Doran Park Campground Review


We’ve gone on a few camping trips to Doran Regional Park in Bodega Bay, CA. Doran Park is one of the Sonoma County Regional Park campgrounds. The campground is situated between Doran Beach and the Bodega Harbor. We have stayed at sites 5, 15, and 87.

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The Campsite

We have stayed at a few different campsites at Doran Regional Park.

Doran Park Campsite #5 (Shell Campground)

Our 20 foot trailer fit in site #5 in the Shell Campground loop with no issues. The site itself was amazing, much better than we were expecting. There are a lot of sites in this small campground so we weren’t expecting to have much space. This particular site had tons of space for the kids to explore. We had great views of the harbor and a couple of areas between trees that the kids could climb and explore in.

This is a dry campground. There are no hook-ups. There was a dump station. And we had decent cell service through Verizon.

Our Doran Regional Park visit at site #5 in the Shell campground loop.

Doran Park Campsite #15 (Shell Campground)

This site was recommended by a ranger on one of our previous visits to Doran Park. He had told us that site 15 was his favorite site in the whole campground and it’s especially nice if your trailer has a rear window. Though our trailer does not have a rear window we decided to give it a try anyways.

This site was easy to park our 20 foot travel trailer in and left enough space for the truck. Although we had campers on both sides of us it still felt like a nice site. The sites are positioned in a circle, so even though the parking pads seem close, the sites open up in the back and everyone seemed to have their own space.

Our site had several sandy paths towards the back. The paths seemed to be only from our campsite to the Bodega Harbor and we didn’t see random people walking on them. This gave the kids lots of room to play and run around. It felt like we had lots of space and we had some privacy. It was easy to see why this campsite would be a favorite.

Doran Park Campsite #87 (Jetty Campground)

When we were reserving our site at Doran Park we thought the sites in the Jetty campground area would be the best. Looking at the campground map it seemed like they would have the best views and be the closest to the beach. In reality, the Jetty Campground sites are small and close to neighbors. And every site in the campground, regardless of the loop, is very close to the water. Almost every site at Doran has great views.

Site 87 was a little more difficult to park a 20 foot trailer in. The site itself had a large parking pad but there isn’t much space in front to maneuver into it. It turned out to not be a big deal, but it wouldn’t be a site we would be excited to get again.

The site had no privacy. We had neighbors on both sides and not much extra space for the kids to run around.

The Bodega Harbor is right behind the site which provided awesome views. There is a road in between the site and harbor but the vegetation blocked most of the road view. During low tide it was nice to have the harbor right there. The kids had a great time exploring.

And the site was staggered enough from the neighbors that when we looked out the window we got to see the harbor and not another trailer. I really did enjoy having a nice view out of the windows.

The walk from the site to the beach took seconds. It was just on the opposite side of the loop we were on and walking there was no problem at all.

The site itself was small and had no privacy. But that didn’t stop us from having a great time. We were just a little spoiled from getting such an amazing site during our first visit. This is a campground we want to go back to but we plan to stick to the Shell, Gull, and Cove campground loops and skip on the Jetty.

Our Doran Regional Park visit at site #87 in the Jetty campground loop.

The Best Campsites

  • Site 5
    • We liked this site quite a bit. While the sides are just about as close to neighbors as other sites, the back of the site is wide open and not easily accessed by other campsites. This gives a lot of area to walk around and explore right at camp.
  • Sites 5 & 6
    • Site 5 worked great for us but we were lucky and had no neighbors in campsite 6. Site 6 is the closest neighbor and part of the views from site 5 look right through campsite 6. These two sites would work great together and would feel pretty private.
  • Site 15
    • The campground ranger recommended campsite 15. He said it backs up to the harbor and consequently has the best views. He did say it’s even better if you have a window in the back of your rig, but beautiful either way.
  • Sites 26 & 27
    • These sites work well together. They are right next to a trail and the road so it may not feel as private. The ocean is right across from the road as well though so you have views from camp.
  • Sites 73 & 74
    • These sites would be great for a group of two. They are oriented well together and hedges between other sites give the illusion of seclusion.
  • Site 76
    • The site is surrounded by trees so it hides the neighbors. And you can still see the harbor through the trees.
  • Sites 77 & 78
    • These sites work well together. There is more sun in this area but the sparse trees also provide better views. From site 78 you can see the ocean. It is distant and across a road but it is still a beautiful view.

The Weather

During our first visit, we were there in the fall, it was late October, and it was windy! There was actually a wind advisory the weekend we were there so I don’t think that was normal weather. The worst winds were about 30 miles per hour. It was pretty rough on the beach during the high winds, lots of sand in the air. It was also challenging to cook. While the winds were bad we had to cook inside the trailer. That was the first time we’ve camped with winds bad enough that we couldn’t cook outside.

Our second visit was in May. The first night there was very windy at camp. It was so windy it was hard to open our friction hinge door without it slamming against the trailer. We didn’t even try to cook outside that evening. The next day was incredible. It was almost 70 degrees and very light wind. It was the perfect day to be on the beach and cooking breakfast and dinner were both no problems at all outside. We had a nice campfire and really enjoyed the beautiful weather.

It’s good to expect wind here regardless of the time of the year.

The Activities

This campground is right on the beach. Whether you want to play at the beach or walk along it, it is right there and beautiful.

On the opposite side is the Bodega Harbor. There is a small boat ramp there. That is also where you can go fishing.

The harbor is also a fun place to explore during low tide. Most of the time there is no beach area at the harbor. But during low tide a beach area appears and is a fun place to play.

And all around the campground are hiking trails.

The Dog-Friendly Hiking

The trails at Doran Regional Park are all dog-friendly! The main trail is 2 miles one-way. The beach is also dog-friendly. Just about anything you want to do here you can also do with your dog.

The Beer

There aren’t any breweries in Bodega Bay but there are restaurants that serve beer. We just brought beer from home but we had considered visiting the Bluewater Bistro. It’s not far from camp and last we were there the bar had some local beers on tap.

The Recap

Doran Park is a great place to camp. You’re surrounded by water so just about every site has good views. It’s dog-friendly, kid-friendly, and an overall relaxing place to camp.

Campground Details:

Doran Regional Park
201 Doran Beach Rd, Bodega Bay, CA 94923

Can reserve online at Reservations open 1 year ahead at 12am PST.

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