Northern California Trip: Manchester Beach State Park

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Point Arena Lighthouse

I returned from the big California trip a little over a week ago: my feet have healed, my cardiovascular system has recovered, the photos are processed, and I'm ready to share!

I kept finding myself saying "It's so pretty" throughout the entire trip, no matter if we were driving along Route 1, in Manchester Beach State Park, Yosemite, or San Francisco. As is suggested by the above map, the first segment of our trip was to drive along Route 1 up the California coast from San Francisco to Point Arena.


A Mini Cooper is an awesome choice for so much driving. So many winding roads and hills. We finally got to the Manchester Beach State Park campground and set up our tent. It was mostly empty, and absolutely stunning. A grassy field set against a cow pasture, with mule deer wandering through during twilight, and echoes of the ocean to lull you to sleep.

Mule Deer

The beach was too chilly to swim in (I wore jeans and a fleece jacket), but it too was rather deserted. It's kinda lovely to have such places to yourself. Our time at the beach was spent visiting the Point Arena lighthouse, eating amazing steak sandwiches in a tiny little town that had an actual grocery store, catching the last of the Perseid Meteor Shower, and sharing our campfire with a fellow camper from Switzerland.


After the allotted two nights camping in Manchester Beach State Park, we headed to Fairfield, California where we visited the Jelly Belly Factory and bought way too many of the sugary treats. Pounds and pounds worth. All the strawberry-flavored beans. And chocolate covered beans. And Belly Flops.

Manchester Beach State Park Campground
Path through the grass Come Along
Plants Along Route 1
Sea Elephants Near Point Arena Lighthouse
Ronald Reagan Beans

There's more photos up on my flickr account.


Jamie said...

I'm ready to pack my bags and head West.

Stephanie said...

Beautiful! I love camping on the beach!

A Lost Feather said...

ah, it IS so pretty hehe :) and so are your photos.. loved that one you linked me to of the bridge.. i think the fog makes for better photos (even if it makes it a bit gray and maybe chillier)

Anonymous said...

love the picture of the deer.

TexaGermaFinlaNadian said...

Rock on that you actually set up shop on the beach. I would love to take a trip up (or down) route 1 one day. So beautiful!!

nancy said...

oh that looks so beautiful! I can't wait to see it for myself :) 9 months to go!!

Unknown said...

I am super duper jealous of all of your traveling adventures. Also, your wonderful photography skills never disapoint.

Also, wear your cut-offs while you can! It's going to get cold soon! (but yes, not all shout-outs are good, both of mine were baaaaad.)

Rosie said...

Your photos are so lovely! Everything really does seem beautiful.

JUST ME said...

These are beautiful!! I love where I live now, but sometimes I miss the beach so much I feel like I want to throw a tantrum.

Or move to CA and buy a houseboat.

amy b.s. said...

what an awesome trip!

Stephanie said...

Gorgeous pictures!!! Deserted beaches are the best. My husband and I spent spring break our junior year of college in Cape May, and since it was late March we had the whole town pretty much to ourselves. We couldn't go in the water, but those evening walks along the empty beach were awesome. :-)

The Many Colours of Happiness said...

That sounds like such an amazing trip :) And now I have the biggest craving for jellybeans!

michelle@decorandthedog said...

Looks like a great trip!! I love a good private beach...even if it is freezing!

Anna said...

Those photos are gorgeous. The sky is so blue! I'm going to the beach next week and now I can't wait.

Unknown said...

i live in victoria, canada and really want to take a trip down the coast and check out california. you make it look so beautiful (which i'm sure it is) so i'm definitely going to make it happen next summer...

Deidre said...

Love your photos - I've always wanted to drive up route 1. Although I want to go from LA to San Francisco. Someday!

Love being on a deserted beach.

Have you seen that Meg Ryan Movie "French Kiss" there is one moment where she goes "beautiful, beautiful, wish you were here" and that is I say whenever scenery is pretty.

Amanda said...

This post is why people never question me when I rave about how I was born in the most beautiful place ever :)

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