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California’s coast is home to numerous state parks, all unique and offering something different. Salt Point State Park occupies six miles of beautiful coastline, next to one of the first underwater marine preserves in California. Salt Point is approximately 90 miles north of San Francisco and covers 6,000 acres. The park is home to sandstone bluffs, rugged beaches, redwood forests, and outstanding viewpoints for whale watching. Some of these sandstone features, which were once quarried to help build San Francisco, are of particular interest, with the honeycomb-like patterns worn into the rock through generations of erosion.
This region of California is rich in Native American history. The indigenous tribes of the area were mainly known for their beautiful basket weaving, some of which is preserved today. When Europeans started to settle California, Salt Point became a very active area for timber operations and cattle grazing in later years. The state of California acquired the land for its fantastic natural resources, preserved today. Visitors can dive through kelp forests, hike among redwoods, and camp in Salt Point State Park's RV campgrounds. Wildlife abounds, including foxes, bobcats, black bears, oystercatchers, and pelicans.
Once you book an RV in Sonoma County, you'll find plenty to do both above and below the water at Salt Point State Park.
There are over 20 miles of hiking and horse trails at Salt Point, and one of the most popular is the Salt Point Trail. This scenic trail walks the bluffs of the preserve for just over a mile and is the perfect place to watch for gray whales during their winter and summer migrations. A portion of this trail is accessible to wheelchairs as well. The more difficult North Trail will take you on a 1,000-foot climb to the highest point in the park, where you can see the pygmy forest of cypress and redwoods, stunted by harsh soil conditions. Different trails allow you to make loops of various lengths and difficulty from one mile to five miles. Bicycles are only allowed on paved roads.
Fishing is allowed at Salt Point, though it’s very restricted. Gerstle Cove State Marine Reserve makes up the south end of the park and Stewart's Point State Marine Reserve is at the north end. Fishing is prohibited in both of these reserves, but you can cast your line from the coast in between these areas. Fishing is only allowed for finfish and with a valid license. Although shellfish are off limits, Salt Point is also a very popular location for abalone hunting. This activity, however, is highly regulated and requires reporting by collectors.
The ocean provides ample exploration opportunity also. Diving through the kelp forests is an otherworldly experience, either skin diving or with scuba gear. If diving isn’t your thing, Salt Point offers you plenty of tide pools as well. Take the kids and search for starfish, urchins, anemones, and watch the birds feast at low tide. Be careful around the ocean though, as there are dangerous rip currents and rogue waves at Salt Point.
There are two campgrounds at Salt Point State Park, bisected by the Pacific Coast Highway. Both campgrounds are within walking distance of the ocean. Gerstle Cove campground is on the ocean side of the highway and has 30 campsites for RVs. Across the highway, you'll find 79 sites at the Woodside campground. Hookups aren't available at either campground, and Salt Point also isn't equipped with a dump station. The maximum RV length at Salt Point is 31 feet.
Both of Salt Point State Park's RV campgrounds are in wooded areas where the trees provide ample shade and privacy, though Woodside campground, as the name implies, borders the redwood and pine forests. Each campsite at Salt Point has a fire ring, picnic table, and food storage locker. There are restrooms and drinking water taps throughout each campground. Dogs are allowed at the campground if supervised and kept on a leash no longer than six feet. They're not permitted on any of the trails or the beach.
Salt Point State Park is in a perfect location for exploring northern California on a motorhome camping adventure. But before you leave the park, be sure to check out the Kruse Rhododendron State Natural Reserve, bordering Salt Point. This small former ranch has a relatively flat three-mile loop trail through the gorgeous pink flowers that start to bloom in April, under the canopy of redwoods. Two other beautiful state parks heading south on the Pacific Coast Highway are Fort Ross State Historic Park ten minutes south, and Sonoma Coast State Park just a half hour south.
There aren’t a lot of options for shopping in this area of California, which makes it desirable for so many Sonoma County campers seeking escape. Your best bet for finding fuel and groceries is likely going to be Bodega Bay, just under an hour south of Salt Point. It's also worth mentioning that Bodega Bay's serenity will probably capture you for a few days as well. You'll find a few great seafood restaurants here where you can enjoy homemade fish & chips or fresh oysters with great ocean views.
Taking your rental RV a little further from Salt Point, you can explore the numerous redwood state and national parks north along the coast. Not too far south from Bodega Bay you can explore Point Reyes National Seashore, home of beautiful lighthouses, elephant seals, hiking trails, and beaches named after European explorers who landed here hundreds of years ago. World-renowned Napa Valley is just one hour east, and when you’re ready for civilization again, San Francisco is just another hour south.