Ok, I get you’re suffering the “No Abalone Blues” and feel there’s no real reason to visit Sea Ranch anymore. For the first time since 1921, generations of your jubilant family and friends traditionally centered your travel plans for the April 1 openers of Abalone Season. You had great visions of hauling out your limits of that most delectable mollusk, imagining that at least one would be a 10 incher! And then you’d wash off, sit back with a beer or glass of wine and relive the moments you experienced underwater while taking in that glorious sunset at Sea Ranch.
But, now you’re sitting in that dungy city office, lamenting there’s nothing to do since they’ve closed the 2018 Red Abalone Season. Worse yet, on Aug. 22, 2018 the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) voted unanimously to authorize publication of notice of intent to amend regulations to extend the fishery closure sunset date for the recreational red abalone fishery another two years (through April 2021).
Well, bucko it’s time to dispel that myth and get packing– cuz there’s plenty to do!
We have eight epic reasons for a weekend visit, or even extended spring vacation, in April. Just leave your ab-iron at home. Instead pack your camera, your golf clubs, your kids, your friends, your grandparents, and even your dog!
1. Go Spear Fishing or Fish from the Bluffs
Just because Fish and Wildlife Warden told you to put your ab irons away, doesn’t mean you can’t go out diving. In fact, now there’s reason to bring your tanks and speargun along! There’s plenty of rock cod, sea trout, and capazone tucked away in among the rocks ready to become tonight’s fish of the day plate!
Even the kids can enjoy a day of fishing under the watchful eyes of their parents.
Just be prepared to offer up a few lures to the fishing gods. The craggy bottom is sure to take them if you don’t. One way to survive the inevitable loss of tackle is to learn to make your own. It can be both economical and therapeutic.
And for the angler who prefers the metronome effect of a fly rod keeping time with the ocean’s current, there’s always fly fishing in the quiet coves, like Smuggler’s Cove just a short walk south of Sea Ranch Abalone Bay.
2. Watch Newborn Harbor Seal Pups Born on Sea Ranch Beaches
The best reason of all to visit Sea Ranch in April is to witness the miracle of harbor seals giving birth right before your eyes. April begins the birthing season for these shy pinnipeds. They can be found hauling out in the various protected coves, many designated as Marine Reserves. For more details about harbor seals at Sea Ranch, click here.
3. Whale and Jazz Festival Really Swings!
A visit to Sea Ranch in April is not complete without attending at least one of the many nearby Whale and Jazz Festival events. Presented by Gualala Arts and taking place during the Smithsonian Institute’s Jazz Appreciation Month of April, this highly regarded festival captures inspired, original jazz art work, whale education, jazz films, poetry and jazz, an annual Chowder Challenge and tasting and live music in atmospheric and beautiful settings. The venues include wineries, inns, wine bars, and restaurants from Jenner to Point Arena, the classically restored Arena Theater and the Gualala Arts Center nestled in the coastal redwoods. Check out this year’s schedule of events here.
Another local festival of note:
The Almost Fringe Festival is another month-long celebration of spring along the Mendocino Coast. Loosely based on the International Fringe Art Movement, this month-long festival is a celebration of all the creative happenings countywide, from traditional to cutting edge and artsy to agrarian. It’s a fun way to enjoy art in the springtime with wine, waves and wilderness! The events on the South Coast: Gualala, Point Arena, Manchester are nearest to Sea Ranch and occur April 27, 28, 29, 2018.
4. Wave to the Whales as They Swim By
And speaking of whales, April is prime whale-watching time. This is the time period when the end of the first phase of northbound migration of solitary northbound grays nears and the second phase that includes mothers with their calves begins.
Our local whale expert, Scott Mercer has viewed whales from one to 4 miles out. Some can even be seen hugging the coast just 40-400 yards offshore.
With luck you too may view as many as 28 gray whales in one day as he did. And if you’re really lucky you may even view one breaching.
And don’t forget that the whales will return in the fall and early winter to make their trek south for warmer waters.
