Sonoma Coast
Conde Nast touts Northern California beaches
Leave it to Conde Nast Traveler to come up with  1some great California beaches that might be just a little bit off the beaten path.

Not nearly as well-known as beaches in Malibu, Santa Monica or even along the Central California Coast, the beaches of Sonoma Coast State Park are breathtaking and considerably less travelled, according to the magazine.

Conde Nast points out that these unspoiled beaches are best experienced in the spring since the area has a mild climate, lots of wildflowers and even migrating whales to spot off the coast.

The first thing that comes to mind when you say Sonoma County is wine – and there’s no wonder. The region has a diverse group of wineries ideal for visiting for the weekend, or basing an entire vacation around. There are accommodations galore and plenty of fine restaurants dotting the scenic landscape.

But the coastline has many seemingly untouched beaches, secluded coves, tide pools – just the kinds of attractions you’re looking for when visiting a California beach. The beaches are located between the town of Bodega Bay and the mouth of the Russian River.

For example, Salmon Creek Beach, which is just north of Bodega Head, has calm water to splash around in and sand dunes to explore. There is a lot of driftwood here as well – perfect for family exploration.

Just a few miles up the highway is Shell Beach, where you’ll find a cove with lots of flowers and not a lot of people. There are plenty of tidepools here as well.

You’ll want to hike the two miles from Shell Beach to Goat Head Rock State Beach which you might recognize as the location used for filming The Goonies. Harbor seals offer another fun sight during the spring months.

For more information, call the Sonoma Coast State Park at 707-875-3483.
PHOTOS: View from Bay Hill near Bodega
PHOTO CREDITS: Cary Ordway
RECOMMENDED LODGING: Bodega lodging
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