logo
  Facebook Twitter Flickr blog RSS

Central Coast Beaches

Central Coast Beaches Overview

Central Coast

Beaches on the Central Coast include the popular choices like Santa Cruz Main Beach, Avila, Pismo and West Beach in Santa Barbara to the more obscure Pleasure Point, Sand Dollar and Jalama. Find fun beaches with all the amenities like restrooms, showers, cafés and camping or the more obscure, difficult to find beaches where no one else will be. Whether you're looking for the best beach, dog beach, surf spot or nude beach, you'll find it here. We've listed all the best beaches from Santa Cruz to Oxnard.

NOTE: Visit the Heal the Bay website for details on water cleanliness... especially in urban regions.

TIDE CHARTS for exploring beaches with tide pools

Santa Cruz

Año Nuevo State Park is located off Highway 1 approximately 10 miles north of Davenport. Año Nuevo State Park is a nature preserve with bluff trails and a two large sandy beaches. Cove Beach is a black sandy beach situated at Año Nuevo Point. A large white sandy beach is located closer to the main parking lot. Restrooms available.

Cove Beach
Año Nuevo State Park
New Years Creek Road
Pescadero, CA 94060
(650) 879-2025

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Waddell Beach is located off Highway 1 approximately 7 miles north of Davenport. Waddell features a large sandy beach at the mouth of Waddell Creek. Restrooms available.

Waddell Beach
Highway 1
Davenport, CA 95017

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Greyhound Beach is located off Highway 1 approximately 6 miles north of Davenport. Situated in Greyhound Rock County Park, Greyhound offers a huge sandy beach, tide pools and a picturesque rock formation in the ocean. Restrooms available in the parking lot.

Greyhound Rock County Park
Highway 1
Davenport, CA 95017

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Scott Creek Beach is located off Highway 1 approximately 2.5 miles north of Davenport. Scott Creek features a large sandy beach at the mouth of Scott Creek. Parking available along Highway 1. No facilities.

Scott Creek Beach
Highway 1
Davenport, CA 95017

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Davenport Landing is located off Highway 1 from Davenport Landing Road, approximately 1 mile north of Davenport. Tucked into a small cove, Davenport Landing offers a small sandy beach with rocky headlands at either end. An abalone farm is situated at the southern end of the cove. Park along Davenport Landing Road. Restrooms available.

Davenport Landing
Davenport Landing Road
Davenport, CA 95017

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Davenport Beach is located off Highway 1 across from Ocean Street in Davenport. Several trails cross the bluffs and train tracks to two small coves with sandy beaches. Park in lot off Highway 1. No facilities.

Davenport Beach
Highway 1 & Ocean Street
Davenport, CA 95017

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Davenport Cove is located off Highway 1 about a half-mile south of Davenport. Park in the dirt lot north of Bonny Doon Road and follow the trail to Davenport Cove where there is small secluded cove, sandy beach and large sea cave. No facilities.

WARNING: Davenport Cove is a clothing optional nude beach.

Davenport Cove
Highway 1 & Ocean Street
Davenport, CA 95017

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Coast Dairies State Park is located off Highway 1 at the end of Bonny Doon Road, approximately 2 miles south of Davenport. Coast Dairies features 2 miles of coastal access from Bonny Doon Road to Back Ranch Road. Park in lots off Highway 1 and follow trails across bluffs over train tracks and through farmland to several small coves with sandy beaches. Rocky headlands form arches at some beaches and are picturesque throughout. Beaches include Panther, Hole in the Wall, Boony Doon and Laguna Creek. The most popular and easily accessible beach is at the end of Bonny Doon Road. Other access points are located across from Fambrini's Produce Stand, Laguna Road and Coast Road.

WARNING: Some of these beaches have portions that are clothing optional nude beaches.

Coast Dairies State Park
Highway 1 & Bonny Doon Road
Davenport, CA 95017
(831) 429-1840

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas

  • Bonny Doon features a large sandy beach tucked into a wind protected cove. The north end has a small cove that can be clothing optional. Park in lot off Highway 1 across from Bonny Doon Road and follow the trail at the north end of the lot over the dunes. No facilities.
    Map

  • Panther features a small sandy cove with picturesque rock formations, natural bridges and caves. A large cave at the south end passes through to Hole in the Wall during low tide. Park in lot off Highway 1 less than a one mile south of Bonny Doon Road. Follow the trail at the north end of the lot over the dunes. No facilities.
    Map

  • Hole In The Wall is accessed by passing through a cave at the south end of Panther Beach at low tide. Hole in the Wall features a long sandy beach back by coastal bluffs. Precaution should be taken to know the tide schedule before visiting. No facilities.
    Map

  • Laguna Creek features a large sandy beach and lagoon at the mouth of Laguna Creek. The north end has a small cove that can be clothing optional. Park in lot off Highway 1 at Laguna Road junction and cross back over highway to the trailhead. Restroom available.
    Map


Wilder Ranch State Park is located off Highway 1 approximately one mile northwest of Santa Cruz city limit. Wilder Ranch features historic ranch buildings and 2½ miles of coastal access via 34 miles of trails. All beaches are accessible from a coastal trail that weaves through farmland and parallels the bluff. Steep trails descend the bluffs to several small coves with sandy beaches. Rocky outcroppings make these very picturesque beaches. There are no facilities at any of these beaches which include 4-mile, 3-mile, Strawberry, Sand Plant, Fern Grotto and Wilder. Restrooms are available at the state park visitor center.

Wilder Ranch State Park
1401 Coast Road
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 423-9703

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas

  • 4-Mile features a small sandy beach cove. Park in dirt lot off Highway 1 and follow the dirt trail over the railroad tracks. Three-Mile Beach is backed by an estuary where Baldwin Creek meets the ocean. This is a popular surf spot that breaks with good rights or lefts depending on the direction of swell. No facilities.
    Map

  • 3-Mile features a small sandy beach cove backed by estuary. Park in tiny dirt lot on the ocean side of Highway 1, across from 3050 Coast Road. Follow the dirt trail over the railroad tracks to 3-Mile Beach. No facilities.
    Map

  • Strawberry features a tiny beach cove backed by estuary. Park in tiny dirt lot on the ocean side of Highway 1, across from 3050 Coast Road. Strawberry Beach is the most secluded of the Wilder Ranch beaches. Follow the dirt trail to the railroad tracks and head southeast to the next trail that heads to the ocean. No facilities.
    Map

  • Sand Plant features a tiny beach cove backed by estuary. Farther up the creek across the highway is a gravel & sand plant. Park in the main parking lot at Wilder Ranch State Park. Head north from the parking lot and cross the railroad tracks following the dirt road between the farmland and estuary. Restrooms available at parking lot.
    Map

  • Fern Grotto features a tiny beach cove backed farmland and steep cliffs. The highlight of Fern Grotto is a large sea cave that's covered with lush ferns. Visit at low tide for access to the sea cave. Park in the main parking lot at Wilder Ranch State Park. Head south from the parking lot and cross the railroad tracks. Stay on the trail past Wilder Beach and parallel the bluffs back west. Pass several inaccessible coves to where the trailheads north and hooks back south around Old Landing Cove where Fern Grotto is located. Restrooms available at parking lot.
    Map

  • Wilder features a large sandy beach backed estuary at the mouth of Wilder Creek. Park in the main parking lot at Wilder Ranch State Park. Head south from the parking lot and cross the railroad tracks. Wilder Beach will be to the south of the trail. Restrooms available at parking lot.
    Map


Natural Bridges State Beach is located just west of Santa Cruz. The park features huge rock formation arches that rise from the ocean. A very large sandy beach, tide pools and coastal meadows are other natural features. Park amenities include picnic areas, restrooms, barbecues and a visitor center. From mid-October through February, over 100,000 Monarch butterflies make their home in the Monarch butterfly preserve that is located in the park.