5. Pack Your Golf Equipment
When you visit Sea Ranch don’t forget your golf clubs! The Sea Ranch Golf Links are located at the north end of Sea Ranch. The 18-hole golf course 6,600 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72 . The front nine winds its way out to, and along, the coastline of the Pacific with numerous ocean views as well as beautiful redwoods and natural sea grass rough.
The Sea Ranch Golf Links can be as challenging or as docile as you prefer to make it. The course rating is 73.2 and it has a slope rating of 136 on Bermuda grass. Two short game areas, which include a practice putting green and a pitching/bunker green, as well as a full grass driving range, allow for complete warm-up before your round or the ability to work on your game when needed. Golf carts, a well-appointed golf shop and a snack bar round out The Sea Ranch Golf Links experience. The course is open for play all year, weather permitting. Don’t forget to check with the staff for their tips and tricks for playing your best round.
Point Arena High School Boosters Annual Golf Tournament
The Sea Ranch Golf Links are also the location for the Point Arena High School Boosters Annual Golf Tourney. We are thrilled to announce Sea Ranch Abalone Bay is a proud sponsor of this year’s Point Arena High School Boosters Annual Golf Tourney.
6. Visit Sea Ranch for a Spring Walk Along the Trails
With all the rains this year our governor has officially declared California drought-free. But if you had any doubt, all you have to do is take a spring walk along the trails when you visit Sea Ranch. When you do be sure to do as Paul Kozal of Studio 391 always does- bring your camera!
By the way ~ When you post your photos on your Facebook page, just as Paul did, don’t forget to share them on the Sea Ranch Abalone Bay’s Facebook Page too! If you also have an Instagram account tag us too (#SeaRanchAbaloneBay🏠)
A great tip for your wildflower hikes:
The Sea Ranch Lodge offers a self-guided wildflower tour, which begins at Black Point Beach and meanders over our Sonoma coastal bluffs back to the Lodge. Take a map and follow the wildflower signs and numbered posts, where flowers bloom from April through summer. The list gives the common name, scientific name and peak blooming period for each species.
7. Celebrate School Holidays with the Kids
School holiday vacations at Sea Ranch will certainly take your mind off of the fact you aren’t harvesting abalone this year. There’s plenty to do when you visit Sea Ranch. Book a vacation rental and enjoy the week with the family. Many even allow you to bring your dog! With good planning, even your tween and teens will have a great time when they visit Sea Ranch.
When you do visit Sea Ranch with the kids (two-legged and four-legged) don’t forget there are parks for them all!
Children and you will enjoy playing at One-eyed Jacks and then explore the cypress hedgerow that leads you out to the coast and seal pups.
There’s plenty to do for your fur-babies too. Besides long strolls together along the trails that weave through the coast, meadows and redwoods, there’s also the Sea Ranch Dog Park. Here, unlike the trails and beaches, you can let your dog run free unleashed.
8. Celebrate Easter at Sea Ranch and Nearby
There’s many ways to celebrating the Easter holiday in your visit to Sea Ranch.
First, get a jump on your Easter fun by hunting for eggs at the South Coast Volunteer Fire Departments’ Annual Easter Egg Hunt. Located just minutes north of Sea Ranch, the event starts at 12 noon and offers burgers, hot dogs and other goodies. Oh yes, the Easter Bunny will be on hand to say hello.
Then, The Sea Ranch Lodge’s Black Point Grill offers a holiday brunch (10am- 3pm) with their annual egg hunt at the Sea Ranch Lodge at 10am-Sharp:
Naturally, you can always celebrate with just your family when you book a Sea Ranch vacation rental. Some vacation rentals, like Abalone Bay, even have private courtyards to hide your eggs. Just remember to keep a good count on them and where you hid them. Otherwise, you may hear back from housekeeping after your departure.
Need more ideas?
We have even more ideas for you and your family when you visit Sea Ranch. Check here:
Need a Place to Stay? Why Not Abalone Bay!
Share Your Reasons to Visit Sea Ranch in the Comments Below:
We know there’s must be more than six epic reasons. What are your suggestions? Tell us about them below in the comment section.