet and 6 hike-in/bike-in sites. Picnic tables, fire rings, dump station, drinking water and restrooms with flush toilets and showers. Some sites with wheelchair access.

Season: Year round.

Reservations: Accepted weekdays at 707-565-2267.

Public/private Public   Wheelchair Access Yes
Fees $32   Fishing No
Hook-ups No   Boating No
Drinking Water Yes   Lake on Site No
Showers Yes   Elev Unk
Toilets Flush   Supplies Nearby in Gualala

Information: Gualala Regional Park. 707-785-2377 or www.sonoma-county.org/camping.

References: California Camping, page 293.

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