At the south end of the community is a boat ramp that leads into a gentle cove sheltered by a small jetty allowing easy boat access to the ocean. The ocean here offers some of the best salt water fishing along the west coast.
A sandy beach stretches south towards the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. The beach is great for walks and beachcombing for shells, starfish and an occasionally glass float ball. This cove is well known among the local surfers as a great surfing spot.
On the cliff overlooking the boat ramp and beach is Mario’s Tackle Shop, Mario’s Restaurant and Delicatessen. And for that boatless fisherman, Charter Fishing Boats can be found here.
Surprisingly, in the center of the community down by the ocean, is a small non-tower landing strip, a nine hole golf course , and a campground. Overlooking the Pacific, cliffs and rocks are home to many sea lions and seals. The Mendocino lighthouse and tidepools offer exploring opportunities. Surfacing, migrating whales are easily spotted in spring and fall.
To the north is Black Sands Beach, where the waves have created a coastline consisting entirely of smooth black rocks and sand. The Lost Coast Trail follows this coastline north for 28 miles to Honeydew. Walking along this majestic beach, you encounter many streams gurgling down into the surf from the hills above.
The Sinkyone Indians inhabited this coastal region for thousands of years before the Europeans arrived. Spanish and Russian explorers stopped in the area looking for seal or sea otter furs. Sheep and cattle ranching was here at the cove during the beginning of the century. A wharf, now long gone, was built to load tan bark and off-load supplies.
At the end of the world war II, Highway 101 was constructed inland and the settlements along the coast were essentially abandoned, which lead to the term “Lost Coast”. The three Machi brothers, who previously worked in the area as loggers , returned and established a community and promoted tourism and fishing. Eventually development projects created the large infrastructure of roads, water, sewer and fire protection.
Today Shelter Cove is a community of fishermen, builders, vacationers and retirees. The pace here remains slow and relaxed.