TIP: Want to try surfing? Go to a pier where there are lifeguards or try a surf school like Santa Cruz Surf School.

Natural Bridges State Beach
Swanton Blvd. & W. Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 423-4609

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


2222 Beach is located off Highway 1 from Swift Street. Situated along Cliff Drive, 2222 is a tiny cove with a small sandy beach. Watch for small parking area off Cliff Drive across from 2222 W. Cliff Drive. No facilities.

WARNING: 2222 is a clothing optional nude beach.

2222 Beach
2222 W. Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Mitchell's Cove is located off Highway 1 from Almar Avenue. Situated along Cliff Drive, Mitchell's Cove is a small cove with a sandy beach. Parking lot available with stairs at the west end that access the sand below the bluffs. No facilities.

Mitchell's Cove
Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Its Beach is located off Cliff Drive near Downtown Santa Cruz. Situated just west of Lighthouse Park, Its is a dog-friendly beach. Several parking lots available all along Cliff Drive. Descend a staircase to access the sand. No facilities.

Its Beach
Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Steamer Lane

Steamer Lane is located off Cliff Drive near Downtown Santa Cruz. Situated just east of Lighthouse Park, Steamer Lane is a notorious surf spot. Some of the best waves in California roll through Steamer Lane as endless rights around the Lighthouse Point. Surfers must descend a staircase and traverse a boulder field or jump from the bluff to enter the surf. Steamer Lane was the origin of the surfing wetsuit invented by Jack O'Neill, a Santa Cruz resident. No facilities.

Steamer Lane
Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Cowells Beach

Cowells Beach is located off Highway 1 from Bay Street. Situated to the west of the Santa Cruz Wharf, Cowells is enjoyed by surfers, tourists and local sunbathers. A small white sandy beach is backed by bluffs and the popular Dream Inn. Cowells is known for producing perfect waves for surfing. Restrooms available. Parking lots available near the intersection of Front Street, 2nd Street and Pacific Avenue.

Cowells Beach
Beach Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Main Beach

Santa Cruz Main Beach is located off Highway 1 from Bay Street. Situated to the east of the Santa Cruz Wharf, Main is a huge white sandy beach that has volleyball courts, restaurants, restrooms, equipment rental and a boardwalk. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk features roller coasters, arcade games, eateries and more.

Santa Cruz Main Beach
Beach Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Seabright Beach is located at the end of Seabright Avenue in East Santa Cruz. Seabright is a large sandy beach bordered by the San Lorenzo River and the Santa Cruz Harbor. Parking available off Cliff Drive and throughout the residential neighborhood. Several access points range from dirt trails to stairs. The east end has a harbor break wall with path leading to a lighthouse. Restrooms available.

Seabright Beach
Searbright Avenue and Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Twin Lakes State Beach is located at the end of 7th Avenue. Twin Lakes features a large sandy beach, volleyball courts, boat rentals, restaurants and restrooms. Parking available along Cliff Drive and throughout the residential neighborhood.

Twin Lakes State Beach
7th Avenue and E. Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 427-4868

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Sunny Cove Beach is located at the end of Johans Beach Drive in East Santa Cruz. Sunny Cove is a tiny sandy beach that's sandwiched by residential homes. Parking is limited throughout the neighborhood. No facilities.

Sunny Cove Beach
Johans Beach Drive and E. Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Twenty-first Avenue Beach is located at the end of 21st Avenue in East Santa Cruz. Twenty-first Avenue is a small sandy beach backed by a residential neighborhood and an estuary lagoon. Parking is limited throughout the neighborhood. No facilities.

Twenty-first Avenue County Beach
21st Avenue and E. Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Twenty-sixth Avenue Beach is located at the end of 26th Avenue in East Santa Cruz. Twenty-sixth Avenue is a small narrow beach backed by a residential neighborhood. Parking is limited throughout the neighborhood. Access via stairs over boulder break wall. No facilities.

Twenty-sixth Avenue County Beach
26th Avenue and E. Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Moran Beach is located off E. Cliff Drive in East Santa Cruz. Moran is a small sandy beach backed by a residential neighborhood and small lake. Parking lot is available at Moran Lake. No facilities.

Moran Beach
E. Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Pleasure Point Beach is located between 33rd and 36th Avenues off E. Cliff Drive in East Santa Cruz. Known locally as 'The Hook', Pleasure Point is primarily a surf spot that consistently delivers perfect rights that rip around Pleasure Point. Parking available along E. Cliff Drive and in the surrounding neighborhood. No facilities.

Pleasure Point Beach
E. Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Thirty-eighth Avenue Beach is located at the end of 38th Avenue off E. Cliff Drive in East Santa Cruz. Thirty-eighth Avenue is a narrow sandy beach that's backed by bluffs and a little larger towards the east end. Access via stairs off E. Cliff Drive. No facilities.

Thirtyeighth Avenue Beach
38th Avenue and E. Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Capitola Beach is located off Highway 1 from Wharf Road. Capitola is a large sandy beach that features a pier, restaurants, restrooms, volleyball courts and equipment rentals. Backed by the popular Capitola Village off Esplanade and picturesque Capitola Venetian Hotel. Parking is available near the Capitola Wharf or on Esplanade and surrounding streets. The Jetty at the east end is a popular surf spot.

Capitola Beach
Esplanade
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


New Brighton State Beach is located off PCH (highway 1 - Pacific Coast Highway) in Capitola. This park features picnic areas, swimming, fishing, camping and a nearby forest of Monterey pine and Coastal Live Oak. New Brighton features a huge sandy beach. Restrooms available.

New Brighton State Beach
1500 Park Avenue
Capitola, California 95010
(831) 464-6330

Map  |   Hotel  |   Camping  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Sea Cliff State Beach is located off PCH (highway 1 - Pacific Coast Highway) in Aptos. This park features a large sandy beach popular for swimming. A pier ends at a partially sunken, concrete ship that used to be a source of entertainment. On the ship was a dance floor, café, swimming pool and carnival concessions. Today, the ship is inaccessible but makes for good fishing off the pier. Camping is available for RV's only - no tents. Restrooms available.

Sea Cliff State Beach
201 State Park Drive
Aptos, California 95003
(831) 429-2850

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Monterey

Rio Del Mar Beach is located off Highway 1 from Rio Del Mar Boulevard. Rio Del Mar features a large sandy beach with restrooms, restaurants, bars and a nearby market. Parking lot available at the end of Rio Del Mar Boulevard and surrounding neighborhood.

Rio Del Mar Beach
Rio Del Mar Boulevard
Aptos, California 95003

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Manresa State Beach is located off PCH (highway 1 - Pacific Coast Highway) west of Watsonville. This park features picnic areas, camping, swimming, fishing and clamming. Manresa features a huge sandy beach with restrooms.

