|Mushrooms dry, but campsites have been great
I traveled to Salt Point State Park over the weekend, and reports on the mushroom website alluded to a late flush of mid-winter edibles. In any case, we would be treated to the spectacular flower show at Kruse Rhododendron State Reserve. None of the above were found. The few mushrooms were old and dry, and the Roddies were not yet budding. May 1 would be a good time for them. On the other hand, the ocean was that Pacific Blue we love. The air was fresh and clean, and the foliage was vibrant in early spring colors.
The coast campgrounds were calling to me. Camping on the Sonoma coast, Mendocino and Marin are spectacular through June. Then the summer fog pattern kicks in, and we camp there to escape the inland heat. Fall is also one of the best times to camp on the coast.
The choice campgrounds usually have websites and reservations available, which means holiday weekends are snapped up quickly. It may not be too late to get in that Labor Day weekend camp reservation or July 4 if you can break free. The message here is to think ahead and make reservations around your schedule. For longer drive camp vacations, you might consider Sunday arrival and Friday departure, especially at the more popular campgrounds.
My favorite family campground on the coast, moving north from the bottom of Tomales Bay, is Olema camp, a private campground with a website. Then up to Doran Park on the seaside of Bodega Bay, this can be very windy, but it’s a nice sandy beach for play. A short drive north to Wrights Beach is a real treat. It is treacherous at the surf line, so keep aware at all times and never let the children get further away than you can easily reach them. A short jog inland at Highway 116, just across the Russian River bridge to Duncans Mill, is the famous Cassini Ranch. This is ideal for little ones, with ducks to feed, ice cream to eat and the river to play in. These are ideal for beginning campers and small ones.
In Mendocino, the best for my family is the MacKerracher State campground. Summertime brings evening programs, night walks, junior ranger outings and a seal rookery. There are also miles of easy bike trails for more fun. Town is just minutes away if you want to eat out or hit the market for fresh milk. I went through my camping files, which are nearly all outdated. With a simple Google search I found more than I could absorb. Here are some leads on Internet searches.
I’ve left off the prefix and suffix in the interest of space, all can be Googled. Reserve America, Parks.Ca.Gov, BLM.Gov/Ca, Sunset.com, Free-Camping California-National Forests, Camping Sonoma Coast.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.