Dillon Beach, Bodega Bay

Dillon Beach, Bodega Bay

by | Jan 14, 2021

Dillon Beach is a community located on Bodega Bay near the mouth of Tomales Bay, about 19 miles (31 km) southwest of Santa Rosa and 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Point Reyes Station, California. Dillon Beach was named after the founder, George Dillon, who settled there in 1868. The area includes a public access beach, a private resort, and the only private beach in California.

The Coast Miwok used this area for clamming and occupied a village on the eastern shore at the entrance to Tomales Bay. The first Europeans arrived in 1775  when the Spanish Peruvian explorer of the Spanish Navy Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra anchored his ship Sonora in the lee of Tomales Point. Bodega y Quadra later sent other expeditions to Bodega Bay with the intention of establishing a colony and mission there, however, the location was deemed not ideal. In the 1850s, Tom Woods arrived and hired local Miwok workers to gather abalone at Tomales Point which he traded for brandy from passing merchant ships. He also employed the Miwok to harvest grain. Toms Point, immediately south of Dillon Beach, is where he lived with the Miwok in a small village.

In 1868, George and Mathilda Dillon arrived and in 1888 built an 11 bedroom hotel, restaurant, and general store at Dillon Beach. In 1903, Dillon sold the property to John Keegan with the agreement that the beach would always be named Dillon Beach. Keegan built vacation cottages and ran a stagecoach between Dillon Beach and Tomales where the North Pacific Coast Railroad made a stop. Keegan sold the holdings to the California Eucalyptus Plantation Company in 1911. Over time, different portions of the business and land were leased or purchased by the Lawson family, and by 1942, they owned and ran the resort. The Pacific Marine Station, a facility of the University of the Pacific, operated from 1933 until some time in the 1980s. It stood between Portola Beach and Lawsons Landing and offered a hands-on experience for marine biology students. Read more here and here. Explore more of Dillon Beach here:

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