Manresa State Beach
Ellicott, California 95076
(831) 761-1795

Map  |   Hotel  |   Camping  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Sunset State Beach is located off PCH (highway 1 - Pacific Coast Highway) in Watsonville. This park features pine trees, sand dunes, camping and ocean-side picnicking. Bordered by large agricultural fields west of the city of Watsonville, this is a year-round destination for locals and tourists alike. Sunset features a huge sandy beach with restrooms.

Sunset State Beach
201 Sunset Beach Road
Watsonville, California 95076
(800) 444-7275

Map  |   Hotel  |   Camping  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Palm Beach is located off Highway 1 from Beach Road. Palm features a large sandy beach backed by sand dunes and farmland. Parking lot available at end of Beach Road. Restrooms available.

Palm Beach
Beach Road
Watsonville, CA 95076

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Zmudowski State Beach is located off Highway 1 from Struve Road. Zmudowski features a narrow sandy beach backed by sand dunes and farmland. Small parking area is available at the end of Giberson Road. Zmudowski is popular for beach combing and surf fishing. No facilities.

Zmudowski State Beach
Giberson Road
Watsonville, CA 95076
(831) 649-2836

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Moss Landing State Beach is located between Santa Cruz and Monterey. Access from both sides of harbor either from Jetty Road or Sandholdt Road Moss Landing offers long stretches of sandy beach and sand dunes. Activities include fishing, surfing, wind surfing and horseback riding. Kayak rentals, sightseeing tours, restaurants and more are available in Moss Landing Harbor.

Moss Landing State Beach
Watsonville, California 95076
(831) 649-2836

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Potrero Beach is located off Highway 1 from Potrero Road. Potrero features a large sandy beach backed by sand dunes and farmland. Parking lot available at end of Potrero Road. No facilities.

Potrero Beach
Portrero Road
Moss Landing, CA 95039

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Salinas River State Beach is located off Highway 1 from Molera Road. Wide sandy beach backed by sand dunes, farmlands and estuary. From parking lot, follow trails over the dunes to ocean. Activities include swimming, hiking, fishing, bird watching and horseback riding. No facilities.

Salinas River State Beach
Castroville, CA 95012
(831) 649-2836

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Marina State Beach is located off Highway 1 from Reservation Road. Marina features a large sandy beach backed by sand dunes. Parking lot and restrooms available at the end of Reservation Road.

Marina State Beach
Reservation Road
Marina, CA 93933
(831) 649-2836

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Fort Ord Dunes State Park is located off Highway 1 from Lightfighter Drive. It's a little tricky to find. From Lightfighter head east and make left on 2nd Street. Make immediate left on Divarty Street and then immediate right on 1st Avenue. Watch for directional signs through former military housing neighborhood. Follow 1st Avenue to 5th Avenue and veer left. Make a right at the end. Follow to 8th Street and make a left. Follow 8th Street back over the highway to the ocean. Fort Ord features a large sandy beach backed by sand dunes. Scenic boardwalk and hiking trails cover the dunes. Parking lot and restrooms available at the end of 8th Street.

Fort Ord Dunes State Park
8th Street
Marina, CA 93933
(831) 649-2836

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Monterey Sand Dunes is located north of Monterey are miles of sand dunes with several access points to the dunes and hidden beaches. Access points include the intersection of Playa Avenue at Metz Road and Tioga Avenue at West Bay Street. The Monterey Bay Coastal Trail connects Monterey Dunes with other beaches all the way to Pacific Grove. No facilities.

Monterey Sand Dunes
Sand Dunes Drive
Monterey, California 93940

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Monterey State Beach is located off Highway 1 from the Seaside Del Rey Oaks exit. The park is split into 3 sections and includes a long sandy beach, sand dunes and an underwater preserve. Activities include swimming, fishing, hiking and kayaking. The Monterey Bay Coastal Trail connects Monterey State Beach with Pacific Grove and Seaside. Check out our Cool Towns page for more details on Monterey.

Monterey State Beach
Canyon Del Rey Boulevard
Monterey, California 93940
(831) 649-2836

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas

  • Seaside is located north of Monterey at the end of Canyon Del Rey Boulevard. Seaside is part of Monterey State Beach and features a large sandy beach. Park in the parking lot at the end of Canyon Del Rey Boulevard. No facilities.
    Map

  • Houghton M. Roberts is located north of Monterey at the end of Sand Dunes Drive. Houghton M. Roberts Beach is part of Monterey State Beach and features a large sandy beach. Park in the parking lot at the end of Sand Dunes Drive. No facilities.
    Map


Del Monte Beach is located off Highway 1 from Casa Verde Way. Del Monte features a large sandy beach backed by sand dunes and a residential neighborhood. Wooden boardwalks span the length of the dunes offering scenic lookout points. Stairs descend to the sand. Park along Tide Avenue where several access points lead to the ocean. The Monterey Bay Coastal Trail connects Del Monte with Pacific Grove and Seaside. No facilities.

Del Monte Beach
Tide Avenue
Monterey, California 93940

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Monterey Municipal Beach is located at the end of Camino El Estero just east of the Monterey Municipal Wharf. Monterey features a large sandy beach surrounded by a pier, businesses and Monterey Park. Activities include swimming, sunbathing, diving, snorkeling, picnicking, biking, volleyball and kayaking. Kayak rentals are available on the sand. The Monterey Bay Coastal Trail connects Monterey Beach with Pacific Grove and Seaside. Watch for the parking lot next to Monterey Bay Kayaks. Restrooms available.

Monterey Municipal Beach
Camino El Estero and Del Monte Avenue
Monterey, California 93940

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Fisherman's Shoreline Park is located off Lighthouse Avenue between Fisherman's Wharf and the Coast Guard Pier. The park features a turf area and rocky coastline with views of the harbor. The Monterey Bay Coastal Trail connects Fisherman's Shoreline Park with Pacific Grove and Seaside. No facilities.

Fisherman's Shoreline Park
Lighthouse Avenue
Monterey, California 93940

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


San Carlos Beach is located at the intersection of Reeside Avenue and Cannery Row. This coastline park features turf areas, walkways, benches, vista points and restrooms. This is a popular launch point for kayakers and divers. The Monterey Bay Coastal Trail connects San Carlos with Pacific Grove and Seaside.

San Carlos Beach
Reeside Avenue
Monterey, California 93940

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Monterey Coast

Monterey Bay Waterfront Parks are located along the rugged western shores of Monterey and Pacific Grove. Several parks from Andy Jacobsen to Hays Perkins are stretched along the entire Monterey coastline and accessible from Ocean View Boulevard. Included within these are Lover's Point and the Pacific Grove Marine Gardens Park. Walking trails connect all the parks along an almost 2-mile distance. View coastal gardens, tide pools, kelp forests and sea otters at play. Lover's Point is a popular surf spot when the conditions are right. The Monterey Bay Coastal Trail connects Lover's Point all the way to Seaside.

Monterey Bay Waterfront Parks
Ocean View Boulevard
Monterey, California 93940

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Boneyard is located at Ocean View Boulevard and Asilomar Avenue. Boneyard is a portion of the Pacific Grove Shoreline Parkway that is a popular surf spot. Due to the rocky underwater terrain, only experienced surfers should surf here. There are several turnouts off Sunset Drive that offer picturesque scenery, tide pools, small beaches and picnic grounds. No facilities.

Boneyard
Sunset Drive and Asilomar Avenue
Pacific Grove, CA 93950

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Asilomar State Beach is located off Sunset Drive between Pacific Grove and Carmel. Asilomar features a large white sandy beach and several rocky coves. A walking trail connects Asilomar with all of the small coves. Tide pools are abundant. Park along Sunset Drive. No facilities.

