Ohlson Rec Center Beach
Ohlson Recreation Center is just a seven-minute walk from Vista Del Mar where you can take advantage of the swimming pool, tennis courts, saunas and changing rooms. Just below the rec center, you’ll find Ohlson Beach–where Sea Ranch photographer extraordinaire Paul Kozal captured this beautiful sunset.
One of the important fundamental visions that has guided the development of the Sea Ranch is that the “landscape of beaches, bluffs, meadows and forest creates the special character unique to this community and should dominate all human endeavors.” Photographer Joe Dallmann of Rising Sun Photography captured this beautiful view of the waterfall at Stengel Beach (just below Vista Del Mar). Please note: Stengel Beach access stairs are closed for renovations.
Just a few minutes away from Vista Del Mar is Shell Beach (at mile marker 55.54) where you’ll find some glorious sunsets. The beach has two small sandy coves divided by a rocky point but still connected on the sand. There is great tide-pooling or you can enjoy a picnic, collect interesting pieces of driftwood, climb rocks or just take a snooze. If you do decide to search for starfish, urchins and anemones, please know these waves wait for no one, especially the clueless![/one_half]
Bluff Top Trail
For hikers in your group, a local favorite is the Bluff Top Trail–just a few minutes from Vista Del Mar–three miles along the headlands from Walk-On Beach Trail to Gualala Point Regional Park and is great for springtime whale watching. As with other Sea Ranch area beaches and trails, the public can access the beaches at specific points without trespassing on private property. Watching the sunset here never gets old. Breathe in the fresh sea air…it’s absolutely spectacular!
Walk-On Beach is an excellent place for birdwatching. According to Sea Ranch Beach Coordinator Marilyn Green, scientists from UC Santa Cruz have been conducting biodiversity and long-term monitoring surveys in the intertidal zone on Walk-On Beach since 2001. These scientists and volunteers perform counts of marine life, targeting Acorn Barnacles, California Mussels, Dwarf Rockweed, Turfweed, Black Pine and Ochre Sea Stars. Their findings provide important information on the health of the area.
Black Point Beach
At Sea Ranch mile marker 50.85, a very steep staircase leads visitors to Black Point Beach, a 1/4 mile long sandy beach with dramatic waves. Very popular with surfers, this beach is just north of Black Point–a cape that juts out about 250 yards from the shore. If you just want to take in the beach, you’ll find plenty sea lions, starfish and birds who all consider Black Point Beach their home. The rules at this beach are just as it is with any other beautiful beach: “Pack it in, take it out.” Remember to dress in layers and wear trail-worthy shoes. As with other Sea Ranch beaches, Sonoma County maintains public access parking.