Lawson’s Landing is a recreational campground on 75 acres (30 ha) in the Tomales Dunes Complex on Sand Point, about 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Santa Rosa and 1 mile (1.6 km) south of Dillion, California. Lawson’s Landing was established in 1928 by Howard Lawson, and the family-owned campground has been operating since 1957 as a fishing and boating destination. The campground has a long history of unpermitted development that began in the early 1960s and expanded over the years to accommodate up to 1,000 camping vehicles. In 2008, a development plan for Lawson’s Landing was approved by the County of Marin after more than a decade of debate over environmental issues centering on the need to set camping limits and provide long term protections for the dunes and wetlands.
The Tomales Dunes occupies a major portion of the 960-acre (388 ha) agricultural parcel owned by the Lawson family on Tomales Bay. The dunes are a complex of several distinct habitats including mature mobile dunes, central dune scrub, dune prairie, and dune wetlands. This extraordinary system includes a high dune known as Little Sugarloaf with an elevation of 230 feet (70 m). The mobile dunes are constantly shifting and slowly moving inland. The dune complex provides a buffer to the prevailing westerly winds creating a relatively protected bay that adds habitat diversity for more than 40 species of shorebirds and waterfowl.
The prevailing winds carve depressions in the unvegetated sand where fresh water accumulates fed by groundwater, rain, or intermittent surface streams. These depressions develop into rich and unique seasonal wetlands, ranging from freshwater ponds, to marshes, to wet meadows collectively known as dune slacks. The same subterranean waters that feed the slacks have also created a dune canyon which is recut and reshaped in wet winters by a rain-fed underground spring, the only such dune canyon in central California. Read more here and here. Explore more of Lawson’s Landing here: