Gerstel Cove Campground in Salt Point State Park has 30 drive-in sites located on the ocean side of Highway 1. While other campgrounds are available in the park, Gerstle Cove Campground offers the nearest ocean access and remains open year-round. As the name suggests, the campground is adjacent to Gerstle Cove, a State Marine Reserve that hosts a healthy underwater kelp forest. The rich marine ecosystem makes Gerstle Cove a popular spot for divers staying at the campground.
The campground is situated around a single loop, and the outer campsites offer more privacy than others. There are no showers. Reservations are possible year-round and strongly encouraged March through October.
There are two 0.3-mile trails connecting Gerstle Cove with the campground, both winding through thick coastal forest before emerging on the grass-covered bluffs that are typical of the Sonoma Coast. The tide pooling is excellent down in Gerstle Cove, and because the area is a State Marine Reserve, it is illegal to take anything from the protected area.
Consider exploring the Salt Point Trail that travels the shoreline north from Gerstle Cove to Stump Beach Cove and beyond. Gray whales may be spotted as they migrate along the coast from January through April.
There is a road down to the day use area from the campground.