Naturally occurring lagoons are a relatively rare type of water body that form when the ocean sporadically rises above natural barriers and then recedes, leaving vast swaths of shallow-bodied water trapped inland. In Humboldt County, in the deep north of the State of California, the most extensive system of naturally occurring lagoons in the United States is protected. You and your dog can travel here and explore the Humboldt Lagoons State Park, most of which you can enjoy without leaving your car too far behind.
Humboldt Lagoons State Park is an interconnected system of three significant lagoons, along with a fourth lagoon that has dried up and is now considered marshland. Big Lagoon, Stone Lagoon, and Freshwater Lagoon comprise the majority of the park, each featuring some degree of camping, kayaking, boating, and fishing. Dry Lagoon, which was drained by farmers in the early twentieth century, features a small campsite and is the only area where dogs are allowed to explore on-leash.
You are welcome to bring your dog with you as you drive to each lagoon, but unfortunately, they are not allowed to get out of the car and come with you into dune areas. California Department of Parks and Recreation manages the Humboldt Lagoons State Park, and they are responsible for protecting unique lagoon and marshland ecosystem that features native plants, unique birds, and visiting animals such as elk and whales.
You may enjoy all of these animals during a single visit, but your dog might disrupt the delicate balance of each of these interacting habitats, which is why dunes and most campsites are off-limits. That being said, it is still worth journeying here with your dog if only to pass through, as the sights alone are worth the trip. Come and visit this beautiful, rare environment which showcases one of California’s most fragile ecosystems. The breadth of life and beautiful juxtaposition of ocean water and still water is sure to stay with you long after you depart.