This is a large, mostly west-facing, black sand beach with offshore reefs just north of the town of Shelter Cove. Black Sands Beach is a picturesque and relaxing.
The black sand that covers the beach and has given the spot its name is very unusual. There are offshore reefs in this area that can create peeling lines of consistent and well-shaped surf.
The winter months can bring big swells from the west and northwest. In general, the winter season requires skill and experience and isn’t the best time of year for novice surfers to visit.
Go to the website link above to find out about current conditions in the King Range.
The summer months can mean smaller surf with fun south swells that are much less intimidating. Regardless of the season, this is definitely a beach worth experiencing.
The beach is a 3.5-mile stretch of coastline 45 miles south of Eureka in Northern California.
Directions: There are signs along 101 and in Redway/Garberville area that tell the direction to King Range/Shelter Cove area and those are the signs visitors need to follow. What confuses most visitors is once they are on the Briceland-Thorn Rd going toward Shelter Cove there is a fork in the road (about 13 miles outside of Redway) with many signs pointing in different directions.
The Briceland-Thorn Rd forks to the left and the road going to the right becomes the Shelter Cove Rd. Regardless of what the signs may say visitors need to stay on the road going to the right. After that fork (aka Whitethorn Junction) it's about another nine miles to Shelter Cove.
As visitors decend down the road into Shelter Cove they will need to turn right onto Beach Rd, which dead ends at Black Sands Beach. There is a sign indicating they are at the King Range NCA and the main parking is up top. Visitors will need to walk down the sidewalk to the beach access.
Disabled parking is located immediately at the beach access point. The main parking lot has restrooms, a drinking fountain, and interpretive panels about the geology and other information about the area.