Dillon Beach Road off Highway 1 at Tomales, CA
North of Tomales Bay, south of Bodega Bay
Privately owned by Dillon Beach Resort
Change seasonally - phone the store at (707) 878-2094 for current hours
Day-use fee: $8
One and a quarter miles to the south of Dillon Beach is another private enterprise along the coast, Lawson's Landing. This fishing and boating resort and their popular campground have been family-owned and operated since 1957. Their marina includes boat launching facilities, boat rentals, mooring, and a fully-equipped boathouse and outboard shop.
Visitors to Lawson's Landing enjoy clamming in nearby clamming beds and fishing for crabs off the pier. Anglers often use Lawson's Landing as a place from which to set out for a day of fishing on Tomales Bay. Others launch kayaks or hike along the shore. All pets must be kept on leash.
For many years more than 200 permanent trailers have lined the roads at Lawson's Landing. As the result of a 2011 decision by the California Coastal Commission, most of those trailers must be removed by July 13, 2016. With proper permitting, Lawson's Landing may still operate as a short-stay campground for RVs and trailers.
Dillon Beach is the only privately owned beach in Northern California. The Dillon Beach Resort maintains the beach and provides facilities for visitors. A milder undertow, or rip current, at Dillon Beach than at other nearby beaches makes Dillon a popular spot for swimming, despite the cold water. Those who spend any time in the water usually opt for a wetsuit.
Well behaved dogs are allowed to run off-leash at Dillon Beach
Surfers find respectable waves, beach walkers enjoy long strolls down to the Lawson's Landing and the mouth of Tomales Bay, and many just spread out on the sand and relax. With a cafe and store nearby at the Dillon Bay Resort, food and beach supplies are close at hand. They also have a surf shop.
The General Store carries camping gear, bait, groceries and beverages, fresh-baked bread, clothing, propane, tide books, souvenirs, and a variety of other things. The store is open daily from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
Open Thursday through Sunday from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, the Dillon Beach Cafe serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They are best known for their fried calamari and their clam chowder. They use locally grown produce and fresh-baked bread. Dining is indoors or on their enclosed patio.
The Surf Shop, located within the General Store, offers surfboards for rent or sale along with other items such as boogie boards, wetsuits, and booties.
California State Parks and Recreation cautions that "large surf, cold water temperatures, backwash, sudden drop-offs, pounding shorebreak, and dangerous rip currents can turn what seem like safe activities such as playing near the surf line, wading, or climbing on rock outcroppings, deadly." Learn more about ocean safety at CA State Parks: Ocean Safety