Sonoma County’s rugged coast is full of gems but Goat Rock is definitely one not to miss. With giant jagged rocks jutting out of the water and huge waves crashing against the dark sand, it’s extremely dangerous to swim here, but what it offers goes far beyond a place to dip your feet in.
Goat Rock Beach is a place to step back and simply admire the majesty and power of the natural world. The crash of the water against the shore, the cry of gulls, the bark of seals. Take a long walk across the dark sand and get some fresh air. Admire the famous rock where legend has it goats used to graze, giving the beach its name. Another notable landmark is the archway to the left of Goat Rock, created by the natural erosion of the water against the rock.
Aside from incredible scenery, Goat Rock Beach is also home to a variety of marine life. Keep an eye out for whales from December to April as they migrate from Alaska to Baja. Walk down to the right side of Goat Rock to the far end of the beach and you will see a whole colony of Pacific Harbor seals lying in the sun. Come from February to April to see lots of newborn seal pups. Due to wildlife protection laws, you are not allowed within 50 feet of the seals, so bring a pair of binoculars. Often, a ranger will be stationed here, and will teach you all about the seals and let you look through a large telescope.
There are also some lovely hiking trails along the surrounding cliffs with gorgeous views of the water. Get outside and breathe in the fresh sea air. Don’t forget your jacket!
The surrounding town of Jenner is also worth a visit. You can read more about it here.