Asilomar State Beach
804 Crocker Avenue
Pacific Grove, CA 93950
(831) 646-6440

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Carmel

17-Mile Drive is located between Pacific Grove and Carmel. This scenic drive follows a picturesque coastline with parking and markers at unique or especially photographic points. Pass through neighborhoods of palatial mansions and alongside some of the most sought after golf courses in the world. The 'Lone Cypress' is one of the most photographed trees in the world and can be found along this stretch. Stop at one of many picnic areas conveniently situated on bluffs above wide sandy beaches. Take your time and make a day out of it by watching otters play in the kelp or trying to spot whale spouts as they migrate between Mexico and Alaska. Fee required for access to 17-Mile Drive.

17-Mile Drive
Carmel, California 93921

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas

  • Spanish Bay is the northernmost beach along 17-Mile Drive. Spanish Bay features a large white sandy beach backed by a golf course. A bluff trail connects Spanish Bay with Asilomar and more coastline along 17-Mile Drive. Park in the parking lot off Spanish Bay Road. No facilities.
    Map

  • Mole Point is a popular surf spot along 17-Mile Drive. Due to the rocky underwater terrain, only experienced surfers should surf here. No facilities.
    Map

  • Bird Rock is located along 17-Mile Drive. Bird Rock features breathtaking coastal scenery, tide pools and several small coves. Park in parking lot on Bird Rock Road. Restrooms available.
    Map

  • Cypress Point is located along 17-Mile Drive. Cypress Point features a tiny white sandy beach and rocky shore. No facilities.
    Map

  • Sunset Point is located along 17-Mile Drive. Sunset Point features panoramic views down the coast. Below the point is a small white sandy beach that is sometimes crowded with sea lions. Park in the parking lot off Sunset Point Road. No facilities.
    Map


Carmel City Beach

Carmel Beach is located at the end of Ocean Avenue in Carmel. It offers a large sandy beach backed by native cypress trees and million-dollar homes. Scenic Road follows the shoreline and ends to the south at Carmel River State Beach. Dogs and fires are allowed on the southern portion of the city beach. Activities include nature walks, surfing, kite flying, picnicking and sunbathing. No facilities. Contact South Bay Surf Riders for surfboard & wetsuit rentals and lessons.

Carmel Beach
Ocean Avenue and Scenic Road
Carmel, California 93923

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Carmel River State Beach

Carmel River State Beach is located south of Carmel off Highway 1. Carmel River State Beach consists of several beaches that can be accessed from Highway 1 and Scenic Road in Carmel. These beaches are usually some of the least crowded in the region. The Carmel River forms a large estuary behind the beach. Restrooms available at San Jose Creek off Scenic Road.

Carmel River State Beach
Carmel, California 93923
(831) 649-2836

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas

  • San Jose Creek is accessible from Scenic Drive on the southern end of Carmel. San Jose Creek features a large white sandy beach backed by estuary and flanked by rocky bluffs and San Jose Creek. Restrooms available at parking lot.
    Map

  • Monastery is accessible from Highway 1. Monastery is a large sandy beach with coastal bluffs to the north and Point Lobos State Park to the south. Trails on the bluffs at the north end lead to another secluded beach back by bluffs. Park in turnouts off Highway 1. No facilities.
    Map


Point Lobos State Park is located south of Carmel off Highway 1. Half of this park is underwater and favored by scuba divers and snorkelers. The other half includes picnic areas, hiking and jogging trails on rocky picturesque headlands. The main attractions are Whalers Cove, Bluefish Cove and an old abalone fishing village. Activities include hiking, fishing, picnicking and sightseeing. Two small sandy beaches are accessible by trail at the southernmost portion of the park near China Cove. Restrooms available at several parking areas throughout the park. Boat launch ramp is located at Bluefish Cove.

Point Lobos State Park
Highway 1
Carmel, CA 93923
(831) 624-4909

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Big Sur

Garrapata State Park is located off Highway 1 approximately 10 miles south of Carmel. Garrapata State Park features hiking trails over coastal bluffs, canyons and redwood groves. Several trails lead to multiple small secluded sandy beaches with challenging access. Park in turnouts along Highway 1. No facilities.

Garrapata State Park
Highway 1
Carmel, CA 93923
(831) 624-4909

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Doud Creek Beach is located off Highway 1 approximately 12 miles south of Carmel. Trail crosses bluff where a staircase descends to a large sandy beach. No facilities.

Doud Creek Beach
Big Sur, CA 93920

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Point Sur Beach is located off Highway 1 just north of the Point Sur Lighthouse. Access is only obtained on days when the lighthouse is open for tours. Access by parking along the lighthouse road before reaching the lighthouse and heading north over sand dune. No facilities.

Point Sur Beach
Big Sur, CA 93920

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Andrew Molera State Park is located off Highway 1 in Big Sur. Popular activities at Andrew Molera State Park include camping, hiking, horseback riding, fishing and beach combing. The Big Sur River runs through the park where seasonal bridges are installed during the wet season. A primitive walk-in campground offers 24 campsites in this relatively undeveloped park. A long narrow trail leads to a hidden beach at the mouth of the Big Sur River. Restrooms available at the parking lot. The stables at Andrew Molera allow for horseback riding on the beach.

Andrew Molera State Park
47555 Highway 1
Big Sur, California 93920
(831) 667-2315

Map  |   Hotel  |   Camping  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Pfeiffer Beach is located off Highway 1 just south of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Heading south on Highway 1, make second right after Big Sur Station. Access by driving more than two miles on Sycamore Canyon Road to the end and walking a short trail to the ocean. Small sandy cove with picturesque rock outcroppings. Restrooms available at parking lot.

Pfeiffer Beach
47225 Highway 1
Big Sur, CA 93920
(831) 667-2315

Map  |   Hotel  |   Camping  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Partington Cove is located off Highway 1 approximately 2 miles north of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Park off Highway 1 at the hairpin turn and follow the trail to the ocean. Two small rocky coves with headlands and picturesque rock outcroppings. No facilities.

Partington Cove
Big Sur, CA 93920

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


McWay Fall, Big Sur - photo courtesy of Lindsay Thompson

McWay Falls is located off Highway 1 at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Park in the state park parking lot and follow the trail to Big Sur's most photographed spot. No ocean access but the 60-foot waterfall descending onto the white sandy beach is a must see. Restrooms available at the parking lot.

McWay Falls
Big Sur, CA 93920

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Limekiln State Park is located off Highway 1. Enter the state park and turn back to go under the bridge. Small beach with mixed rock and sand. Restrooms available.

Limekiln State Park
Big Sur, CA 93920

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Mill Creek Beach is located off Highway 1. Watch for 'Mill Creek Picnic Ground' sign on side of highway. Turn off and follow to a rocky cove. Restrooms and picnic tables available.

Mill Creek Beach
Big Sur, CA 93920

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Sand Dollar Beach is located off Highway 1 south of Limekiln State Park in Plaskett. Watch for 'Sand Dollar Picnic Area and Beach' sign on side of highway. Turn off and park in parking lot. Follow dirt trail down to a large white sandy beach. Restrooms and picnic tables available.

