Want to get away from it all without hiking for miles? Paddle to camping solitude in the coastal foothills of northern Sonoma County. Lake Sonoma’s got 50 miles of leisure-friendly shoreline, and while much of it is a water recreation haven, there’s a hidden stash of boat-in campsites on the quietest part of the lake known as the “Thumb.” Located on the secluded, narrow Dry Creek Arm of the lake, these campsites are a one- to two-hour paddle from the Yorty Creek put-in. The Thumb is in a no wake zone, making it free of recreational fuss, so all you have to do is a little arm-work to reach it. And the rewards are worth the effort. All of the sites are tucked away from the crowds, fully shaded, and complete with fire pits and picnic tables. Throw out your fishing line and catch supper, or keep exploring the farther reaches of the lake. Ahhhh, silence. Enjoy.
At the Lake Sonoma Visitor Center (707-431-4533, open Wed. to Sun. 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), pick up a detailed map of the lake and a Yorty Creek parking permit. Bring your own kayak or canoe, or rent one at the Lake Sonoma Marina (707-433-2200); canoes are $50 a day and kayaks are $65 a day. It’s not recommended to paddle to the Thumb camp from the marina. Rather, pick up your boat there and transport it to Yorty Creek by car. Bring your own car rack and straps. Campsites are $14 per night with a 2-night minimum on weekends. Make reservations by calling 877-444-6777. Dog-friendly!