Field Day 2001 Beach Party

last update March 18, 2001

We (KA6S, KF6LCT, KF6MBH, and WB6W) took a weekend (March 10/11) jaunt to the north coastto evaluate potential beachfront field day sites. Time was a bit short, so we were notable to look at all of the sites listed in my e-mail posting. We did get pictures ofsome of them. They are posted here for anyone who is interested. Yes, I am aware that some of us grew up in this area and know these sites very well. The pictures and descriptions are for the rest ofus.

I've included the original e-mail text to help put things into perspective. Any additional accounts and descriptions will be in italics.

As I said in the e-mail, Sonoma Coast State Beach seems to be the best of the lot. Both campgrounds include at least some campsites that front on the beach. However, in general, state parks are NOT a good place to have field day because they generally do not reserve specific sites and because they charge a fee, usually per vehicle per night. We need to arrange for these rulesto be bent a little for the beach FD site to be worthwhile. The main advantage of a beachfrontField Day is the opportunity to simplify antennas - a beach is THE place to usea vertical antenna! Should we choose the beach, I'm willing to come up with atleast one good multiband vertical.

We need to decide if we want to try a beachfront site fairly quickly, say, by the end of March 2001, so that we can get appropriate reservations.

All that being said, on to the illustrated e-mail!

73 de Glenn
Subject: FDGRP FD Beach party
Date: Sunday, February 25, 2001 9:46 AM

Hi all! I've taken a look at several potential coastal sites for FD - at least the ones that are state beaches/state parks. In most cases, the advantages are obvious so I won't list them. I will list the disadvantages IMHO. In most cases, individualsites aren't assigned until arrival, a nightly fee is charged.The maximum number of people in a group site varies a bit but there is usually a minimum headcount of 9...

This info is from the state parks reservation website. If anyone has other coastal places to suggest or has an "in" at one of these places, now is the time to speak. Is anyone interested in an exploratory trip to Sonoma Coast in the next few weeks? ;-)

- Glenn

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Executive summary: Sonoma Coast SB seems to be the best of the lot. However, in general, state parks are NOT a good place to have field day.

Details:Here is what I've found:

Reef Campground (part of Fort Ross) - This is a beautiful area with campsites located in a redwood forest. The campground is not in thereservation system at this time and was not mentioned in the previous e-mail. We found it as we drove by. It was closed when we visited. The good news is that the road through the campground goes to the beach. It is not clear that the campground extends that far, but since our group will require a small amount of rules flex, the beach might be accessableto us. The bad news is that the campground is in a canyon and that there are high cliffs close to the beach. Thus it is not clear that Reef would be a desirable RF site. Too bad - having both forest and beach would be nice!

Reef campsite in the redwoods

Angel Island SP - no vehicles, campsites not close to water, no group campsite, weekday transport to/from island iffy.
Brannon Island SP - (located in delta on SR160, near Rio Vista) no salt water for antennas, only 6 sites in group camp area, minimum fee is $12/night/vehicle - may be as much as $22/night (not clear on website).
Mackerricher SP - (located on SR1 three miles north of Ft.Bragg) specific site reservations are not available (assigned at checkin), group camp area not available, fee is $12/night/vehicle no sites near beach
Manchester SP - (located on SR1, 35 miles southeast of Ft.Bragg) many miles on SR1 - trouble for RVs? group site fee is $30/night/40 people site is "primitive" (good news) - only amenity listed is dump site. 12 vehicle/40 people max at site - driveway is 21' long (too small for most RVs)
Russian Gulch SP - (located on SR1 2 miles north of Mendicino)
  • RV's/trailers prohibited!

  • 10 vehicle limit
  • group campsite not near beach (walking distance)
  • group site fee $30/night
  • individual campsite fee $12/veh/night
  • ind. campsites not assigned until arrival
This is a beautiful site. Too bad it's down in a hole and does not allow trailers/RVs!

Russian Gulch

Salt Point SP - (located on SR1, 20 miles N of Jenner) 40 people and 10 vehicles max, no more than 3 RV's, no trailers, no dogs, many miles on SR1 - trouble for RVs? group fee is $50/night, individual fee is $12/veh/night
Sonoma Coast SB - (located between Jenner and Bodega Bay)
  • no group camp area
  • fee is $12/veh/night
  • sites are "developed" ...which appears to mean that there is a fire ring and a picnic table at each campsite and that there are restrooms. We saw no evidence of hookups for RVs.
  • ***Wrights Beach is the best option***
There are two campgrounds here, Wrights Beach and Bodega Dunes, seperated by 5 miles of accessable beach. Of these, Wrights beach is clearly preferred as Bodega Dunes is seperated from the salt water by several hundered yards of sand, a major road and at least one steel cyclone fence.

Wrights Beach campground from the waterline

Waterline from Wrights beach campground

Waterline, road and fence from Bodega Dunes campground

Vandamme SP - (on SR1, 3 miles S of Mendicino) group fee is $37/night, individual fee is $12/veh/night, group site not near beach
Half Moon Bay SB - (on SR1 in HMB) group fee is $37/night, individual fee is $12/veh/night group site not near beach
Manresa SB - (located 20 miles south of Santa Cruz) all sites are walk in (no RV's, trailers, cars etc) individual fee is $12/tent/night
New Brighton SB - (off SR1, just south of Santa Cruz) no group camp area, fee is $12/veh/night, group site not near beach (beach is at bottom of 100' cliff...) Park is subject to evacuation due to high winds and flooding. The park may be subject to construction during the reservation period.
San Luis Reservoir SRA - (on SR152 a few miles west of I5/Los Banos) no reservation info available - not a salt water area but potentially a good freshwater foreground for antennas. no trees - potentially hot in the day at FD time (hot > 100F)
SeaCliff SB - (next door to New Brighton - same story)
Sunset SB - (located just south of Manresa SB) group fee is $75/night,individual fee is $12/veh/night, group site not near beach