Cooks Beach

Cooks Beach is a favorite summer destination of local families. It has a flat, crescent beach with fine sand. Seasonally, a gentle stream meanders through one side, perfect for wading and sand castle building for children.

The Bourns Landing / Cook’s Beach landscape is classic Sonoma and Mendocino County coastline– flat, nearly treeless headlands overlooking a broad wind-protected sandy beach. Located about two miles north of the town of Gualala, this area’s dramatic ocean views and beach access had not historically been available to the general public.

On July 1, 2003, RCLC completed the Bonham family’s offer to dedicate two access easements on their Bourns Landing property. With financial assistance from the State Coastal Conservancy and RCLC’s supporting members, these easements provide a bluff-top panoramic viewing platform and a short trail down to the beach.


Did you know Cooks Beach was once known as “Smuggler’s Cove”? Click here to read about how this sandy beach was a popular place for the rum runners to come ashore during the Prohibition era.

Know Before You Go

Cooks beach is an undeveloped area with no restrooms, drinking water or trash cans. Please pack out all trash and animal waste. Fires and overnight camping are not permitted.


Protect Nature

Cooks Beach is home to a variety of wildlife including shore birds and sea lions. Please show these creatures respect while visiting their homes—give them plenty of space and keep pets leashed when wildlife is visible.

Property Map

To get to Cooks Beach…

Photo credits: Cooks Beach – Querido Galdo; Footprint – Querido Galdo; Starfish – Querido Galdo; Seal – Ethan Applegarth
Gallery photo credits: Anne Hanlon, Joel Chaban