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Mendo Lake Family Life

It’s Time for Surf and Sand

Ahhh... There was a collective sigh of relief as local beaches reopened, and we all gained access to the outdoors we so love. When we are out walking in the ocean breeze, it may feel like the COVID-19 pandemic is over, but it is not. Infection rates in Mendocino County continue to climb. And that is why social distancing and face coverings are required at local beaches. Facemasks are required when it’s not possible to maintain six feet of distance between others, such as, for instance, when passing people on the beach or trail. Park visitors are asked not to use drinking fountains, and to bring hand sanitizer because some restrooms may not have hand-washing stations. Also, no parties are allowed. Picnic areas, when open, are only for individuals or people who live in the same household.

Besides taking COVID-19 precautions, also be mindful of riptides and sleeper waves. Never turn your back to the ocean and do NOT go swimming at these beaches.
Now that you know the rules, get out of the house, stick your feet in the sand, and let the kids run around.

Mendocino County
Only residents of Mendocino County are allowed to use its beaches. Parking may be limited.

Jughandle State Park Beach This cove has a reputation for being one of Fort Bragg’s warmest beaches during the summer, with fog burning off by midday and temperatures rising into the 50s and 60s. The park itself features the 2.5-mile Ecological Staircase Trail, which travels through three terraces, each with its own unique habitat—from bishop pines to prairie to coast. Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach but not on the trail. Restrooms are open. There is no day-use fee. See

Manchester State Park Beach In terms of social distancing, the bigger the beach the better. So this slice of sand, which is several miles long, is a pandemic paradise. The beach is accessible from the parking lot, where there are porta-potties. There is no day-use fee. See

Navarro River State Park Beach As you travel along the rolling hills of Anderson Valley, you’ll encounter an 11-mile tunnel of second-growth redwoods. Follow it to this beach, which is near the intersection of Highway 1 and Highway 128. Porta-potties are in the parking lot, which is close to the beach. No day use fee. See

Sonoma County
Doran Regional Park This park and Salmon Creek Beach (see below) also offer plenty of space for social distancing. Protected by Bodega Bay, Doran Regional Park offers a 2-mile stretch of relatively flat beach and a 1.3-mile trail that winds through the park’s dunes. 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

Goat Rock Beach The sheer size of the monolith after which this beach is named will surely wow kids, especially since it is so relatively close to the shore. And if it 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.) The southern parking lot has pit toilets and the northern parking lot has flush toilets. Go to for details.

Salmon Creek Beach The north end of this beach is great for tide-pooling (as is nearby Miwok Beach), while the south end is often home to driftwood shelters kids love to explore. Dogs and walking on dunes are prohibited. There are pit toilets in the parking lot. See for details.