Sick of those stupid leash-laws for your pooch? Head down south to Dog Beach where the first off-leash dog beach in California makes its home. Play fetch, or just enjoy the furry critters that others brought for your entertainment. If you do bring your dog, however, be sure to bring some potty-bags because you don’t want to be “that person” who fails to clean up.
North of Mendocino is Glass Beach, which was named such thanks to inconsiderate littering by the locals over decades. What happened? Sadly, locals would throw their glass bottles into the ocean and Mother Nature did as she does and with the utilization of erosion created beautiful jewels of glass that now bring savvy tourists and locals alike. Littering has subsided, thankfully, and now the state department requests that people not take these glass pebbles so to preserve the unique atmosphere for future visitors.
If you’re looking for a quiet getaway where you feel like you own the beach, keep looking. Hermosa Beach is for you extroverts out there looking to be a part of the beach scene. From SUP to rollerbladers to surfing there will be plenty of activity for you to partake in, or simply enjoy watching while sunbathing.
Los Angeles is home to a few world-class beaches, and you’d be remiss to lose the opportunity to check out Santa Monica Beach while in the area. The sand is soft, and the lifestyle is active with surfers, volleyball players, and swimmers enjoying this iconic location. Bring a picnic and plan on visiting Pacific Park for a ride on the ferris wheel overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Bring some burgers or chicken breast to cook for a lovely picnic with a view of the famous Golden Gate bridge at Baker Beach in San Francisco. This is not the place for swimming for the casual beach-goer as the under-toe can be overwhelming. Oh, and if you’re looking to get rid of those tan lines, head to the north side where your swimsuit is optional; enjoy!
Named after Michele (not true), is the gorgeous and barely accessible Pfeiffer Beach. This is one you don’t need a swimsuit for; no, not because it’s a nude beach, but because you should not go swimming here thanks to the many rocks and rough waters. With that said, come sit on the purple sand (yea, seriously), watch the waves, and check out the rock arch. It can be tricky to get to, so do your homework before going so you’re prepared to exit Highway 1 at the right time.
A trip to San Diego is never complete without a visit to Coronado Beach. In the shadow of the stunning Hotel Del Coronado the beach stretches for 1.5 miles of pristine white sand. The waves are fantastic for body surfing, but if you find yourself there in the colder months keep an eye out for grey whales and the massive blue whales as they pass by during their migration.
If you’re looking for skateboards and body builders then Venice Beach is calling your name. This beach draws attention for its culture much more than its beautiful ocean views. Grab a milkshake from a nearby soda shop and people-watch the afternoon away in a Beach Boys sort of way.
To get away from the crowds near the huge beaches of Los Angeles, travel south to Newport (just south of Newport, in fact) where you’ll find the protected Crystal Cove State Park. There is a reef with a plethora of marine life, and the opportunity to hike, horseback ride, and mountain bike. Thanks to a number of tide pools and secluded coves, you’ll be able to escape the SoCal sun by jumping into the Pacific for a quick cool-off.
While you’re driving that bucket list route of the Pacific Coast Highway you just have to turn the engine off a few times to spend a few more minutes (hours) enjoying the scenery. There may be no better place to do so than Sand Dollar Beach which is difficult to find the pull off for, let alone walking an additional half-mile after parking to get to the picturesque beach. It’s worth it, though, as few travelers take the time to do this and you’ll largely have the beach to yourself.
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