Behold the glorious Sonoma Coast, underrated sibling to Big Sur. Dozens of accessible pocket beaches pop up all along this dramatic stretch of northern California that’s perfect for pictures. Most photogenic of them all? Goat Rock Beach, a sub-unit of Sonoma Coast State Beach in Jenner. This unique spot is so photogenic that the final scene from the cult classic hit The Goonies was filmed here. Idyllically situated right where the Russian River flows into the Pacific, Goat Rock has a wide, accessible, and sandy beach, its shoreline thumping from the ocean side as waves churn and roil towards shore, smashing up against rocky outcroppings, spraying sea mist towards land.
Amidst the drama is the easily identifiable Arched Rock, a sea castle with a huge gape, an icon of the area (if you look closely at it, it almost resembles a giant turtle sticking its head and neck out).
BEVERAGE BONUS: Whether you’re in the mood for a latte, sandwich, or just lounging by the river, Café Aquatica (10439 Highway 1, Jenner) is the place. Snuggled up right on the Russian River and looking out to Goat Rock Beach, Café Aquatica is rustic originality with good coffee, breakfast burritos, grilled cheese sandwiches, just about anything you’d want for casual coastal comfort food.
Goat Rock Beach is accessed off of Hwy. 1 just south of the Russian River in Jenner (map). Parts of Goat Rock Beach are dog-friendly (on-site signage indicates where dogs are allowed). Café Aquatica is open everyday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.