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Fort Ross is a historic stop along Highway 1 on the Sonoma Coast. It has several buildings and a windmill surrounded by fort walls that are leftover from it’s Russian roots. At least one of the buildings is original, but others have been reconstructed in the same Russian Orthodox architecture. From 1812 to 1841 the fort was a working commercial company that employed Russians, Californians, and Alaskans. This site was the southernmost settlement of the Russian colonies and served to provide an agricultural base for their northern settlements in Alaska. After the Russian era, the property was used as a ranch for well over 100 years. These two periods are the reason Fort Ross is protected as a state historic park.

SNV15859Fort Ross Russian Building, photo by Nina Stawski via Flickr

The park has one sandy beach and several other shoreline access points. One is at the campground. One is at Fort Ross Reef which is a popular spot for scuba divers. Another one, Clam Beach, is hard to find and difficult to access but offers a cove to explore for the adventurous.

If you want to stay near Fort Ross to have a few days to explore the park and the nearby coastline, there are a couple options. The Fort Ross Lodge is just outside the park and offers affordable and comfortable rooms. The park has it’s own campground for those with tents or RV’s.

Beaches on this map

  • Sandy Cove Beach

    Sandy Cove Beach at Fort Ross

    Sandy Cove Beach is the main beach at Fort Ross State Historical Park. This is a pleasant¬†sandy beach¬†with clear water for diving, but is not safe for swimming due to […]

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  • Fort Ross Campground Beach

    Fort Ross Campground Beach

    There is a small rocky driftwood covered beach below the Reef Campground and Day-Use Area at Fort Ross State Historical Park. The campground has 20 camping spots and access to […]

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  • Fort Ross Reef

    Fort Ross Reef

    Fort Ross Reef is a scuba diving destination just offshore from Fort Ross State Historical Park. There is a day-use parking area for access to the beach and the reef. […]

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  • Clam-Crop

    Clam Beach at Fort Ross

    Clam Beach is on the north side of Northwest Cape in Fort Ross State Historical Park. The USGS maps call this stretch of beach below steep towering cliffs “Clam Beach” […]

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