Salt Point State Park is packed with a beautiful coastline, tide pools, hiking trails, and incredible scenery to enhance your RVing adventure. Located 90 miles north of San Francisco in Sonoma County, Salt Point State Park encompasses 6,000 acres near the town of Jenner, California. The park features plenty of diversity from six miles of coastline to 20 miles of hiking trails to a marine sanctuary that is perfect for scuba divers. Along the coastline, you will find dramatic views from rocky outcrops, thrashing surf, and beach areas that will delight you. Inland, the grasslands are dotted with forest, hills climbing up into the air, and plenty of places to stop and enjoy the tranquility. Northern California has a climate all of its own, with temperatures fluctuating when the fog rolls inland. Be prepared for a little sun, rain, and maybe even a little wind.
Salt Point State Park is composed of unique geologic formations that helped build the city of San Francisco in the mid-1800s. The sandstone from the area was originally quarried to pave the streets of the City by the Bay. The coastline is dotted with numerous caverns formed from tafoni, which is an eroded sandstone feature of a honeycomb system that includes knobs, ridges, spines, and caves. The area was originally home to the Kashaya Pomo Indians, who collected salt from the numerous caverns made of tafoni. You'll love exploring the unique natural attractions of this beautiful state park during your RV road trip to California.
RV Rentals in Salt Point State Park
Transportation in Salt Point State Park
Driving within Salt Point State Park is primarily along Pacific Highway 1. Drivers will find plenty of turnouts to avoid traffic buildup along Pacific Highway 1 when encountering problems. The highway is very scenic with undulating roads throughout the park. The northern section of the park offers plenty of straightaways and is fairly easy to navigate. The highway has a stretch in the middle of the park that might be difficult for inexperienced RV drivers. Just south of Miller Creek, the highway makes a wide turn and at Miller Creek be prepared for a hairpin turn. North of Miller Creek up to Phillip Gulch there are some tricky turns, especially around the Stump Beach Cove turnout. The southern portion of the park continues with undulating roads with several hairpin turns around the campground entrances.
If possible, traveling within the park is best done with a separate vehicle. The tricky turns and terrain make maneuvering difficult, especially for larger RVs.
The campground loop roads are narrow and hard to navigate for larger RVs. Within the campgrounds, the speed limit is 15 mph. Drivers should use caution and driving speeds may need to be less than 15 mph. Watch for bicyclists and pedestrians while driving along the campground loops. Parking is available at the campgrounds and day-use parking lot.
Campgrounds and parking in Salt Point State Park
Campsites in Salt Point State Park
Gerstle Cove Campground
There are 30 sites available within the Gerstle Cove Campground. The campground is located on the ocean side of Pacific Highway 1. Each site contains a fire ring, picnic table, and food storage locker. There are no full service hookups for RVs within the campground. Most sites are paved, although keep in mind they may have a slide grade. There are several drinking water stations and restrooms situated throughout the campground. Showers are not available. There is not a dump station located within the park or campground. However, you will have easy access to hiking trails next to the campground.
Reservations are available for each campsite through their system. Length limits for RVs is 31 feet and 27 feet for trailers. Generators are allowed to be use during the day. There is additional parking available for second and towed cars.
The Woodlands Campground consists of two loops that contain 79 campsites. The campsites within these two loops offer a picnic table, fire ring, and food storage locker. There are no full service hookups available at the campground. The campground has various drinking water stations situated throughout the loops as well as restrooms. Showers are not available. There is not a dump station located within Salt Point State Park The nearest dump station available is in Petaluma. However, you will be within walking distance to some nice hiking trails.
Campsites are available for reservation through their system. RVs are limited to 31 feet and trailers at 27 feet. Each site has a concrete pad for vehicle parking. Generators may be used during the day. Additional parking is available for second and towed cars. However, keep in mind they may have a slight grade.
There is overflow camping available in the evening for self-contained vehicle within the day-use parking lot on a first-come, first-served basis. There are no amenities such as drinking water, restrooms or full service hookups. No fires or tents allowed. The parking lot is gravel. This is a great option if you are taking a spontaneous RV trip to the park.
Seasonal activities in Salt Point State Park
Scuba diving and free diving are two other activities you can take advantage of while at Salt Point State Park. The Gerstle Cove State Marine Reserve was one of the first protected underwater areas in the state of California. Divers take advantage of the sandy beach to enter or they will use a small row boat which is allowed. The marine reserve is home to one of the largest bull kelp forests along the coast which is home to the slow growing red abalone.
Hiking at Salt Point State Park is a great idea once you're ready to get out of the camper. The park sports 20 miles of established trails and six miles of coastline. Inland, the trail system runs through an incredibly rare dwarf forest. The forest features redwood, undersized pine, and cypress trees. There is also extensive hiking in grassland meadows and prairies within the park. Along the six miles of coastline, there are several lookouts for excellent gazing out over the Pacific Ocean. The unique tafoni formations are home to hundreds of tide pools that are teeming with marine life.
Enjoying Water Sports
Visitors take advantage of the numerous water sports available at the park. Surfers can ride the highly challenging waves nearly year round. There is plenty of good access to the waves from one of the sandy beach areas like Stump Cove Beach. Windsurfing is also a popular water sport with constant winds and perfect waves to carve while gliding across the Pacific Ocean. Sea kayakers can paddle away from the rip tides and gather a completely different perspective of the beautiful coastline.
Visiting the Visitor's Center and Attending Nature Programs
The park has an excellent visitor's center, which sports a number of interactive exhibits explaining the park's eco-system and wildlife. Within the visitor’s center, you can expect to see exhibits on the natural, cultural, and land-use histories of the area. There is a junior ranger program for young children as well as ranger-led nature hikes. In the evening, the park also hosts several ranger lectures that are geared toward environmental protection of the area.
Marine Wildife Viewing
During the winter months, visitors can catch a glimpse of migrating gray whales on their way to Baja, California. One of the best overlooks for viewing is Sentinel Rock near the Fisk Mill Cove day use area. There are two hiking trails along the cliffs, Salt Point Trail and the Grace Rock Trail, which offer spectacular gray whale viewing options as well. Once you head out of the camper you can expect to view other marine life such as seals, starfish, and sea lions.
Fishing at Salt Point State Park is an ideal activity during your RV vacation. The coastline offers an abundance of surf fishing. While fishing, you are allowed to catch finfish and abalone. Techniques vary from rod and reel to diving and spearfishing. Besides abalone, visitors can expect to catch greenling, rockfish, and rock crab in the waters filled with kelp. Gerstle Cove State Marine Reserve and portions of the Stewarts Point State Marine Reserve are off-limits to all types of fishing or collecting of abalone.