Sonoma Coast State Park boasts a spectacular shoreline filled with numerous sea stacks, bluffs, and beaches, as well as more than 100 campsites for RVers to enjoy. Sonoma Coast State Park runs along the Pacific Ocean coastline for 17 miles from Vista Point in the north to Bodega Point in the south. The town of Jenner, California is situated four miles south of Vista Point and is the closest town to the park. The park is accessed along the Pacific Coast Highway which runs north to south through the park.
The area within Sonoma Coast State Park was originally home to the Pomo and Miwok Native American tribes who lived in seasonal redwood bark homes near Bodega Bay. The tribes were later hindered by Russian and Aleutian fur traders, Spanish missionaries, and thousands of gold miners who flocked to the region after 1849.
Numerous activities are found at Sonoma Coast State Park that range from hiking and horseback riding to surfing and whale watching during the winter months. The breathtaking scenery is perfect for photographers with coastal features like sea stacks, arches, and bluffs.
There are twelve beach areas for picnicking in the park which includes a gorgeous two-mile stretch of sand at South Salmon Creek Beach. Water sports like windsurfing, sea kayaking, and surfing are popular. You can even try your hand at surf fishing. Swimming is not advisable because of strong rip currents.
The weather in Sonoma Coast State Park is chilly with temperatures from 57 degrees in the winter to the upper 60’s in the summer months. During the summer months fog is prevalent in the morning before giving way to the sun and the winter months bring more than 5 inches of rain per month. Yet, no matter what time of year you take an RV trip to this scenic state park you'll be lured in by the sound of the crashing waves and sights of the Pacific Ocean all around you.
RV Rentals in Sonoma Coast State Park
Transportation in Sonoma Coast State Park
Sonoma Coast State Park is accessible from the Pacific Coast Highway which runs north to south through the park. The highway can be quite challenging to drive with numerous hairpin turns just before the northern section near Vista Point. There are areas in the central portion which can be problematic for larger RVs around Furlong Gulch and Bridgehaven. However, while driving along the Pacific Coast Highway, travelers can enjoy the beautiful scenery from numerous turnouts and overlooks which offer panoramic views.
Other paved roads within the park include Willow Creek Road, which follows the terrain of Willow Creek. The road has several hazardous areas for people driving larger RVs or pulling trailers and is best traveled in a car or SUV. Goat Rock Road allows for access to Goat Rock Beach and Blind Beach, as well as a couple of bluffs that have turnouts for viewing the coastline features. Duncan’s Landing is accessed easily from the Pacific Coast Highway with plenty of parking and the bluff is ideal for whale watching during the winter months.
Driving inside the campgrounds is not difficult with one-way roads that offer plenty of room for larger RVs and trailers. Drivers should be cautious while driving around the campground loops where children, bicyclists, and pedestrians are present. Please obey the posted 15 mile-per-hour speed limit in these areas.
Campgrounds and parking in Sonoma Coast State Park
Campsites in Sonoma Coast State Park
Bodega Dunes Campground
The Bodega Dunes campground offers 99 campsites within two specific loops. Each campsite features a fire ring and picnic table. There are no hookups provided for RVs or trailers. RVs and trailers can fill their water tanks at the potable water station located near the entrance of the campground. RVs and trailers are limited to 31 feet in length. Each campsite is furnished with a paved level pad. There is a dump station near the entrance of the campground. There are restrooms that contain flush toilets and tokens may be purchased for hot showers. Quiet hours must be observed at night, while generators can be used during the day. Dogs are only allowed within the campground when restricted by a six-foot leash. The campground also has a campfire center where visitors can watch interesting lectures and ranger programs in the evening.
