How to Find Bowling Ball Beach


Bowling ball beach is one of my favorite beaches to photograph.   When the tide is right, long exposures are can be very fun here.  I have used a Singh-Ray variable neutral density filter which does a fantastic job, and also a series of Lee Filters.  While I love the different and flexible effects I can get with the Lee System, I found the simplicity of using one filter with the Singh-Ray the easiest at this location.  But, any ND filter allowing you to go long exposures are a great effect here.

Every time I’m there I hear other photographers or families say something to the effect of, “I’ve been looking for this place for years,” or, “I had no idea this place was there.”  It’s funny to me because it is a huge beach.  But then again I had trouble finding it 20+ years ago too.  If you are looking for a beach in the Point Arena or Gualala area of Mendocino County, CA, this is a good one for sitting, tide pooling, hiking . . . anything really. It is never crowded.  That may be because it does take a bit of hike to get to. The hill and stairs to the beach were washed out years ago, and now you need to climb over a small creek covered in driftwood and climb out to the other side to get there.  Not dangerous, but if by chance you fall you may get wet. This is not an access friendly beach, but worth the hike.  And while you are there drive north a few miles to the B Bryan Reserve. A very surprising place to see giraffes, and zebras (and other animals) rescued and up close.

The beach is just off of highway one south of Point Arena, CA.  You can park your car on the west side of highway one right across from Schooners Gulch Rd.  

The google map link to Bowling ball beach is here

When you get there park your car – see picture below – I have never had a problem find a spot on the road.  When you exit your car you will see there are two paths. Take the one to the north. It is directly across form Schooner’s Gulch Rd.  The one to the south takes you to a pretty beach as well (Schooner’s Gulch Beach) but you can’t get to the north from there.  You will walk along a meadow, and then come to the bluff.   Follow the path to the point where the hill and stairs are washed out. There are some rope ladders, or stairs there, but it takes some effort.  Climb down and enjoy!

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