Sand Dollar Beach
Big Sur, CA 93920

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Willow Creek Beach is located off Highway 1. Watch for 'Willow Creek Picnic Ground' sign on side of highway. Turn off and follow back under highway to a rocky cove. Restrooms and picnic tables available.

Willow Creek Beach
Big Sur, CA 93920

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


San Simeon

Piedras Blancas Beach is located off Highway 1 just north of the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse. Watch for parking and pedestrian pass-through in fence. Follow trail across bluff and down to a large sandy beach. No facilities.

Piedras Blancas Beach
San Simeon, California 93452

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Elephant Seal Rookery

The Elephant Seal Rookery is located off Highway 1 between San Simeon and Piedras Blancas. This large beach has been overtaken by elephant seals. Visitors are invited to view wild elephant seals from the parking lot and bluff above. Docents are usually on hand for providing details and answering questions about these massive pinnepeds. No facilities.

Elephant Seal Rookery
Highway 1
San Simeon, California 93452

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


William R. Hearst pier and beach

William R. Hearst State Beach is located near the entrance of Hearst Castle. This is a classic, Northern California, picturesque coast of sandy beach dotted with rocky outcroppings. There is a pier that provides opportunities for deep-sea fishing from charter boats. Activities include swimming, fishing, kayaking, sunbathing and picnicking with bar-b-que grills provided. A concession stand rents equipment like bodyboards and kayaks.

William R. Hearst State Beach
750 Hearst Castle Road
San Simeon, California 93452
(805) 927-2020

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Pico Creek Beach is located on the north end of town in San Simeon. Pico Creek features a large sandy beach that's a popular surf spot. Access is at the end of Pico Avenue from Highway 1. No facilities.

Pico Creek Beach
Pico Avenue
San Simeon, California 93452

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


San Simeon State Beach is located south of San Simeon and offers a long sandy beach below coastal bluffs. Trails along the bluffs offer expansive coastal views and viewing benches are placed at key locations. Several campgrounds are within convenient proximity.

San Simeon State Beach
Van Gordon Creek Road & San Simeon Creek Road
Cambria, California 93428
(805) 927-2020

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Moonstone Beach, Cambria

Moonstone Beach is located along Moonstone Drive off Highway 1, in Cambria. Moonstone is popular for surfing, kayaking, and sightseeing. Boardwalks span the bluffs above the sand for nearly a mile. At the northern end is a park offering picnic facilities among the shade of Cypress trees. The southern portion ends at a large sandy beach that's usually covered with driftwood. Hotels, Inns, art galleries and restaurants line Moonstone Drive making it a popular destination.

Moonstone Beach
Moonstone Drive
Cambria, California 93428

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Morro Bay

Cayucos Beach is located north of Morro Bay on Highway 1. Cayucos is known for its great surf and features a large sandy beach with a playground and public facilities. The Cayucos Pier is popular for fishing.

Cayucos State Beach
Cayucos, California 93430

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Morro Strand

Morro Strand State Beach is located north of Morro Bay off Highway 1 from Yerba Buena Street. Morro Strand is a three mile stretch of wide, sandy beach that's popular for fishing, windsurfing, jogging, and kite flying. Morro Strand offers Outstanding views of Morro Rock.

Morro Strand State Beach
Morro Bay, California 93442
(805) 772-2560

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Morro Bay State Beach

Morro Bay State Beach is located off Highway 1 at Morro Bay. The park encompasses Morro Bay and features Morro Rock, an estuary, sandy beaches and more. The bay's most prominent landmark is Morro Rock. The north side of Morro Rock is a popular surf spot. Activities include camping, sailing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing and more. An on-site museum has exhibits of cultural history, Native American life, geology, and oceanography. The park also has a marina and an 18-hole public golf course. South of the park is an estuary that's popular for bird watching.

Morro Bay State Beach
Morro Bay State Park Road
Morro Bay, California 93442
(805) 772-2560

Map  |   Hotel  |   Camping  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Sandspit Beach

Sandspit Beach is located south of Morro Bay on Pecho Valley Road. Turn off Pecho Valley Road on Sandspit Road and follow to parking lot. A narrow trail descends a sand dune to a huge sandy beach. Watch for other access trails off Sandspit Road like Rim Trail, American Canyon Trail, Cable Trail and Hazard Reef Trail. Cable Trail leads to 'Cable Landing' a popular surf spot.

Sandspit Beach
Sandspit Road
Los Osos, CA 93402

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Spooner's Cove

Montaña de Oro State Park is located off Highway 101 just south of Morro Bay. Views of Morro Bay and the coastline are spectacular from many of the hiking trails. The beautiful Spooner's Cove is easily accessible and located halfway into the park, adjacent to the campground. Several hiking trails lead to large coves and sandy beaches. Activities include primitive camping, hiking, surfing, horseback riding, swimming and picnicking. Sea caves are located in the southern portion of the park and accessible by kayak from Spooner's Cove.

Montaña de Oro State Park
Pecho Valley Road
Los Osos, California 93402
(805)528-0513 or (805)772-7434

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


San Luis Obispo

Avila Beach

Avila Beach is located just south of San Luis Obispo off Highway 1. A large sandy beach covers a small portion of the crescent shaped San Luis Obispo Bay and is split by Avila Pier. Two smaller beaches are situated to the north on the way to Harford Pier. This quaint community was literally destroyed by an oil spill in 1998 but has been completely rebuilt. Biking & hiking trails, golf courses, tide pools and natural hot springs are local attractions. This quaint community offers resorts, hotels, shops and restaurants.

Avila Beach
Avila Beach, California 93424

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas

  • Fisherman's is located just south of Harford Pier. It is the smallest of the three beaches and a popular dog beach. No facilities.
    Map

  • Olde Port is located between Avila and Fisherman's and offers bonfire pits and a small boat launch ramp. It is popular for summer evening bonfire parties. No Facilities.
    Map

  • Avila Main is situated directly in front of the town and boardwalk. It's a huge sandy beach that's split down the middle by Avila Pier. Avila Beach features playgrounds, picnic tables, volleyball courts and restrooms. Beach equipment is available for rent at 'The Barn' in the waterfront shops. The Avila Pier features two fresh fish markets, a fish cleaning station and Zippy's market with fishing tackle rental, snacks and refreshments.
    Map


Pirate's Cove is located south of Avila Beach off Cave Landing Road. From Avila Beach Road turn onto Cave Landing Road and head up the steep hillside road and follow to the end and a large parking area. Bluff-top trails branch out across the bluffs to Pirate's Cove and several sea caves. Some sea caves are accessible while others are only viewable from the bluff or by kayak. Follow the trail south to Pirate's Cove, a local clothing optional nude beach. Pirate's Cove features a large sandy beach backed by tall coastal bluffs. No facilities.

Pirate's Cove
Cave Landing Road
Avila Beach, California 93424

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Shell Beach is located between Avila and Pismo Beach off Highway 101. Several access points off Shell Beach Road lead to hidden beaches accessible by staircase.

