Located near the town of Fort Bragg in northern California’s Mendocino County, the MacKerricher State Park is widely considered to be one of the finest state parks in California. Spread out across nine miles of coastline, the park is home to sand dunes, long beaches, natural forests, freshwater lakes, tide pools, and so much more.
Ten Mile Beach
Needless to say, ten-mile beach stretches out for just over ten miles, meaning that your chances of encountering anybody else are extremely slim. There are a number of different departure points for the trail, meaning that you do not have to take on all ten miles at once, and the whales, birds and ocean sounds that will fill your senses most definitely make this walk worthwhile.
The trout-stocked Lake Cleone is not only popular with those wanting an afternoon of fishing, but also with nature lovers. Each year, in April and May, the seals raise their pups on nearby rocks, with the boardwalk over Lake Cleone providing the perfect viewpoint for this.
Laguna Point Boardwalk
Laguna Point Boardwalk is at its most popular during the grey whale migration seasons, and there are a number of organized whale watching excursions that take place here. From the boardwalk itself, the view of the migrating whales is spectacular, and there are many other species of wildlife to be found all over the boardwalk when you can tear your eyes away from the whales.
Situated at the southern end of the park, Glass Beach used to be a dumping site for locals, and while various cleanup projects over the years have attempted to restore the damage that this has resulted in a large number of biodegradable items were left to be broken down by the pounding waves. With these powerful waves constantly crashing over the glass and pottery dumped along the coastline, the items were soon transformed into small, smooth, colored pieces of sea glass. Now, tens of thousands of tourists visit Glass Beach each year, all hoping to take home some beautiful sea glass treasure. Unfortunately, this means that the amount of sea glass that can be found on Glass Beach is slowly diminishing, making it well worth planning a visit for sometime in the near future. Nevertheless, when you do pay Glass Beach a visit, be sure to simply photograph the treasures that you find rather than taking them away from the beach, so that future generations can experience that same joy.
The MacKerricher State Park is packed with exciting activities. There are hiking, bike and horse riding trails crisscrossing throughout the park, as well as a couple of opportunities for fishing. Boating is another popular activity on site, as is camping, for which there are a number of different developed campsites to choose from.
When it comes to state parks, the MacKerricher State Park is truly a gem, filled with an abundance of untouched nature and native wildlife. From the sea glass treasure-filled Glass Beach to the idyllic Lake Cleone, there is so much to see and do in the park, no matter where your interests may lie.