Manchester Beach KOA Campground Review


We went on an early spring camping trip to Manchester Beach KOA in Manchester, CA. We stayed at campsite 19.

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The Campsite

Just like most of the other RV spots at Manchester Beach, our site (#19) was a pull-through. It fit our 20 foot travel trailer and our truck with no issues. The campsite was right next to a cabin, which was convenient for us this trip. We were camping with a few additional groups this trip and having an RV site next to a cabin worked out well for us.

The spot is not secluded in any way. It’s in the middle of camp and you’re surrounded by campsites. Since we went in March, there weren’t many other campers there so that wasn’t a problem this trip. If the campground had been full I think these spots would have felt cramped.

However, when we come to a KOA, we don’t expect seclusion. We come to be able to camp easily with a group. The cabins here are some of the nicest I’ve ever seen. Whether you get a small one room cabin with no bathroom, or a large deluxe cabin with a kitchen and full bath, the cabins feel clean, comfortable, and have heat and electricity.

The campground had weak Verizon coverage. It was slow but enough to use it without too much frustration. It did not have any AT&T coverage. There is also WiFi available for a fee. At the time we went it was $10 for 12 hours.

The Weather

We went camping at the beach in March. We didn’t expect warm weather. We brought lots of jackets, rain coats, boots, and umbrellas. While it was cold, it was not as cold or wet as I was expecting and we brought way too many jackets. It was about 56 degrees each day and it only rained one evening.

The Activities

Directly at the campground there is a lot you can do there. They have multiple playgrounds, a basketball hoop, volleyball court, bocce ball, horseshoe pit, and a disc golf course. They also have a pool and hot tub but they weren’t open in March. They have an arcade room with a pool table. They also have a dog park called KampK9.

There is a lot to do at Manchester Beach. By far, the best thing to do while camping at Manchester Beach is to take the trail directly from camp that goes to the beach. This is a trail that I have done countless times as we use to camp here every year since I was young.

Unfortunately, for the last several years, the trail no longer allows dogs. There is an endangered bird, the snowy plover, that nests on the beach now and dogs would disturb that.

To find out what kind of dog-friendly activities there are, keep reading.

The Dog-Friendly Hiking

With only a 10-minute drive from camp you can get to the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands. You just go south down highway 1 and turn onto Lighthouse Road. On Lighthouse Road you’ll see a trailhead and you can park anywhere on the road.

The Point Arena-Stornetta trail is dog-friendly. It’s a coastal trail with beautiful views. You have several great views of the Point Arena Lighthouse. It’s a pretty simple hike. When we went there were two areas where you had to cross water but it was shallow and slow moving. It was a great way to get some exercise, spend time with the dog, and see the coast.

Point Arena Lighthouse from the Point Arena-Stornetta Trail.

If you’re looking for a dog-friendly beach near Manchester Beach KOA there is one about 20 minutes south and one about 20 minutes north.

The closest dog-friendly beach down south of Manchester Beach is Schooner Gulch Beach. It’s about a half-mile hike from parking to the beach and has beautiful sand and views of the Point Arena Lighthouse.

The closest dog-friendly beach up north of Manchester Beach is Greenwood Creek Beach. It’s in the town of Elk. The parking lot is directly across from the Elk Store. It’s also about a half-mile hike from the parking lot to the beach. It has lots of driftwood and a fun creek to play in.

The Beer

We didn’t get any local beer while camping here. The towns of Manchester and Point Arena are both pretty small. We did see that there is a craft beer brewery opening up in Point Arena, The New Museum, but they aren’t open yet. We were a few months too early.

North Coast Brewing is from Fort Bragg, which is only about an hour away, so that’s still pretty local. We’re already very familiar with those beers so we didn’t go out of our way to try and get some. If you want some local beer though, it is definitely worth trying. And since it’s a fairly large brewery the beer is easy to find in local grocery stores.

The Recap

Manchester Beach is filled with nostalgia for me. I’ve been camping here for decades. It doesn’t offer much seclusion but it makes up for it in convenience, family-friendly fun, and beautiful views.

Campground Details:

Manchester Beach / Mendocino Coast KOA Journey
44300 Kinney Rd, Manchester, CA 95459

Can reserve online at Reservations open 1 year ahead.

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