Gerstle Cove State Park

Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Gorgeous! That’s all I have to say about our northern Sonoma coast! We don’t have sandy beaches with blonde babes in bikinis laying out like our SoCal counterparts. We have rocky seashores filled with sea life, crazy rock formations and beautiful wildflowers kissing the sea air!

Yes, I lived half of my life in Southern California’s beautiful weather, groomed beaches and crowds of tan people loving life without a care in the world. Now I live in gorgeous Northern California where you are in awe of the beautiful rocks, wildflowers and coastal redwoods instead. Might be the timing in life but I so enjoy seeing cows cruising along Highway 1 and lazily grazing while watching us crazy humans giggle at them instead of stopping for the hundreds of people wanting to lay out at the beautifully groomed beaches of SoCal. Both are equally wonderful and entertaining but I choose less people and more wild life now. 🙂

The hubs and I got up early Saturday morning to drive the 1.5 hours to the northern Sonoma coast just to see the wildflowers in bloom. So happy we did this! The drive was foggy and the road was twisting and turning but each time we turned there was a new view to see that just makes you sit back and want to pinch yourself to make sure you are not dreaming!

From Santa Rosa to the coast it’s a gorgeous drive through vineyards and small towns. Once you hit the coast it is a 25 mph drive with tight turns, birds soaring overhead, green hillsides, gigantic happy cows cruising on the hills and the smell of the salt air. Last summer when it was crazy hot in Santa Rosa we snuck out to the coast and hiked from Stump Beach almost to Gerstle Cove and had seen the remnants of wildflowers so we knew we wanted to do this again in the spring to see what it looked like. Mother nature did not disappoint!

We started from Gerstle Cove this time (I hear the tide pooling there is amazing) following the cute rock lined trail from the parking lot and visitor center. There were just a couple of cars in the parking lot since we were fairly early to catch the good lighting and the fog was still pretty dense.

The waves were pounding the shore as the tide was coming in spraying salty sea air on us as we walked along the bluffs hunting for wildflowers. There’s lots of little spots to climb down on the sand stone and get different perspectives of the shoreline and bluffs. This is where we burn our calories (so we can reward ourselves with cheeseburgers!) climbing up and down exploring every inch of the beauty surrounding us.

Of course there were curious sea lions smiling up at us from the cove, birds fluttering about finding materials for their nests and oh the wildflowers…that’s what we went to see. Yellow poppies, pink pom pom flowers, wild iris, succulents in all shades and others I am not sure what they are. It was a gorgeous day for a wildflower hunt and the hubs and I feel so lucky to live so close and get to experience the coast!

On our way back to the car there were several other people that had found their way down to our lovely little pieces of heaven we found…kids were picking flowers and were in awe of the mighty waves crashing along the shore.

A short rest at the parking lot and we were headed back home down the coast. Love this drive!

Side note, happy cows really do come from California! There’s a stretch of Highway 1 where cows graze on both sides of the road. I still giggle and get excited when I see them lounging so close by and wish I could trade places with them for a couple days. I want to just eat all day and lay along the coast with an amazing view like they do!

This post is also linked to the Weekly Photo Challenge for Early Bird….the early bird gets to walk the trails in peace….check out other great bloggers’ early bird posts here!

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  1. Amazing shot of the water crashing into the rocks!! Thanks for sharing, as always! 🙂

    1. Thanks! The waves were pounding the shore like crazy giving us a great show! I love sharing our beauty here!

  2. Great description of what we get to enjoy in NorCal. I think our coast becomes more awesome the worse the weather gets (an attitude quite opposite of our SoCal friends). I too like the wave crashing on the rocks.

  3. I love the detail in your photos. The wild flowers are beautiful and the shot of the waves was amazing.

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