Shell Beach
Ocean Boulevard
Pismo Beach, CA 93449

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas

  • Palisades is located between Avila and Pismo Beach off Shell Beach Road. Turn onto Beachcomber Drive and park at the end. Take the staircase down to a large sandy beach with tide pools back by coastal bluffs. Palisades Park is on the bluff and offers picnic tables with astounding panoramic views of this picturesque section of Central Coast and beyond to San Luis Obispo Bay and the Channel Islands. No facilities.
    Map

  • Eldwayen is located north of Pismo Beach off Shell Beach Road. Turn onto Morro Avenue and park along Ocean Boulevard. Take the staircase down to a small cove with a mixed rock and sandy beach with tide pools. A bluff-top park offers picnic tables with astounding panoramic views of this picturesque section of Central Coast and beyond to San Luis Obispo Bay, Pismo Beach and the Channel Islands. No facilities.
    Map

  • Margo Dodd is located north of Pismo Beach off Shell Beach Road. Turn onto Pier Avenue and park along Ocean Boulevard. Take the staircase down to a small cove with a mixed rock and sandy beach with tide pools. Margo Dodd Park is on the bluff and offers picnic tables and a gazebo with astounding panoramic views of this picturesque section of Central Coast and beyond to Pismo Beach and the Channel Islands. No facilities.
    Map


Pismo Beach

Pismo pier and beach

Pismo Beach is located just south of Avila off Highway 1. Pismo features a huge sandy beach and quaint oceanfront community. At the northern portion are unique white cliffs that form caves and crevices. Conveniences include restrooms, restaurants and equipment rental. A pier provides fishing, surfing and sightseeing opportunities.

Pismo Beach
Main Street
Pismo Beach, California 93445

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Pismo State Beach is located just south of Pismo Beach and the Pismo Pier. To the north is a wide sandy beach, a pier and a thriving coastal community. To the south is a wide sandy beach, camping, a Monarch Butterfly preserve and off-roading in the Pismo and Oceano Dunes. Popular activities include surfing, fishing, butterfly viewing, off-roading and State Park camping. Pismo Beach State Park is a great place for driving off-road vehicles or horseback riding on the beach. The coolest part is that you can drive on the sand since most of the beach is an OHV park. The sand is so compact that even 2-wheel drive vehicles can head out on the sand. Several campgrounds are available along the sand dunes.

Pismo State Beach
555 Pier Avenue
Oceano, California 93445
(805) 489-2684

Map  |   Hotel  |   Camping  |   Website  |   Other Ideas

  • Grover is located off Highway 1 from Grand Avenue. Grover features a huge white sandy beach backed by sand dunes. Restrooms available.
    Map

  • Oceano Dunes is located off Highway 1 from Pier Avenue. Oceano features a huge white sandy beach backed by sand dunes. Restrooms available.
    Map


Lompoc

Point Sal State Beach is located off Highway 1 southwest of Guadalupe on Brown Road. Situated on a secluded portion of the Central Coast, Point Sal features a large sandy cove. Activities include fishing, combing, hiking, picnicking and sunbathing. Swimming is discouraged due to rip currents.

Point Sal State Beach
Point Sal Road
Lompoc, CA 93436
(805) 733-3713

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Ocean Beach is located off Highway 1 west of Lompoc on Ocean Avenue. Also known as surf spot, Ocean features a large sandy beach, picnic grounds and restrooms. Activities at Ocean include surfing, fishing, bird watching and picnicking.

Ocean Beach County Park
Ocean Park Road
Lompoc, CA 93436
(805) 934-6123

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Jalama Beach is located off Highway 1 between Lompoc and Santa Barbara. Situated on a secluded portion of the Central Coast, Jalama is a small cove with a sandy beach, campground, store and grill. The grill is known for its hamburgers, chowder, chili and apple cake. Activities at Jalama include surfing, windsurfing, kite surfing, whale watching, birdwatching, nature photography, rock hounding and fishing.

Jalama Beach County Park
9999 Jalama Road
Lompoc, CA 93436
(805) 736-6316

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Gaviota State Beach

Gaviota State Beach is located west of Santa Barbara off Highway 101. This park offers a small sandy beach with a pier, rocky shoreline and a large inland park for hiking and exploration. A picturesque train trestle towers over the sand connecting the bluffs above. Camping, surfing, scuba diving and fishing are common activities.

Gaviota State Beach
Lompoc, California 93436
(805) 968-1033

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Santa Barbara

Refugio State Beach is located 20-miles west of Santa Barbara off Highway 101. Refugio offers a large sandy beach, beach camping, picnicking, a children's park and more. Refugio is popular for swimming, picnicking, kayaking and fishing. A bike trail connects Refugio with El Capitan to the east.

Refugio State Beach
10 Refugio Beach Road
Goleta, California 93117
(805) 968-1033

Map  |   Hotel  |   Camping  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


El Capitan State Beach

El Capitan State Beach is located west of Santa Barbara off Highway 101. This is a very popular place for camping. The campground is situated among sycamore trees beside a creek flowing to the ocean and on the bluff overlooking the ocean. Stairways descend to the ocean. El Capitan is a long stretch of sandy beach with tide pools and boulders at either end. A bike trail connects El Capitan with Refugio to the west.

El Capitan State Beach
10 Refugio Beach Road
Goleta, California 93117
(805) 968-1033

Map  |   Hotel  |   Camping  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Haskell's Beach is located off Highway 101 from Storke Road in Isla Vista. From Storke Road head west on Hollister Avenue to the Bacara Resort. Park in the registration parking lot and follow the dirt trail down to Haskell's. Long sandy beach backed by bluffs with a resort and golf course. Restrooms available.

Haskell's Beach
Bacara Resort & Spa
Hollister Avenue
Isla Vista, CA 93117

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Ellwood Beach is located off Highway 101 in Goleta. Park in free lot across Hollister Avenue from Ellwood Elementary School. Follow the dirt trails to Ellwood, a large hidden beach that's rocky to the north and sandy to the south. No facilities. The eucalyptus trees covering the bluff are Monarch butterfly groves each year from October to February.

Ellwood Beach
Santa Barbara Shores Drive
Goleta, CA 93117

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Coal Oil Point is located off Highway 101 from either Storke or Los Carneros Roads in Isla Vista. This is a surf spot situated at a point that delivers consistent rights. Park in the residential neighborhood near Camino Majorca and Del Playa Drive and walk north to Coal Oil Point. Mix of sandy beach and rocky ocean. The sandy area to the north of Coal Oil Point is known by locals as 'Sands'. No facilities.

Coal Oil Point
Camino Majorca and Del Playa Drive
Isla Vista, CA 93117

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Isla Vista is located off Highway 101 from either Storke or Los Carneros Roads in Isla Vista. Several access points are available along Del Playa Drive. Park in the residential neighborhood and head down to a long, narrow sandy beach. No facilities.

Isla Vista
Del Playa Drive
Isla Vista, CA 93117

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Campus Point is located between Goleta and Isla Vista directly behind Santa Barbara State University. This is a surf spot situated at a point that delivers consistent rights. Park at the parking lot off Lagoon Road and walk up the beach to Campus Point. Mix of sandy beach and rocky ocean. No facilities.

Campus Point
Lagoon Road
Goleta, CA 93117

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Goleta is located just west of Santa Barbara off Highway 101 and is a favorite with Santa Barbara locals. Many activities are offered including volleyball, picnicking, horseshoes and fishing from the pier. Adjacent restaurants and shops make it a great place for group events.

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Arroyo Burro Beach is located off Highway 1 north of Santa Barbara off Las Positas Road. Also known by locals as Hendy's Beach, Arroyo Burro features a large sandy beach, picnic grounds, restrooms and a popular restaurant situated on the sand. Enjoy fish tacos and a Mai Tai at the Boathouse at Hendry's Beach, a popular locals restaurant. Activities at Arroyo Burro include surfing, swimming, fishing, whale watching and picnicking. Arroyo Burro is a dog-friendly beach complete with a dog-washing station.