Wright's Beach Campground
Wright’s Beach campground offers 27 campsites within one loop that are adjacent to the beach. Each campsite features a fire ring and a picnic table. The maximum length for RVs and trailers within the campground is 27 feet. There are no hookups available at the campground. Services and amenities are limited. The campground does not offer potable water or a dumping station. Visitors camping in a RV or trailer are encouraged to fill their water tanks at the Bodega Dunes campground where you will also find a dump station near the entrance to the campground. The campground offers flush toilets and hot showers can be found at the Bodega Dunes campground. Each campsite is furnished with a level paved pad. Quiet hours must be observed at night, while generators can be used during the day. Pets are only allowed within the campground when restricted by a six-foot leash.
Overflow camping is available for self-contained units. The overflow area is located in the parking area outside of Wright’s Beach campground. There are no amenities available. The overflow campground is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Willow Creek Environmental Campground
The Willow Creek Environmental campground offers 11 walk-in campsites. The primitive campground features a fire ring and picnic table at each campsite. There are plenty of willows around each campsite that provide shade. The campground is located near a swimming beach along the Russian River. There are only primitive pit toilets for campers. Quiet hours must be observed at night. Pets are not allowed within the campground.
Seasonal activities in Sonoma Coast State Park
When you want to get out of the RV, hiking in Sonoma Coast State Park is ideal for all types of hikers. The two-and-a-half-mile Kortum Trail runs along the high bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean from Wright’s Beach in the south to Blind Beach in the north. The over three-mile Shell Beach to Pomo Canyon Trail takes hikers from high bluffs to canyon terrain that ends near Pomo Canyon Campground. Another nice hike, especially during spring time when the wild flowers are blooming within the coastal Prairie, is the one-mile Red Hill Loop Trail. All trails are closed to pets.
Enjoying Water Sports
An intriguing, yet sometimes dangerous, thing to do in Sonoma Coast State Park is water sports. Windsurfers are pleased with the constant wind and waves which can be huge and challenging. Sea kayakers are treated to views of the coastline that boasts high bluffs, as well as sea stacks. Cold water scuba divers and snorkelers can enjoy the excellent marine life within the Russian River State Marine Conservation Area. Swimming along the coastline is not advised due to dangerous rip tides, backwash, and large waves.
There are plenty of ideal fishing spots at Sonoma Coast State Park that range from surf fishing to boat fishing to fishing along the Russian River. The Portuguese and Schoolhouse Beaches are perfect for surf fishing from a sandy beach where anglers can catch rockfish and perch. Boaters can find several ramps including Bodega Bay in the south and near Jenner along the Russian River. Anglers will find plenty of salmon and steelhead to catch in the Russian River, as well as sport fish outside the Russian River State Marine Conservation Area. You can go crabbing along the shoreline of Bodega Bay where you can also find red abalone and mussels. So no matter what type of fishing you had it mind, an RV visit to Sonoma State Park is the ideal choice.
There are twelve beaches that can be accessed at Sonoma Coast State Park. The beach areas offer plenty of sand for lounging and picnicking while enjoying stellar coastal scenery that includes hundreds of sea stacks and erosional features. One of the more popular beaches is Shell Beach where visitors will find superb tide pools to peruse. The largest of all is South Salmon Creek, which stretches for two miles and offers an excellent picnicking area. Swimming is not advisable at any of the beach areas due to dangerous rip currents, backwash, and waves.
Whale watching is one of the most popular things to do in Sonoma Coast State Park. Grey whales migrate south during the winter months from December to February and then migrate north along the coastline from March to May. The high bluffs are ideal for panoramic views of the whales with several lookouts such as Vista Point, Duncan’s Landing, and Goat Rock where you can take a short hike to Goat Rock Beach, which is home to a colony of harbor seals year round.
Driving the Pacific Coast Highway
A great thing to do in Sonoma Coast State Park is to take a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway that runs through the park. There are numerous high bluffs with vehicle turnouts for people to enjoy the stunning views that the sea stacks and high bluffs offer of the Pacific Ocean. One of the more popular places to stop along the highway is Vista Point in the northern portion of the park. Other great viewing spots while traveling along the Pacific Coast Highway are Rock Point and near the trailhead to Arched Rock Beach.