Bowling Ball Beach

Bowling Ball Beach in Mendocino County, California

During our trip to Sea Ranch we took a day trip farther north to Mendocino County. For the longest time I’ve had a beach on my wishlist in that area but timing wasn’t right the last time we drove down. The beach is called Bowling Ball beach (a part of Schooner Gulch Beach) and is known for having extremely large sphere-shaped sandstone boulders (concretion) that line the beach and rock formation during low tide. Supposedly there is only one other beach in the world that has this phenomenon (in New Zealand).We got lucky enough during this trip to have low-tide coincide with when we were driving by.

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Gualala Point

Driftwood Forts at Gualala River Beach in Northern California

During our drive down the northern portion of Highway 1, we stopped at a river and beach front park called Gualala Point in a small town named Gualala. There was a small parking area and quite a few hiking trails. We didn’t have a lot of time to spend but took about an hour to relax from our long drive. My husband flew his quadcopter around a little and I checked out some really cool driftwood forts that someone had built on the beach.

Gualala River Beach in Northern California

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Hidden Beaches in California

Hidden Beach in Mendocino County, California

With 840 miles of coastline*, the opportunity to find hidden beaches in California is very good. An easy way to do this is to drive down highway 1 (Coastal Highway, PCH, etc.) and look for signs marked “Coastal Access“. There is usually a symbol with the text, that looks like binoculars. Be wary of signs that seem to go over private property, or involve crossing any fences or gates. Usually they are only displayed when there is a public right-of-way to the coastline (it doesn’t always mean there will be a beach!), and some routes may have been eroded over time so please use caution. The signs don’t always pan out, but when they do it’s glorious.

When we were in Mendocino, we followed a trail through a forested area and across a muddy area from a small stream to a cliffy shoreline with the most remarkable sunset. We were the only ones out on the bluff and it was one of my better California ‘beach’ moments. We love to find the more secluded or off-the-beaten-path areas when we travel, not because we are thrill-seekers or very adventurous, but because I love the serenity that it provides.

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