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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Beach Bliss

Jul 09, 2017 12:00AM

When it comes to summer diversion, you can’t beat the Sonoma County coast. Lined with dramatic cliffs and sandy beaches, it's the perfect stay-cation destination. Here are a few spots that we think are particularly beautiful, as well as kid-friendly. Put on the sunscreen and hats, pack plenty of water and snacks, and get ready for a day of surf and sun.

Note: Sonoma County coastal waters are notorious for riptides and are not safe for swimming. Never turn your back to the ocean, as sleeper waves can emerge in any weather condition.

Doran Regional Park Protected by Bodega Bay, this park’s calm waters and 2-mile stretch of relatively flat beach make it a great place to build sand castles, fly kites, or take long strolls at sunset. A 1.3-mile trail winds through the park’s dunes while a rock jetty at the harbor mouth provides access for fishing, crabbing, and exploring sea life. The park features an ADA-accessible boardwalk with viewing areas, beach wheelchairs (available upon request), fish-cleaning and boat-rinsing stations, and a boat launch that can accommodate up to 20-foot vessels. Restrooms with flush-toilets are close to the parking lot. There is a $7 day-use fee. Dogs are allowed as long as they are on a leash that is no more than six feet long. For more information, call 875-3540 or see

Salmon Creek Beach This patch of surf and sand near Bodega Bay gets its name from the creek that divides the beach into north and south sections. The north end of the beach is great for tide-pooling (as is nearby Miwok Beach), while the south end features several interesting driftwood shelters, perhaps inspiring kids to build their own. (Search on “how to make driftwood shelters” on for ideas.) The beach is a protected habitat for snowy plovers, so dogs and walking on dunes are prohibited. There are pit toilets in the parking lot. See for details.

Goat Rock Beach Ocean waves crash against striking monoliths all along the Sonoma County coast. There is one massive stone near Jenner so close to shore you can walk right up to it. Goat Rock, possibly so named because even a goat couldn’t scale it, will surely wow kids. And if that doesn’t impress them, then the seals that rest in this area surely will. To protect seal habitat, no dogs are allowed on the beach. (Leashed canines are, however, allowed on nearby Blind Beach.) Park in either of two lots adjacent to the beach. The southern parking lot, directly in front of Goat Rock, is accessible by a one-lane road and features pit toilets. The northern parking lot, which is close to seal habitat, features restrooms with flush toilets. Go to for details.