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Camping on the Northern California Coast - MacKerricher State Park

Updated on July 30, 2013

Camping Near Fort Bragg, California

Just North of the bustling and popular summer destination of Fort Bragg, California is a campground called MacKerricher State Park. Located ten minutes from Fort Bragg, this campsite is located on the coast of Mendocino County. At this California State Park, campers will find family-friendly, tent and RV friendly, dog-friendly sites. At this location, the camping types will find a little something for everyone, from families with children to seniors seeking easy-access trails and nature. Programs promote the conservation of the Snowy Plover and education on other animals, such as the Mountain Lion. An old train trestle is available for closer inspection, among other historical remnants. The skeleton of a whale greets you at the entrance to the park.

Views at MacKerricker SP


Here is the list of attractions at MacKerricher State Park:

  • fresh water fishing at their small lake (trout, bass, sunfish)
  • ocean water fishing (catch sunfish right off the shores!)
  • hiking, bicycling, and handicap-friendly trails (some are wheelchair accessible on boardwalks)
  • picnic day-use areas with barbecues and picnic tables
  • sandy beach fronts (warning: flipflops advised on hot days due to scalding sand)
  • campsites a few minutes' walk to the beach
  • ranger led talks on nature and animal life
  • junior ranger program for children to learn about animal and environmental conservation in a fun way (age 12 and under)
  • the town of Fort Bragg with museums, shops, restaurants, and galleries about a ten minute drive from camp

Other Amenities at MacKerricher State Park

  • flush toilets
  • on-site food storage boxes (bring your own lock)
  • coin-operated showers (bring plenty of quarters)
  • tidal pools
  • whale watching (depending on time of year)

A Boardwalk To the Tidal Pools & Whale Watching

This skeleton is located next to the Gift Shop, by the Ranger Station.  Firewood is sold through the Gift Shop.
This skeleton is located next to the Gift Shop, by the Ranger Station. Firewood is sold through the Gift Shop. | Source

The History of MacKerricher Park

In 1868, Duncan MacKerricher paid $1.25 an acre to buy this area, which had been a former Indian reservation. The MacKerricher family owned this land and used it until 1949, when it was gifted to the State of California. It was heavily logged and a remnant of a former road has created a fabulous walking path. Part of this path was washed out by a storm in 1982. Dogs on leash are welcome throughout most of the park now except in areas where the Snowy Plover (a bird) are protected. Ask rangers where dogs are restricted.

A Popular Campground - Reservations Are Suggested

This campground is very popular and often booked solid months in advance. For this reason, it is advised that campers seek an advance reservations.

However, the last minute traveler may be lucky because reservations that are cancelled are given to drop-in campers on a first-come, first-served basis. If campers are seeking a campsite but fail to secure a location at MacKerricher State Park, a more primitive campground on Highway 20 can be found on the way to Willits, California.

Flowers Abound During The Spring & Early Summer


Where Is MacKerricher State Park?

Rangers Teach Children About Nature



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    • Li Galo profile image

      Li Galo 4 years ago from Mainly the USA but Sometimes Abroad

      Dear Suhail and dog: Dogs are allowed on leash but are limited to trails where the Snowy Plover bird doesn't nest and are required to be supervised (not tied to a tree by themselves). Dogs are also allowed on leash at the beach. Great comment - thanks!

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 4 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      I liked this informative article. Seems like a good place to hike. However, I would like to know if this park allows dogs on the leash or not at all.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 4 years ago from California

      Love camping MacKerricher. Lovely article.