Stuart K.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Aug. 23, 2021

A Touch of Mars

Salt Point State Park is a great find for those looking to take advantage of the nearby oceanscape, where the beaches have been transformed to seemingly Martian cliffs making up a pourous red rocky wonderland full of tide pools and creepy crawly sea creatures who do their best to stay hidden. My kids (OK, us parents too!) absolutely loved crawling all over this natural playground from early in the morning to high tide. That said- be aware of the crashing waves that have been known to scoop unsuspecting tourists(and newlyweds recently posing for photos) into the cold blue Pacific! 

Conveniently located just across the street from the ocean, Salt Point Campgrounds are basically divided into 3 different locations, Gerstle Cove, which is closer to the ocean, but lacks the forest cover of trees, and is better outfitted for those with RV's, and the Upper and Lower Loops of the Woodside Campground. When we visited, the Upper Loop was closed, so we had reserved a spot in the Lower Loop(#55), which ended up being a great situated spot about 30 yards to the facilities, but complete with our own water spigot. The site was just big enough for our 6 person tent and came with the standard picnic table and fire ring. 

We visited during the long Memorial Day weekend, and Woodside Campground was heaving with revelers making for loud nights of parties in a handful of the campground's quarters. Overall, it wasn't too bad, but I will be mindful to search out more remote, quieter campsites in the future. While the grounds were fine for the most part, offering substantial shrubbery around most of the campsites that we saw(providing decent privacy and a good border between our next door neighbors), the absolute worst thing about the whole experience were the facilities, which didn't look like they had been cleaned in several months. This led to us creatively(and frequently) leaving the parks grounds to search out nearby restaurants and grocery stores for a proper loo. 

Due to the long holiday weekend, it also appeared that garbage piled up quite quickly, so seeing overflowing garbage cans everywhere took away from the feeling that you were'getting away from it all'- in fact, it seemed like we had landed in a place where everybody else had also found for the weekend. An aspect of the campground that we really enjoyed were the several trails that are here, whether you opt to head down towards the ocean (which had a direct trail getting there, crossing highway 1) or diving deeper into the forest- both made for really good easy-to-moderate hikes that we enjoyed as a family. 

Nearby attractions I would recommend include: Kruse Rhododendron Preserve, Stump Beach Cove and Gerstle Cove State Marine Reserve. There's not much in the way of grocery stores or restaurants around for long distances, so whatever you need, be sure to bring it!

  • Oceanfront camping, nice!
  • This coastal entrance is less than a mile hike from our campsite!
  • Be careful getting too close here to take pictures!
  • Mars-like surrounding on this oceanfront wonder!
  • Tall Redwoods just a short hike in any direction
  • Douglas fir trees!
  • Sunset on the Pacific Ocean (obstructed)
  • Sunset on the Pacific Ocean (unobstructed)
  • Damn telephone lines!
  • Oh Captain, My Captain!

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