Arroyo Burro Beach County Park
Las Positas Road & Cliff Drive
Santa Barbara, CA 93109

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Mesa Lane Beach is located at the end of Santa Cruz Boulevard, Mesa Lane features a large sandy beach backed by bluffs with oceanfront homes. Access by descending a long staircase. No facilities.

Mesa Lane Beach
Mesa Lane
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Thousand Steps Beach is located at the end of Santa Cruz Boulevard, Thousand Steps features a large sandy beach backed by bluffs with oceanfront homes. Access by descending a long staircase. No facilities.

Thousand Steps Beach
Santa Cruz Blvd
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Leadbetter Beach is located on the west side of Santa Barbara Harbor, Leadbetter features a large sandy beach, picnic grounds, café, restrooms and volleyball courts. A bike path connects Leadbetter with Shoreline Park, Santa Barbara Harbor, West Beach, Stearns Wharf and East Beach. Activities at this popular beach include swimming, windsurfing, sunbathing, biking, and picnicking. Head east along the harbor break wall to Sandspit, a small beach at the mouth of the harbor.

Leadbetter Beach
Shoreline Drive & Loma Alta
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 564-5418

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


West Beach is located in Santa Barbara at the end of State Street between Santa Barbara Harbor and Stearns Wharf. West Beach features a wide sandy beach, volleyball courts, restaurants, shops, restrooms and showers. A bike path links West Beach with Shoreline Park, Leadbetter, Santa Barbara Harbor, Stearns Wharf and East Beach. Activities include sunbathing, swimming, kayaking, wind surfing, volleyball and biking. Stearns Wharf offers an aquarium, restaurants, touristy shops and opportunities for fishing, sightseeing tours and parasailing.

Want to try surfing? Go to a pier where there are lifeguards or try a surf school like Santa Barbara Surf School.

West Beach
West Cabrillo Boulevard
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 897-1982

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


East Beach is located in Santa Barbara at the end of State Street to the east of Stearns Wharf. East Beach features a long sandy beach, volleyball courts, picnic grounds, skate park, restaurants, shops, restrooms and showers. A bike path links East Beach with Shoreline Park, Leadbetter, Santa Barbara Harbor, West Beach and Stearns Wharf. Activities include sunbathing, swimming, kayaking, wind surfing, volleyball, skateboarding and biking. Stearns Wharf offers an aquarium, restaurants, touristy shops and opportunities for fishing, sightseeing tours and parasailing.

Want to try surfing? Go to a pier where there are lifeguards or try a surf school like Santa Barbara Surf School.

East Beach
1400 Cabrillo Boulevard
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 897-1982

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Butterfly Beach is located between Santa Barbara and Montecito along Channel Drive. Exit Highway 101 at Olive Mill Road or Butterfly Lane and head south to Channel Drive. Parking is available all along Channel Drive. Several access points connect to a long narrow sandy beach. This is an upscale beach that's shared with the Four Seasons Biltmore. No facilities.

Channel Drive
Montecito, CA 93108

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Hammonds Beach is located south of Santa Barbara in the upscale community of Montecito. Exit Highway 101 at San Ysidro Road and head south on Eucalyptus Lane. Follow to the end where you'll find limited parking. Walk down to sand and head west to Hammonds. This is primarily a surf spot that delivers a mix of lefts and rights. No facilities.

Hammonds Beach
Eucalyptus Lane
Montecito, CA 93108

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Summerland Beach is located south of Santa Barbara between Montecito and Carpenteria. Exit Highway 101 at Summerland and turn toward the ocean on Lookout Park Road. A parking lot and park with a playground and restrooms are located across the railroad tracks. Follow the path down to Summerland, a popular dog beach where horseback riding is also allowed.

Summerland Beach
Lookout Park Road
Summerland, CA 93108

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Carpinteria

Lookout Park is located between Montecito and Carpinteria. Exit Highway 101 at Evans Avenue (Exit 91). Head south on Evans Avenue to Lookout Park. The park offers picnic facilities, a playground and access trail down to a large sandy beach. Restrooms available.

Lookout Park
Evans Lane
Carpinteria, CA 93013

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Finney Street located between Montecito and Carpinteria. Exit Highway 101 at Evans Avenue (Exit 91). Head south on Evans Avenue and then east on Wallace Avenue. Turn right on Finney Street and park along the bluff. Several access points connect to a long thin sandy beach. No facilities.

Finney Street
Carpinteria, CA 93013

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Loon Point Beach is located between Montecito and Carpinteria. Exit Highway 101 at Summerland/Padaro (Exit 90). Head south on Padaro Lane and park in Loon Point parking lot on left. Follow the dirt trail back under Padaro Lane to a large sandy beach. No facilities.

Loon Point Beach
Padaro Lane
Carpinteria, CA 93013

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Santa Claus Lane is located between Montecito and Carpinteria. Exit Highway 101 at Santa Claus Lane and head toward the ocean. Head south on Santa Claus Lane and park along street. Several access points head over railroad tracks to a large sandy beach. Surf Happens offers surfing lessons at the south end. No facilities.

Santa Claus Lane
Carpinteria, CA 93013

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Carpinteria City Beach is located between Santa Barbara and Ventura. Exit Highway 101 at Linden Avenue and head south to the ocean. Plenty of parking is available at the end of Linden Avenue. Carpinteria is known as the "World's Safest Beach" for its lack of surf and rip currents. Carpinteria features a large sandy beach with restrooms, picnic tables, barbecues, volleyball courts and a rental shack for bodyboards and inner tubes.

Santa Claus Lane
Carpinteria, CA 93013

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Carpinteria State Beach is located south-east of Santa Barbara and offers a long sandy beach and tide pools. Camping, swimming, surfing and tide pool exploration are popular activities. Restrooms available.

Carpinteria State Beach
5361 6th Street
Carpinteria, California 93013
(805) 968-1033

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Tarpits Beach is located off Dump Road in South Carpinteria. Situated north of the oil pier, Tarpits is primarily a surf spot with a mix of rock and sandy beach. No facilities.

Tarpits Beach
Dump Road
Carpinteria, CA 93013

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Carpinteria Bluffs is located between Santa Barbara and Ventura. Exit Highway 101 at Ballard Avenue and head south. Ballard Avenue ends in the parking lot for Carpinteria Bluffs. Follow the Carpinteria Bluffs Trail south and then west to the access point. Carpinteria Bluffs is a mix of rock and sand that produces endless rights for surfers. Many underwater rock hazards are present. A sea lion rookery is located just south of the oil pier. No facilities.

Carpinteria Bluffs
Ballard Avenue
Carpinteria, CA 93013

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Rincon Beach County Park is located between Carpinteria and Ventura. Situated on Rincon Point that consistently produces perfect rights, Rincon is legendary with surfers. It has been memorialized in several surf songs and movies over the years. Rincon features a mixed rock and sandy beach, picnic grounds and restrooms. Activities include surfing, swimming, whale watching and picnicking.

Rincon Beach County Park
Rincon Point Road
Carpinteria, CA 93013
(805) 568-2465

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Ventura

Mussel Shoals Beach is located off Highway 101 between Carpinteria and Ventura. Exit Highway 101 at Mussel Shoals and park in residential neighborhood. Also known as Little Rincon, Mussel Shoals is situated on a point just east of a pier. This is primarily a surf spot that consistently produces perfect rights. Mussel Shoals is a mix of rocks and sand. No facilities.

