Bowling Ball Beach
The intriguing name of this California beach comes from the rounded boulders up to a metre in diameter which sit on its cliff-lined sands. Part of Schooner Gulch State Beach, Bowling Ball Beach lies a short distance south of Point Arena along Highway One. To reach it from the highway, you need to take the right-hand trail.
The unusual geological phenomenon responsible for the near-spherical rocks is known as “concretion” and is the result of the local sandstone being bound together by naturally occurring cements. It is a process that would have taken millions of years and continues today. Surprisingly rare, the phenomenon occurs in a handful of other places, perhaps the best known of which is Koekohe Beach in New Zealand with its Moeraki Boulders.
Almost as mysterious is the story behind the name of Schooner Gulch. It is said that one night, many moons ago, a schooner ran aground on the beach here. However, the following morning when the locals went back to investigate there was no trace of the ship having ever been there.
While not the area’s best beach when it comes to sunbathing, it is a favourite spot for rock-pooling at low tide, as well as for photographers keen to capture the usual rock formations. The surf is another reason to consider Bowling Ball Beach. The beach’s northern end, near the mouth of the creek, is known as Whiskey Shoals.
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