Bonny Doon, California

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For the winery, see Bonny Doon Vineyard.
Bonny Doon
census-designated place
Bonny Doon is located in California
Bonny Doon
Bonny Doon
Position in California.
Coordinates: 37°02′37″N 122°08′13″W / 37.04361°N 122.13694°W / 37.04361; -122.13694Coordinates: 37°02′37″N 122°08′13″W / 37.04361°N 122.13694°W / 37.04361; -122.13694
Country  United States
State  California
County Santa Cruz
 • Total 16.688 sq mi (43.223 km2)
 • Land 16.688 sq mi (43.223 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)  0%
Elevation[2] 1,476 ft (450 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 2,678
 • Density 160/sq mi (62/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
GNIS feature ID 2582948
U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Bonny Doon, California

Bonny Doon is a census-designated place in Santa Cruz County, California.[2] Bonny Doon sits at an elevation of 1,476 feet (450 m).[2] The 2010 United States census reported Bonny Doon's population was 2,678.

Bonny Doon is situated northwest of Santa Cruz in the southern Bay Area. It was founded in the 1850s as a logging camp. John Burns, a Scotsman living in Santa Cruz, named Bonny Doon after a line in Robert Burns song, "The Banks O' Doon" ("Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon...") referring back to the Doon River in Scotland. The name can be attested back to 1902.[3]

Bonny Doon has no "city center" or shops, but features several wineries, a church, two fire stations, a lavender farm, Bonny Doon Elementary School, and a private-use airport. A beach of the same name is nearby. Evidence of 2,600 years of occupation by Native Americans has been found in the area.[citation needed]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP covers an area of 16.7 square miles (43.2 km²), all of it land.


The area is on a slope with higher elevations in redwood forest, maritime chaparral, and lower elevations descending toward the coastal zone, which is occupied by grasslands. There are ocean views from parts of the area on days when fog is not present. The University of California, Santa Cruz is a short drive down Empire Grade, and Bonny Doon is popular with residents both who work there and those who work from home and telecommute in various genres of computing. Even though it is an outlying area, DSL and Cable Modem and television service are available; mobile phone service, however, is very limited due to the mountainous terrain and many trees.


On June 11, 2008, at 2:54 p.m. a fire broke out at the Bonny Doon Ecological Reserve, a popular hiking spot located on Martin Road in Bonny Doon. The Martin Fire, as it was named, burned 520 acres (2.1 km2) and destroyed three residences and eight outbuildings. About 1,500 residents of the Bonny Doon area were evacuated as a result of the fire. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency for Santa Cruz County. The blaze cost over US$5.4 million to contain and led off a busy summer of wildfires in California.[4]

A little more than one year later, on August 12, 2009 at 7:16 pm a second fire started in the Bonny Doon area, near the Lockheed facility off Empire Grade. The Lockheed fire burned 7,817 acres (31.63 km2), and destroyed 13 outbuildings. More than 2,000 residents had been evacuated as the blaze spread from Swanton south toward Bonny Doon. The blaze cost over $26.6 million and took nearly 2 weeks to be fully contained. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.[5]

Notable sites[edit]

Robert A. Heinlein, noted science fiction author, and his wife Virginia, resided here from 1965 until just before his death in 1988, in a house they designed and built themselves.[6]

The road to Bonny Doon from State Route 1 crosses an enclosed, unmarked conveyor belt, which carried limestone from a quarry three miles (5 km) east, to the Cemex cement plant at Davenport. This plant supplied cement for later stages of the Panama Canal and other large projects since its founding in 1906, but is now closed.

Bonny Doon Village Airport
Aerial view of Bonny Doon beach

Murder of Jasmine Fiore[edit]

Bonny Doon was briefly in the spotlight in 2009 when model Jasmine Fiore was murdered. Jasmine grew up in Bonny Doon and attended the local elementary, where she was known as Jasmine Lepore.

Murder of Maureen Minton[edit]

In the mid-seventies, Ron Huffman and Maureen Minton, alleged Marijuana growers, carried out a number of New World Liberation Front bombings. On September 23, 1979, Huffman murdered Minton with an axe. He fled his home in Bonny Doon with $32,000 in cash, bags of marijuana and part of Minton's brain. Police caught up with him in Pacifica and he was arrested.


The 2010 United States Census[7] reported that Bonny Doon had a population of 2,678. The population density was 160.5 people per square mile (62.0/km²). The racial makeup of Bonny Doon was 2,474 (92.4%) White, 9 (0.3%) African American, 15 (0.6%) Native American, 51 (1.9%) Asian, 5 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 48 (1.8%) from other races, and 76 (2.8%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 168 persons (6.3%).

The Census reported that 99.0% of the population lived in households and 1.0% lived in non-institutionalized group quarters.

There were 1,088 households, out of which 268 (24.6%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 579 (53.2%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 59 (5.4%) had a female householder with no husband present, 49 (4.5%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 76 (7.0%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 17 (1.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 264 households (24.3%) were made up of individuals and 79 (7.3%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44. There were 687 families (63.1% of all households); the average family size was 2.77.

The population was spread out with 447 people (16.7%) under the age of 18, 210 people (7.8%) aged 18 to 24, 579 people (21.6%) aged 25 to 44, 1,082 people (40.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 360 people (13.4%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47.5 years. For every 100 females there were 110.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 112.9 males.

There were 1,218 housing units at an average density of 73.0 per square mile (28.2/km²), of which 73.3% were owner-occupied and 26.7% were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.2%; the rental vacancy rate was 4.9%. 75.7% of the population lived in owner-occupied housing units and 23.3% lived in rental housing units.


  1. ^ U.S. Census
  2. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Bonny Doon, California
  3. ^ Gudde, Erwin G. (1998). California place names : the origin and etymology of current geographical names (4th ed., rev. and enl. ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 42. ISBN 0520213165. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ The Heinleins' unique circular house can be seen on Google Maps on the east side of Bonny Doon Road, just south of where Shake Mill Road dead-ends into Bonny Doon Road from the west.
  7. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Bonny Doon CDP". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 

External links[edit]