From the Sonoma Coast State Park website:
HIKE – BIKE – PICNIC – BEACH COMB Sonoma Coast State Park – A truly scenic less than hour drive from Dawn Ranch Resort yields long sandy beaches below rugged headlands, a craggy coastline with natural arches and secluded coves are features that make Sonoma Coast State Park one of California’s most scenic attractions.
The Beach, actually a series of beaches separated by rock bluffs and headlands, extends 17 miles from Bodega Head to Vista Trail located 4 miles north of Jenner. Beachcombers, fishermen, sunbathers and picnickers can access the beach from more than a dozen points along coast Highway 1.
While the north coast weather can be foggy in the summer, it usually burns off by midday and the cool ocean breezes make the Sonoma Coast a haven for visitors seeking to escape the inland heat.
The beach is located between Jenner and Bodega Bay on Highway One. The Rangers’ Station is at the north side of Salmon Creek, off Highway 1.
Facilities – Activities
Bodega Head is the rocky headland that forms the entrance into Bodega Harbor. The harbor side provides a popular crabbing area along the jetty, and the many hiking trails on the ocean side allow access to small, sandy coves and spectacular scenic blufftop views. The high cliffs offer excellent vantage points for observing migrating gray whales.
Aerial photos of Bodega Head
Goat Rock, near the mouth of the Russian River, is known for its scenic shoreline and easily accessible sandy beach. Picnic tables and restroom facilities are also available. Goat Rock beach is home to a colony of harbor seals which are fun to watch, but please stay 50 yards from the seals, especially during pupping season (March – August.) Due to the protected status of the seals, NO DOGS are allowed on Goat Rock Beach.
Aerial photos of Goat Rock
Shell Beach is a favorite location for beachcombing and tidepooling. It is used by schools as an outdoor classroom for the study of tidal pool marine life and enjoys a reputation as a prime fishing spot.
Duncan’s Landing is famous for two things: as an early-day landing for loading small coastal ships with lumber and food products and for being the most dangerous point along the Sonoma Coast due to large and unpredictable surf. Heed the signs and stay off the rocks, the waves have come up to the parking lot and people have been swept off the rocks. In the spring the wildflower displays are spectacular.
Aerial photos of Duncan’s Landing
Portuguese Beach & Schoolhouse Beach are beautiful sandy beaches surrounded by rocky headlands. Rock fishing and surf fishing are popular in these locations.
Aerial photos of Portuguese Beach
Aerial photos of Schoolhouse Beach
Salmon Creek Beach, where a lagoon forms as sand closes the mouth of Salmon Creek, is a popular summer destination. Nearly two miles of unbroken, scenic, sandy beach make this an excellent place for surf fishing, beachcombing, and picnicking. The surfers are here when the waves are good. NO DOGS and NO FIRES are allowed on Salmon Creek Beach due to the protection of the snowy plovers. The western snowy plover is listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act as a threatened species because of loss of nesting habitat due to human development, invasion of European beach grass and predation by ravens, foxes, domestic dogs and cats.