We went on a fall camping trip to MacKerricher State Park in Fort Bragg, CA. We stayed in the surfwood campground at site 137.
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Each campsite was surrounded by large bushes so while you did have neighbors, each spot had the illusion of seclusion. It felt private.
And our particular spot (#137) fit our 20 foot travel trailer with no issues as well as two trucks.
The site had logs around the perimeter of the parking spot. While those were great for the kids to climb on, they weren’t ideal for the trailer. We were able to put a small doormat out but there was no space for a full rug. Also, to cook near the trailer or be under the awning you did have to step over a log.
The site also had a fire pit, picnic table, and bear locker. Overall the campsite was nice. And it was close enough that we could walk to the beach and the boardwalk trail.
Since we went in fall (late September) we expected it to be cold. We had one day of rain and one day of sunshine. Both days were enjoyable. It was around 60-70 degrees for most of the trip. Near the beach it was pretty windy.
Because of the rain we did go through several jackets and sweatshirts. Once our clothes got wet it never got quite warm enough to dry out the clothes before we needed to use them again. So, bring an extra sweatshirt and dress in layers.
There are lots of things to do in Fort Bragg. If it weren’t for Covid-19, we would have gone to Cowlicks Ice Cream parlor and rode the Skunk Train. Since we decided to stay outdoors this trip we opted for different activities.
We went to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. They were beautiful and the kids enjoyed getting to explore. Because of the natural beauty it felt like a hike, but the trail was very easy, no more strenuous than a walk.
We also spent a lot of time at MacKerricher State Park. They have a large boardwalk that goes along the coast. It has a few stops along the way. There’s a spot where you can stop and walk down to the tide pools. Then a couple of spots where you can stop and do some whale watching. I’ve never seen a whale there but we always see lots of seals which is also exciting. And the kids enjoyed the opportunity to use their binoculars.
This trip we also went to Pudding Creek Beach. It was a great place for the kids to use all their sand toys and play in the sand. There is also lots of room to fly a kite. And after the beach, we walked across the Pudding Creek Trestle Bridge directly above the beach. We drove down the street a bit and parked right at the bridge so it was easy for the kids.
Along the Bridge there were tons of locks. Apparently people leave a lock to signify love for another. There were names and dates written on many. Even a wedding ring connected to one. And many of the locks were very unique, some looked like fish, there was a lion head, and even a big heart lock.
One thing we didn’t get to on this trip is hiking at Otis Johnson Park. We haven’t been there before but plan to check it out sometime. The area has lots of shade and redwood trees. Looks like it would be a nice small hike the kids would enjoy.
The Dog-Friendly Hiking
One of the reasons we went to MacKerricher State Park was because they have dog-friendly hiking trails. Of course dogs aren’t allowed everywhere, but they were allowed everywhere we wanted to go.
As soon as we entered the park they asked if we had a dog and gave us a brochure titled “Enjoy MacKerricher State Park with Your Dog”. I thought this was a really positive way to go about it. Instead of telling us everywhere we can’t take our dog, they’re highlighting what we can do with the dog. It would be nice if this information was easier to find at more places.
We primarily stuck to the boardwalk trail and around camp. Both of those areas have no restrictions for the pup so it worked out well for us.
One of our favorite parts about traveling is getting to check out the local beer. Since we are already very familiar with North Coast Brewing we decided to check out another brewery this time. We tried Overtime Brewing and they did not disappoint. We tried Amarillo and Super C (Super Centennial). Both were IPAs. I enjoyed both of them and would definitely drink them again. I especially liked Amarillo.
MacKerricher State Park has spacious campsites that feel private. There are plenty of trails and beach access directly from the park. Nearby there are more beaches, more trails, a spectacular garden, and delicious craft beer. This isn’t the first and won’t be the last time we’ll be coming to Fort Bragg to camp.
MacKerricher State Park
24100 Mackerricher Park Rd, Fort Bragg, CA 95437
Can reserve online at reservecalifornia.com. Reservations open 6 months ahead at 8am PST.