Fort Bragg California

W are going to head up the coast to someplace new this fall. I haven’t ever been up to Fort Bragg.

Where is a good place to paddle?

Sea Caves?

Kayak surfing?

Boogie boarding?

Abalone diving?

Where can I rent a kayak? We are going in the van and I don’t really want to haul boats. I prefer an Ocean kayak brands like Scrambler or Malibu. I know someone who might lend me a scramblerXT, but I prefer not to impose.

Anyone have a current phone number for Noyokayaks?

Van Dam
You can usually rent sit on tops on the beach at Van Dam. This is closer to Mendocino, but in the gen area of Ft Bragg. Excellent place to paddle and lot’s of caves. If you haven’t paddled there, this is probably your best bet for what you are looking for. Lot’s of other places in the area also. You’ll see most of them if you drive from Ft Bragg to Mendocino.

Our club from Sacramento will be there all of next week thru Sunday the 26th. We are camping at the campground at Van Dam.

Russian Gulch campsite also
Hey 'Cuda! The Albion is a nice quiet river you could take Kathy out - I didn’t go on the Big or Little rivers-so I can’t comment on those. Van Damme has some great caves and rocky areas that are fun for exploring.


Fort Bragg
We went through there a few weeks ago. There are a couple of places down at the marina along the river that rent SOT’s - I think they may be OK’s. You can paddle either up river from there or out the harbor mouth to sea. If you spring for a hotel, the one just north of the harbor and west of the highway has very nice rooms. They all have balconies overlooking the harbor mouth. The fog horn on the jetty is the only drawback - keep your slider closed at night. Otherwise it was great.

just south of the town of Caspar midway between Mendocino and Ft.Bragg. Rt.409 to the ocean. Search Google maps Caspar Ca. 409 is just south of a bridge across a creek that goes to the ocean. It’s not as protected as Russian Gulch but it’s worth driving down and checking out. Nice sand beach. Shallow caves just north, rough exposed section south.

CatchaCanoe in Mendocino

Big River Beach is kind of rough

I Made Reservations For Mackerricher
I booked camping for the first two nights in Mackerricher SP to the north.

It sounds like I should have booked Van Dam because its got ocean access and rentals right there.

Anyway, they aren’t very far apart, and if you camp in in a state park park you can use any other state park for the day.

We will be looking for some more upscale lodgings for midweek, when rates are cheaaper

We are going in Mid September

A Little of Both
I will want to take Kathy out for a least a short while, but I know I am also going to want to try some spots she would not be comfortable in.

I Think I Know That Place
Are you talking about the Master Wharf Inn? We were thinking of staying there a couple nights mid-week, and camping on weekends

Looks Like We Will Be There

I looked it up on a map and it looks like we will be passing thru there on the way from Mackerricher SP to Van Dam SP.

Fort Bragg/Mendocino
Van Damme is definitely a great paddling spot. Depending on sea conditions, there’s a choice of surf and milder sections of beach to launch. Big River is one of my favorites for a nice mellow and quite scenic paddle as is the Albion River south of Van Damme. Caspar is also a popular paddling location. The nice thing is, as you mentioned, all of these locations are all within a fairly quick drive from MacKerricher SP. There are some really nice lodges in Fort Bragg along Hwy 1 on or near the Noyo River.

Unfortunately, Noyo-Pacific Outfitters (think that’s who you were referring to) closed it’s doors a few years ago. Bought a couple of boats from Dave (an XT and Scupper Classic) and he was my main supplier of SOT-related goodies (always a good excuse in addition to visiting my friends up there). Guess he’s now into his house, horses and family life.

Are guys refering to the dive shop…
dive shop / kayak rental place on the river?

That’s too bad if he closed down. He had a great tour of the local sea caves. Using a fleet of Scramblers. One can probably do the tour them selves. Just head out through the State Park – at the mouth of the river, and paddle North. There’s all kinds of caves and slots to explore.

Dive Shop
There’s Sub Surface Progression which is located on Hwy 1 just south of Hwy 20 in Ft. Bragg. They do sales and rentals of kayaks, dive gear, etc.

Noyo-Pacific was located in Noyo Harbor.

Van Damne Beach State Park

– Last Updated: Aug-17-07 12:33 PM EST –

If you have bicycles there's a cool bike ride up through the park that comes out at Little River Airport Rd connecting to Ukiah Comptche Rd. then returning to Hw1. If you rented bikes at CatchaCanoe on Big River you could reverse the ride and return to Vandamne.

Flat water paddling on Big River is very nice with some of the Wenona Jenson canoes . Check the tides as it'll make a big difference on the tidal estuary if you're paddling back against afternoon winds AND flood tide, check with the guys there. You can paddle five miles back through a lot of nice scenery and history.

Go into Dicks Place (bar on Main St.) for old photos of what Mendocino/Big River looked like.

River otters, could be folks dredging up old sinker logs on Big River.

this photo is taken right above CatchaCanoes presnt location

I talked to them and they rent SOTs, but Malibu brand models singles at 9’

If renting, I would rather go with something I have paddled before, like a Scrambler or Ocean Kayak Malibu.

Of course I already have a Frenzy and a Scrambler, but we will be alternating between camping in the van, and staying in the nicer lodges. On the way back we will detour to the Santa Cruz Mountains to catch a Dick Dale concert.

It would be a PITA to unload it at every campsite, and lock it up at the hotel, etc.

Kathy’s niece in Mendocino has a Scrambler XT, but I would rather not impose on the in-laws, or make this into a big family expedition.

call catchacanoe

Mendocino Campground
if anyone isn’t familiar with it it’s definately worth checking out. When the State campgrounds are all full up and reserved months ahead this one might have space…and it has great view, walking distance down to Catchacanoe

I can’t guarantee the rental kayaks are available every day at Van Dam. I think you can count on them on the weekends. You might call the state park at Van Dam. They could probably give you info. Also try Fort Bragg Marine for info. Sorry I don’t have the ph number.

No Luck
Catchacanoe only rents on the river. They won’t let me take one to the beach.

Might end up hauling the Frenzy afterall

Wow, timely post. I am headed for this area next week for a 3 day get away. I live in Sacramento and since I see some of you guys post here, I have a few questions. I’m pretty new to kayak paddling (but a few years of canoe in my old alum. canoe) and have a AE StraitEdge 2 man inflatable. Is this suitable for touring some of these caves with? I’ve had it on some class II rivers,lakes and a protected bay. Appreciate input. BTW, I’m interested in joining the Sacramento club so contact person/site would be appreciated. Thanks!

Phone number
Try calling Fort Bragg Marine. I found the ph number. 707-962-0877 or 707-964-3310. I THINK it might be North Coast Adventures that rent on the beach.