Driving through the tiny town of Elk, you might not guess that there is a lovely beach hidden from the main street/highway. Park in the lot across from the Elk Store and walk west toward the ocean, and you’ll find a wide trail scattered with bright wildflowers and lined with plumed pampas grass, waving their feathery heads in the breeze. The trail slopes down to the driftwood-scattered beach, where you’ll discover picturesque views of the ocean and the dramatic sea stacks and rock arches offshore.
A hidden gem where you’ll discover picturesque views of the ocean and the dramatic sea stacks and rock arches offshore
Greenwood State Beach is a hidden gem, and you will probably have the beach to yourself. It’s hard to believe that in the late 19th century and early 20th, a lumber mill operated here, with a pier jutting out into the sea. There is no sign of it now, and the only wood you’ll find there these days is an abundance of driftwood, some big enough to provide seating for a picnic as you enjoy the sea breezes and the stunning view.
Elk was once known as Greenwood, named for the town’s founding family. When the town grew big enough to need its own post office, the residents of Greenwood discovered that there was already a town called Greenwood, and they chose Elk, the name the town still carries to this day. If you’d like to learn more about Elk’s history and see photos of it in its logging days, stop by the Visitor Center, housed in the distinctive white former post office building, right on Main Street.
Pick up picnic supplies from the Elk Store and enjoy an al fresco meal on the beach or at one of the picnic tables at the trailhead. If you’re ready for a little inside time, head to Queenie’s Roadhouse, a local favorite for their all-day breakfasts and delicious sandwiches, made to order by Queenie herself.
Greenwood State Beach is located at 6150 Highway 1 in Elk. The beach is open for day use only. Dogs are allowed on leash. There is no cell service in Elk. The Visitor’s Center is at 5980 Highway 1. Hours may vary depending on the time of year. Call (707) 877- 3458 for current hours or more information.
The Elk Store is at 6101 Highway 1, and is open daily from 11 am to 4 pm, closed on Tuesday. The store’s phone number is (707) 877-3544. Queenie’s Roadhouse is just down the street, at 6061 Highway 1. They are open from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm Friday to Monday. Queenie’s usually closes for part of the winter. Call (707) 877-3285 for more information.