Enjoy A Visit To Sonoma Coast State Park, California

Sonoma Coast State Park

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This is a guest post from Rasika of Bae Area and Beyond.

California has a rich history, gorgeous nature, excellent landmarks, cities full of interesting places to visit, and much more. The state has 9 national parks and 280 state parks so there are so many natural sites to explore. If you’re looking for a park that includes multiple beaches, viewpoints, and a scenic drive, try out the Sonoma Coast State Park.

What Is Sonoma Coast State Park?

Sonoma Coast State Park is a California state park that spans 17 miles (approximately 27 km). The park covers rugged coastline, with numerous beach access points. It includes many types of coastal habitats, including sandy beaches and rocky outcrops, emergent marshes, mudflats, and wetlands, redwood forests, grasslands, and chaparral. The park is on the Sonoma Coast and it has many natural attractions including beaches, tide pools, and sand dunes.

Scenery of the Sonoma Coast State Park, showing a bay in the ocean surrounded by rocks and cliffs
The beautiful scenery of the Sonoma Coast State Park (photo copyright Rasika of Bae Area and Beyond)

Where Is Sonoma Coast State Park?

The park is located in Sonoma County in Northern California, about 70 miles north of San Francisco. It takes less than 2 hours from San Francisco to the park via Highway 101. However, if you’d like to drive along the Pacific Ocean coastline, you can drive entirely on the scenic Highway 1 but it’ll take a little more than 2 hours.

Sonoma Coast State Park is situated between two charming seaside towns, Bodega Bay and Jenner. It is right off Highway 1 so it’s easy to access many of the lookout points. There is an $8 vehicle fee per day to visit the park.

Flying into California? The closest airport is the Sonoma County Airport (41 miles), but the nearest international airport is the San Francisco International Airport (79 miles).

Why Should You Visit Sonoma Coast State Park?

Sonoma Coast State Park features panoramic views of the rugged Northern California coast with coastal terraces and bluff tops that rise above the Pacific Ocean. You can spend hours just admiring the views from different viewpoints in the park but there are also other things to do here.

One of the best ways to explore Sonoma Coast State Park is through hiking. The three best trails at this park are the Bodega Head Trail, Sonoma Coast Overlook Vista Trail, and the Kortum Trail. The Bodega Head Trail is located in Bodega Bay and provides 360° views from the 4-mile Bodega Head. The Sonoma Coast Overlook Vista Trail is located in Jenner and provides a dramatic view of the majority of the Sonoma Coast. The Kortum Trail is a long trail that starts at Bodega Bay and ends in Jenner. You’ll walk along the Sonoma coastline on this trail and find unique attractions along the way.

Hiking trail through hills and cliffs surrounding the ocean
The Sonoma Coast Overlook Vista Trail (photo copyright Rasika of Bae Area and Beyond)

Other than hiking, there are other activities including kayaking, whale watching, bird watching, and surfing. Bodega Bay is a great place to visit with many cultural attractions and delicious seafood restaurants.

Where Should You Stay?

The best place to stay in or near Sonoma Coast State Park depends on who you’re travelling with, your budget, and your comfort level. If you’re interested in getting the coastal experience to the fullest extent, you can camp at the park. There are four campgrounds in different locations in the park: Bodega Dunes Campground, Pomo Canyon Campground, Willow Creek Campground, and Wright’s Beach Campground.

If you prefer hotel accommodations, you will find lodging options in Bodega Bay and Jenner. If you’re looking for a resort experience, the best hotel to stay at is The Lodge at Bodega Bay. This is a 4-star hotel with an on-site restaurant, spa services, and a fireside lounge with outdoor fire pits. Walk out of the lodge and experience beautiful sunset views.

Two large rocks jutting into the sea
A rocky outcrop in the state park (photo copyright Rasika of Bae Area and Beyond)

What Is The Best Time To Visit?

The best time to visit Sonoma Coast State Park is from June to October. This is when the weather isn’t as rainy, foggy, or muddy compared to the rest of the year. You can expect temperatures to be between 50-80°F or 10-26°C. Crowds are the highest during this time due to the weather being comfortable so plan to start early, especially for attractions that get high crowds.

Hotels and campgrounds are also busier during this season so plan to book your preferred accommodations in advance. Between June and October, there are many events in Sonoma County to check out including Fort Ross Festival, Sonoma County Harvest Fair, BeerFest, and Sonoma Wine Country Weekend.

Conclusion: Sonoma Coast State Park

Sonoma Coast State Park shows you a portion of the California coastline, with rocky cliffs, beaches, and abundant hiking trails. We hope this guide has persuaded you to check out this national park on your next visit to California, especially if you love foggy weather, ocean views and beaches!

Author Bio: Rasika is the owner of the travel blog Bae Area and Beyond. She is from the Bay Area and her blog covers California destinations. She hopes that her readers will fall in love with California, just like she did.


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I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 70 countries at the last count), and I’ve visited every continent except Antarctica. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way. Read more…


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