We made a brief visit to this cove in the north Bay which is of historic interest. In the 19th century chinese fisherman came to this camp and collected bay shrimp. They used methods common in China and were so successful that they were shut down by laws enacted specifically to target them. The small museum has original equipment and explanations which were very enlightening.
China Camp Park itself is much larger than the small cove where the original settlement was. The park offers hiking trails along the bay and over the hills. There is apparently someone who still lives on the beach and there is a small restaurant which is open occasionally.
China Camp State Park is one of my favorite local stand up paddle launch spots. Parking (for a fee) is close to the beach, and the beach is super easy for launching. From here, you can go south to The Sisters (tiny islands), head around the quarry to San Rafael, or go north toward Gallinas Creek. Heading north, the water is very shallow, so I usually stay outside the channel markers and even beyond. (I hate it when my paddle hits mud.) I will feel like I have the entire San Pablo Bay to myself. There's no one to hear you out there. You can holler, practice your French or sing Lady Gaga tunes. No one will think you're crazy, because no one can hear a damn thing you're doing. If a person hollers out in the middle of the bay and there is no one to hear it, does he/she make a sound?
Buckeye Point is part of China Camp State Park. I like this spot, kinda, because it is a short walk to the water, and it has an outdoor shower. Also a restroom. It's hardly used so there normally are few people, if not none at all. But it has its deficiencies. There is no real beach, so it's not a super easy launch. The water is shallow, and there are numerous sharp rocks in mud, so you have to carry your board out a way to avoid scratching the bottom. The mud is very soft and water is shallow for many feet away from the shore. At high tide, it's not such a big deal. Stay away, however, during low tide. Once I returned during low tide, and I had slosh through the mud, sinking in ankle deep, for about 50 feet while holding my board above those sharp rocks. Not easy. That outdoor shower came in very handy. If you launch here, make sure you wear footwear (you'll need it with those sharp rocks) that won't get sucked off in the mud.
Even people who live here in Marin County overlook this local beauty. This park has a wonderful view of the Bay with excellent trails for cycling and walking. There is also a campground.
The views are outstanding and the area is not that crowded. There are lots of convenient bayside places with groomed lawns, permanent charcoal barbecues, picnic benches, and gorgeous views of the bay and wetlands.
Serene, peaceful, beautiful.
China Camp park information 415-456-0766.
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