Whether we’re relaxing at a lake, hiking along a river, visiting a lighthouse, hopping across a creek, or taking in majestic ocean views, I love the being around the water.
There something extra special about standing on the rugged California coast with your feet in the sand surrounded by crashing ocean waves. When I’m at the beach, I’m at peace. I can let my mind wander and think freely with no constraints. I’m also reminded just how small any problems I have are in comparison with the magnitude of the world around me.
Our entire family loves the beach, so we were all excited to spend the day beach hopping along the Mendocino and Sonoma County coastline between Bodega Bay and Point Area over Memorial Day Weekend. We started the day at Bowling Ball Beach and worked our way back to Bodega Bay also stopping at Goat Rock Beach, Wright’s Beach, Duncan’s Landing Beach, Portuguese Beach, Schoolhouse Beach, North Salmon Creek Beach, and of course Fort Ross!
Located immediately north of Schoolhouse Beach only three miles from Bodega Bay, Portuguese Beach is one of the most expansive sandy beaches in Sonoma County.
It is one of several beautiful beaches within the Sonoma Coast State Park. With a wide area of sand between the rocky headlands and the surf, it is a popular destination for rock fishing and surf fishing, picnicking, kite flying, and walking along the water.
The beach is also a popular spot for dog owners as dogs are allowed on this beach as long as they stay on leash. While we were checking out the beach, some dog owners however, had their dogs off leash. The surf at this beach is deadly — one of the deadliest in the area — so just as people are advised to stay out of the surf, I would keep your dog out of the surf as well.
Parking And Beach Access
The main parking lot that provides beach access is at the south end of Portuguese beach. Here you can watch waves crash on the rocks below from the high grassy bluff or you can take the semi-precarious, winding dirt trail down to the beach. But be careful! The trail doesn’t quite reach the beach. At the bottom you have to scamper over some rocks and loose dirt, and it’s really slippery.
If the main parking area is full, just north of the main parking area along Highway One, there is another steep beach access trail that leads to the center of Portuguese Beach.
Scotty Creek Beach
During low tide, Portuguese Beach connects to pebbly Scotty Creek Beach, the only large beach along the 17 mile stretch of stunning California coastline that is not part of Sonoma Coast State Park. Because there is no official parking lot for Scotty Creek Beach and parking along Highway One is limited, people often park at Portuguese Beach and walk over.
Know Before You Go
- Portuguese Beach, part of Sonoma Coast State Park, is located at the intersection Eureka Drive and CA Highway 1, Bodega Bay, California 94923.
- It is among one of deadliest beaches on the Sonoma coast.
- Download the Sonoma Coast State Park Brochure.
- Dogs must be on a leash no longer than six feet in length. Dog owners are required to clean up after their pets.
- There are vault restrooms at the south end of the beach. They are not in the parking area on the bluffs, but instead tucked into the vegetation along the bluffs just above the beach. You can access them by walking up a shirt easy trail from the beach, or walking down the trail from the parking area at the southern end of the beach.