Coastal Escape Near San Francisco at Dillon Beach Resort

When planning a trip to the San Francisco Bay Area, spending time at the beach likely isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. While it’s typically a different, chillier experience than other beach destinations in the United States, the Northern California coast is arguably one of the nation’s most striking stretches of coastline. Located close to the borders of both Marin County and Sonoma County wine country, Dillon Beach Resort, offers a charming way to experience a Bay Area beach day.

Coho Cottage at Dillion Beach Resort in Northern California

Dating back to the late 1800s, even with a recent round of additions and renovations, Dillon Beach Resort maintains a sought-after sense of nostalgia. Unlike traditional hotels, the 55-acre property is comprised of 28 cabins and cottages that overlook the Pacific Ocean and privately-owned Dillon Beach. In less than a five-minute walk, guests can have their toes in the sand. It’s reportedly also the only beach in Northern California where dogs are allowed to roam off leash.

Coastal Cabins sleep up to six people and are the largest accommodation type available. Along with two bedrooms, a living room, and full kitchen, they feature a fenced in yard with a large picnic table, charcoal grill, and seemingly never-ending ocean views.

Coho Cottage with ocean view at Dillion Beach Resort in Northern California

Modern, coastal inspired, tiny homes make up the remaining lodging options. Ranging in size and style, each unit can accommodate two to five guests. The most sought-after face the ocean and boast stellar views of the Pacific coastline, but all of the tiny spaces are similar in design and feel, offering a nicely-stocked kitchenette with a refrigerator, cooktop, microwave, and toaster.

I stayed in Coho Cottage 3. The views of the ocean from the living room were marvelous, thanks to the large picture window that comprised a vast majority of one of the exterior walls. The downstairs bedroom offered a queen bed and small closet; another queen and twin bed were located in a separate sleeping loft overlooking the kitchen and living space. The bathroom offered a surprising amount of storage thanks to some drawers in the vanity and a wall shelf. I was however, disappointed to find toiletries still provided in small, single-use plastic bottles.

If you need it during your stay, odds are good the onsite Dillon Beach General Store will have it. From coffee and soft serve ice cream, to general groceries and local craft spirits, you’ll find it here. The space does double duty as a surf shop, offering surf board and wetsuit rentals, along with an assortment of various beach toys and necessities like salt water taffy by the piece or pound.

Fish & Chips and clam chowder at Coastal Kitchen

Coastal Kitchen offers a small but delicious menu with selections the likes of fish and chips, clam chowder, chicken sandwiches, veggie burgers, and more. The eatery serves lunch and dinner, Thursday through Sunday. No reservations — It’s a casual spot — order at the register and food is brought to your table. Dogs are welcome on the patio, which also happens to come with fantastic ocean views.

San Francisco International Airport is a bit more than an 80-mile drive from Dillon Beach Resort; Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport is 35 miles away.

Starting rates range from $299 to $649 depending on the accommodation and season. Wi-Fi and parking (at the property and the privately-owned beach) are included. You may find a cheaper rate at or Expedia so check there as well.

Dillion Beach in Northern California

All lodging at Dillon Beach Resort is dog-friendly. One large dog, or two small dogs under 20 pounds are permitted in all accommodations. There is an additional $125 per stay, pet fee. 

Review and photos by San Francisco Bay Area travel writer and television correspondent Dana Rebmann. Her stay was organized by Dillon Beach Resort, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own.


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