Hidden on the Mendocino Coast, Bowling Ball Beach lives up to its name, and then some. Giant smoothly rounded boulders (some 12 feet across) are scattered across the beach. But you’ve got to go at low tide to truly appreciate the beauty of this place. And there aren’t any big signs pointing the way. It’s about a 5-minute walk along a bluff down to a rickety wooden stair-ladder that descends to the sand. Watch your step.
Once you reach the beach, it’s another 5 minutes of walking to reach the big balls. About 100 are visible at low tide. Play hopscotch jumping from one to the next. Then sit back on the beach and watch as the water laps around this natural wonder. Go big!
TIP: Bowling Ball Beach isn’t far from Sea Ranch, a great spot for an overnight escape.
The beach is 10.5 miles north of the town of Gualala along Hwy. 1. Park at the western pullout just north of Schooner Gulch River on the highway, and look for the sign that says “Park Facing South.” There are two trailheads; take the less obvious northern trail, veer right at the fork, and walk five minutes to the bluff. Be cautious dropping down the stair-ladder as there has been a lot of erosion. Those with limited mobility aren’t advised. Once on the beach, walk five minutes north. Dog-friendly!