Sonoma Coast

I use to river kayak (not white water) years ago. I would go out at least once a week but when I moved away from the DC area, stopped kayaking.

I moved to Northern California and have become a fairly avid backpacker. I have a lot of ultra light equipment and usually spend 4 to 11 days out at a time. But this last year I got diagnosed with Tarsol Tunnel Syndrome (think Carpal tunnel in your feet) and this has limited my backpacking. I’ve filled the craving for “out there” by car camping. It’s not the same but I enjoy it none the less.

Today I went camping on the Northern California coast near Sonoma. There were a few kayakers out on the water. This got me thinking. I’m going to check out a few rivers in the area but I’m wondering if anyone knows about kayak camping along the Sonoma coast? There are lots of secluded beaches along the coast, many are probably considered “boat in” only.

I’ve done a few searches but haven’t found any info yet.

Not feasible
First off, I am an east coaster. So, I know very little about Cal coastal kayaking. It’d be nice if Californians will answer this question.

However, after kayaking in Northern Cal’s Trinadad Bay, the thought occurred to me kayak camping along that coast would be very scenic.

I was told there are challenges, such as long stretches of cliff-lined shores with few bail-out options, combined with potential for wind and waves that make kayaking, and beach launch/landings, infeasible.

So, I don’t think extended kayak camping is commonly done in that area. If you find out differently, let me know. You might look at Tahoe, but that’s a different set of questions.

As mentioned, this is all very committing areas - rough surf, rocks, winds, fog, etc. Definitely takes a higher level of skills and gear than many other areas.

Some camping areas I know of:

  • mouth of Esterro Americana
  • various beaches on Point Reyes side of Tomales Bay (permit required from Point Reyes)
  • I think there is camping at Salmon Creek (official site)
  • there is camping a short way inland on the Russian Rover past the Highway 1 bridge

    Check out a book by Roger Schumann - Sea Kayaking Central and Northern California: The Best Days Trips And Tours From The Lost Coast To Pismo Beach

    here is a link to it at Amazon:

water ! Haven’t paddle Northern California, I’m not an expert. I have driven Cal 1 several times, driving the coast is expert territory.

Adding to the suggestions, search for: Klamath River kayaking.

Look up Feather River kayaking in utube.

I googled “sonoma coastal kayaking” and
found quite a bit of info. I’ve hiked along the “Lost Coast”, quite northward of Sonoma, but saw alot of great camping opportunities. But its a matter of Paddler Skills/training and Ocean conditions as to whether coastal kayak camping is a possibility. People do it. Check out “Tsunami Rangers” for one end of the spectrum. A plastic, sit-on-top would provide a great way to access this area if the breaking surf is not in force. Check with local paddlers to see what they do.

off course…paddlers enjoy the Aleutians why not the Sonoma Coast ? and Sonoma water is warmer !

A favorite beach place is a spit on the opening to a small bay…stand there waves rising up over your head watching into the tube formation wave rolling into bay.

Waves often rise to 20’

If you are an expert WW paddler then you qualify as a entry level Ranger.

Remembering no bank for exits, often no hike outs after beaching.

report back !