Mussel Shoals Beach
Ventura, CA 93001

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Oil Piers Beach is located off Highway 101 between Carpinteria and Ventura. Exit Highway 101 in Seacliff and head north on Old Rincon Highway. Make first left on Mobil Pier Road and head under the highway to Oil Piers. Situated where oil piers used to stretch out over the ocean, this is primarily a surf spot with good rights and lefts. No facilities.

Oil Piers Beach
Mobil Pier Road
Ventura, CA 93001

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Stanley's Beach is located off Highway 101 between Carpinteria and Ventura. Exit Highway 101 in Seacliff and make immediate right on Highway 1. Park along side Highway 1 and walk back to off ramp. Follow the dirt trail next to the off ramp to Stanley's. It's small and situated within a private community. Waves break around a rock retaining wall. This is primarily a surf spot that consistently produces perfect rights. No facilities.

Stanley's Beach
Pacific Coast Highway
Ventura, CA 93001

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Hobson Beach County Park is located off Highway 1 north of Ventura. Exit Highway 101 in Seacliff and make immediate right on Highway 1. Watch for Hobson County Park entrance after a short stretch of oceanfront homes. Hobson offers a small RV campground and a long narrow beach of mixed sand and rock. Accessible by a staircase down a rock retaining wall. A small point makes this a popular surf spot that produces good rights and lefts. Restrooms and showers available.

Hobson Beach County Park
5210 W. Pacific Coast Highway
Ventura, CA 93001

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Faria Beach County Park is located off Highway 1 north of Ventura. Hobson offers camping in a small RV campground along a narrow sandy beach. Additional RV camping is available north of the park along PCH for self-contained RVs only. Restrooms and showers available. Pita's Point is on the south side of Faria and is a popular surf spot for its consistent rights.

Faria Beach County Park
4350 W. Pacific Coast Highway
Ventura, CA 93001

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Mondos Beach is located off Highway 1 north of Ventura, Mondos is primarily a surf spot with heavy breaks that rip around Faria Point. Mondos can produce long and consistent rights. Park along PCH and descend a rock retaining wall to a small narrow beach. No facilities.

Mondos Beach
Pacific Coast Highway
Ventura, CA 93001

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Solimar Beach is located off Highway 1 north of Ventura, Solimar is a long narrow sandy beach. Plenty of parking is available along PCH. No facilities.

Solimar Beach
Pacific Coast Highway
Ventura, CA 93001

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Gold Coast Beach is located off Highway 1 north of Ventura, Gold Coast is a long narrow sandy beach that connects Solimar with Emma Wood State Beach. Several access points head down a rock break wall to the sand. Plenty of parking is available along PCH. No facilities.

Gold Coast Beach
Pacific Coast Highway
Ventura, CA 93001

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Emma Wood State Beach is located north of Ventura Harbor and directly off PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). Situated just north of the Ventura County Fairgrounds, this thin stretch of sandy beach is popular for RV camping and surfing. Popular surf spots are Summer Beach at the northernmost entrance station and Ventura Overhead at the southern end. Emma Wood also features WWII artillery ruins. Reservations are required for primitive camping.

Emma Wood State Beach
Pacific Coast Highway
Ventura, CA 93001
(805) 968-1033

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Ventura Point is located at the end of Figueroa Street between the Ventura County Fairgrounds and the Ventura Pier. This is a small rocky beach with a south facing point that's a popular surf spot. Parking lots are available right off the sand. The Ventura Promenade bike path connects Surfers Point with C Street, the Ventura Pier and San Buenaventura State Beach. Restrooms and picnic grounds are located off the parking lot.

Ventura Point
Figueroa Street
Ventura, CA 93001

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


C Street is located west of the Ventura pier at the end of California Street. This large sandy beach is a popular surf spot. The Ventura Promenade bike path connects C Street with Surfers Point, the Ventura Pier and San Buenaventura State Beach. Restrooms, restaurants and concession stands are available at the pier.

C Street
California Street
Ventura, CA 93001

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


San Buenaventura State Beach is located between the Ventura Pier and Ventura Harbor, San Buenaventura offers a wide 2 mile stretch of sandy beach, sand dunes, picnic facilities and a pier. Conveniences include public restrooms, restaurants and concession stands. Equipment rentals and a bait shop are available on the Ventura Pier to the north. The Ventura Promenade bike path connects San Buenaventura with Surfers Point, C Street and the Ventura Pier.

San Buenaventura State Beach
901 San Pedro Street
Ventura, CA 93001
(805) 968-1711

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Ventura Harbor is located off Highway 101 from Seaward Avenue. This small rocky beach is a popular surf spot wedged between a jetty and break wall. Parking available at the end of Pierpont Boulevard at Marina Park where there are picnic grounds, restrooms and a playground.

Ventura Harbor
Pierpont Blvd
Ventura, CA 93001

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Oxnard

McGrath State Beach is located 5-miles south of Ventura off Highway 101. A nature trail leads from the beach and sand dunes, up the mouth of the Santa Clara River, to an estuary preserve. Camping, surfing, fishing and bird watching are popular activities.

McGrath State Beach
2211 Harbor Boulevard
Oxnard, California 93030
(805) 968-1033

Map  |   Hotel  |   Camping  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Mandalay Beach is located off Harbor Boulevard in North Oxnard. Mandalay is a small stretch of sandy beach situated between 5th Street and Wooley Road. To the north are natural sand dunes and estuary and to the south are oceanfront homes. No facilities.

Mandalay State Beach
5th Street and Mandalay Beach Road
Oxnard, CA 93030
(805) 968-1033

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Oxnard Beach is located where Harbor and Channel Islands Boulevards meet. Oxnard is a large sandy beach situated on a peninsula separating Channel Islands Harbor from the Pacific Ocean. Access is available along Ocean Drive. No facilities. The harbor offers sport fishing, boat rentals, whale watching expeditions, shopping, dining and accommodations.

Oxnard Beach
Ocean Drive
Oxnard, California 93030

Map  |   Hotel  |   Other Ideas


Kiddie Beach is located off Victoria Avenue in Channel Islands Harbor. Kiddie Beach is a small sandy cove situated within the protected waters of the Channel Islands Harbor. Parking lot is accessible off Victoria Avenue. Restrooms available.

Kiddie Beach
Victoria Avenue
Oxnard, California 93030

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Silver Strand Beach is located between Channel Islands and Port Hueneme Harbors. Silver Strand is a large sandy beach situated off the south jetty of Channel Islands Harbor. Parking available at the end of San Nicholas Avenue. No facilities.

Silver Strand Beach
Ocean Drive
Oxnard, California 93030

Map  |   Hotel   |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Port Hueneme Beach is located at the end of Ventura Road between Port Hueneme and L.A. County. Port Hueneme is a large sandy beach with restrooms, picnic tables and fishing pier. Large parking lot is accessible along Surfside Drive.

Port Hueneme Beach
Surfside Drive
Oxnard, California 93030

Map  |   Hotel  |   Other Ideas


California Beaches

San FranciscoLos AngelesOrange CountySan DiegoInland EmpireDesertCentral CoastSierra NevadaNorth CoastShasta CascadeGold CountryCentral ValleyHome Page