The Complete Mackerricher State Park Camping Guide – Sports News Today | Gmx Pharm

MacKerricher State Park is a California destination full of nature and places to explore.

Did you know that only this one state park actually has any eight to see different habitats? There are beaches, bays, dunes, forests, a freshwater lake, headlands, tide pools and wetlands to explore.

With so much to do and see, how do you know where to start?

That is our task! We’ve rounded up the top things MacKerricher State Park camping has to offer you and organized them into categories of things to do, where to stay, and things to pack so you’re all set to enjoy your vacation trip there.

Read on for a complete guide to camping at MacKerricher State Park!

What to do

It might be hard to believe, but this list might not even be entirely complete. There are so many things to do and see on a camping trip in MacKerricher State Park! We’d like to take some time to highlight eight of the best things to spend time on during your visit.

Beach recreation

MacKerricher’s beaches are pristine. There are several to choose from depending on what you want to do on the beach.

main beach

The main beach is closest to the campsite but has some dangerous wave patterns that make it unsuitable for swimming. This is the beach to visit if you just want to sit on the sandy beach and enjoy the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks or play some games in the sand.

Virgin Creek Beach

Virgin Creek Beach is the perfect beach for families on a camping trip in MacKerricher State Park. This large patch of sand lies at the mouth of Virgin Creek. Children can play in the creek water without fear of currents found in the nearby sea water.

This is also the beach closest to many tide pools. If you come at low tide be sure to keep an eye out for native wildlife in this area. Remember, see with your eyes, not your hands!

Glass Beach is a beach in MacKerricher State Park (California, United States)

glass beach

Due to its worldwide fame, Glass Beach gets its own section. What started as a garbage dump has turned into a beautiful beach thanks to the power of Mother Nature.

Over time, all the glass bottles dumped there by locals have been eroded by the elements – wind, waves and sand – leaving behind beautiful pieces of colored glass that blend in with the area’s natural pebbles.

Thousands of visitors a day for many, many years have left the beach with much less of the beautiful glass from which it takes its name. While it’s illegal to take any pieces with you, unfortunately it hasn’t always discouraged people from picking up souvenirs.

It wasn’t until 2015 that attempts were made to add more recycled glass to the beach in an attempt to restore Glass Beach to its former glory.

There’s still plenty of glass to make it worthwhile, especially with young children. You can explore and enjoy all the buried treasures this beach has to offer to guests enjoying a camping trip at MacKerricher State Park!


With the appropriate fishing license you can fish directly from the coast into the sea. You can also venture out to Lake Cleone and try your luck at catching bass.

Be sure to check current fishing regulations before you go so you know which fish you can keep and which fish you must release.


There are three different trails to explore on your MacKerricher State Park camping trip. The first is of moderate difficulty and the other two are considered easy hikes.

Haul Road Coastal Trail to Laguna Point

This 9 km ride takes you from Haul Road up to Laguna Point and back. All the while you have an expansive view of the Pacific Ocean and coastline. Wildflowers bloom in May. It’s a popular trail for bird watchers.

It usually takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete at a comfortable pace.

Laguna Point Boardwalk in MacKerricher State Park

Laguna Point Boardwalk Loop

This 1.4-mile loop trail is a boardwalk the entire time, making it ideal for families with young children or anyone who finds rough terrain challenging.

On this path you will see the beautiful cliffs jutting into the sea and the beautiful coastline. It’s usually quite busy, but you might be able to have a few quiet moments to yourself if you go earlier in the morning or later in the evening.

Virgin Creek Trail

This 1.2 mile round trip trail takes you from Hwy 1 along Virgin Creek to the bluffs and beach next to where the creek meets the sea. You can even use a paddle board along the path along this creek to change up the pace!


Ricochet Ridge Ranch is a third party that runs horseback riding groups up and down the beaches of MacKerricher State Park.

Guests 6 years and older enjoying a camping trip at MacKerricher State Park are welcome to book a tour regardless of their experience level. The company offers one-hour and three-hour tours.

Junior Ranger Program

Operated by the State of California, the Junior Ranger program provides additional activities for children ages 2-12 to learn more and experience nature for themselves.

The activities available during a MacKerricher State Park camping trip can vary, but sometimes they include things like:

  • play games
  • hiking trails
  • discover traces
  • observe wildlife
  • Create your own animal

Visit the Visitor Center for more information during your trip.

seal watching

seal watching

Anytime between October and May, you can take the Boardwalk loop to Laguna Point to sit and watch for seals.

There’s a chance you’ll see a seal at any time during these months, but your chances increase in cooler months like January and February.

whale watching

Laguna Point is also the place to sit and watch for whales during your camping trip in MacKerricher State Park.

Gray whales migrate right past this point from December to April every year.

Where to sleep

Campground in MacKerricher State Park

Campground in MacKerricher State Park

This campsite has more than 140 pitches for tents, campers and campers to enjoy all year round. Note that there are no hookups at this campsite.

Many of the campsites are shaded by large mature trees and there are two group campsites that can accommodate up to 60 campers!

Each campsite is equipped with a picnic table, fire pit and charcoal grill. There are bathhouses with flush toilets and hot water for all MacKerricher State Park campers.

What to pack

When planning a trip to a new place, the biggest unknown is often “What should I take with me?!” Well, here’s your answer!


Temperatures here average only between 55°-68°F all year round. It’s never really too cold or too hot, but what you wear depends a lot on what you have in mind.

In general, it’s a good idea to pack in layers. Long johns, jeans, or even convertible shorts are good options for bottoms. Bring tank tops, t-shirts, long sleeve tops and jackets for cooler nights.

Sturdy shoes are required for many of the walks available, but flip flops are acceptable on the beach and boardwalk.

Also remember to pack a rain jacket for wet weather!

Items for activities

Make sure you bring items to complete any planned activities. Fishing gear, mountain bikes, hiking poles, or picnic gear are all things to consider.

Conclusion MacKerricher State Park Camping

Hopefully you now feel ready to enjoy your first camping experience at MacKerricher State Park! This state park has so much to offer that you are sure to find something your family will enjoy.

For more camping tips and tricks, visit our full camping guides page!

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