Northern Mendocino Camping and Surf Adventure
San Francisco › Blues Beach
Added by Charles Post
- Isolated and raw
- The surf can be world class and the camping is an adventure
- Something to do for the adventurous
I know it can be difficult to find access and opportunities to camp for free on the beach. Look no further, Blues Beach is off the beaten path and offers year round surf and free camping. It’s 200 miles North of San Francisco and a few miles North of Fort Bragg. As long as you keep your eyes on the tide, and are sure to camp well above the high water line, you may find yourself with a remote and isolated camp site only steps from the water. Blues Beach can be surfed year round, but as you might expect, the surf varies frequently. Whether you’re looking for a mellow summer surf and camping adventure or a more technical Ocean Beach caliber wave, Blues Beach has it all.
Blues Beach is located in northern Mendocino County. It’s a rugged and remote stretch of sand in between Fort Bragg and Westport, located to the South and North respectively. You can camp on the beach for free and if you have a 4x4, you can drive right to your favorite camp spot. If you’re looking for a real adventure that’s off the beaten track, this may be the spot for you. Not to mention, depending on the season there’s great rock cod fishing, abalone diving, wildlife viewing and waves. Also, if you need to pick up a last minute bottle of wine, you can stop by Pacific Star Winery, which is located just a few miles North of Fort Bragg off of Highway 1.
Be sure to bring all the gear you’ll need because the closest store, which is modest to say the least, is located two miles away and is randomly closed throughout the year. So, don’t count on it. Stocking up in Fort Bragg is the safe bet. Also, there’s patchy cell phone service, so you’ll likely be off the radar for a few days, so prepare accordingly.
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Camping, Chillin, Hiking, Surfing
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I loved this spot. We got lucky with really great surf two days in a row. Pretty foggy all day first day but mid-morning through early afternoon (when we took off) on the second day was sunny and glorious. Don't try to drive without 4WD. We had a little trouble and we were in a Tacoma. Keep your speed when driving through the softer sand. There are several opportunities to pick up cheap firewood in Ft. Bragg. Most of them we saw were just as you were going out of town heading north. There was no wood to be gathered on the beach.
Sweet place to hang out, camp, and watch the waves roll in. Yes, there is a No Camping sign, but there were some locals camping there when we arrived who told us that it was fine. Surf conditions were unfortunately poor but the view was great and it was a rad spot sleeping in the sand by the ocean.
There is a large sign at the entrance that says you're not allowed to stay the night, however, no signs about driving on the beach. Beach is about 3/4 mile long. One way in, one way out. Don't drive on the sand w/o 4 wheel drive. Many people needed to be pulled out of the sand this past weekend.
I did this trip in July of 2015, spent two nights on the beach. We did not run into any trouble with the cops. Although there was a sign that said camping was prohibited, there was plenty other campers on the beach. The waves were nice the first day, then the second day it was all garbage.
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This is a great find. We saw it on the map it was on the way from Mendocino to our next stop, Napa Valley. So glad we took the time to visit.