Pacific Ocean / Local Beaches, California
What Californians mean when they say, "the beach" is the sandy section between the Pacific Ocean and the coastline. The banks of bays, lakes, rivers, streams or creeks are not referred to as the beach. Just mentioning this to help with misunderstandings for those who don't know and are asking for directions.
There is more than 800 miles of California Coastline and the style and shape of land along the coast have created some beautiful scenery.
Swimming, surfing, kayaking snorkeling Scuba Diving and sunning on the beach are popular things to do. Playing games like "Over the Line," Volleyball, Frisbee catch, flying kites or building sandcastles are things quite often done at the beach. Jet skiing, boating and sail surfing are other things to do at the beaches.
There are miles of pristine white sands, miles of cliffs and jetties and miles of bluffs, caves and coves. The nicest thing is that it is not necessary to scale the full length of the coast to do all this. Each of these activities and things to do can be found in each area of California.
It looks like the Mediterranean coast, but that sun is setting into the Pacific. Put your feet in the water and let the sand run along your toes. You will see Pelicans, out on the rocks, maybe, as we did, a couple marrying and catching romantic dusk photos before night falls. Catch it's arts festivals, the nicely titled Festival of the Arts, which goes on for seven weeks, and the astonishing Pageant of the Masters, in which the great paintings are brought to life by performers. I never got to see that, but it sounds pretty good.
We went to a wedding here in 2006, and afterwards strolled on the beach, where many other weddings were taking place. People like getting married here, especially at sunset.
Neighboring towns, Grover Beach, Pismo Beach, and Oceano are known as playgrounds for off-roading enthusiasts. Huge sand dunes on any of these beaches provide for fun days of ATV riding and other sand sports. But if you're not one for that sorta stuff, then just head on over to the water for a swim, surf, etc. In addition to Pismo Beach's sand dunes, the city is also a popular destination for the clams it harvests, which culminates in a clam festival every fall. Yummy!
Pacific Grove is a beautiful town at the northwest tip of the Monterey Peninsula. It has a very beautiful coastline and is a very charming place to visit. Not to be missed is Ocean View Blvd, which winds around the coast of Monterey Bay, leading to scenic viewpoints and cypress trees. The famous 17-mile drive (which we didn't do) is just south of the town.
I spent a lot of thim diving over my year and a half in the OC.
Most of this time was spent in the city of Laguna beach at a few small beaches.
Spent most of my time working with a Dive store called Beach Cities Scuba in Irvine + Dana Point. These would be a good point of contact for further local info.
Cresent Cove - a small beach but with some good diving off it.
Shaws Cove - this used to have a Arch underwater which divers wer able to dive through, but a Pacific storm knocked it. There is still a smal case at the seaward side of the dive area, pretty well hidden but keep your eyes open, you might come across it.
Further out from Shaws cove in a reef known as Dead Mans Reef.
This is quiet a swim between 600 - 650 yards out. straight out from the Shaws cove dive spot. Nice dive into deeper water.
NOTE : All these dive spots are just North of Laguna main Beach. Drive up PCH a few hundred yards. there USED to be a Burger hut/ food outlet on the right a road down a steep hill twoards the shore head down there and down here you ewill find these dive spots.
Also. there is plenty of steps down to the beach... You have been warned. But its worth it.
Watch a beautiful sunset at Venice! Walk along the famous boardwalk & you never know what you may find. I came across this intriguing sight of wood pylons jutting from the wind swept sand. It was a nice place to watch the setting sun over the Pacific.
Not long after breakfast on 1 September 1996 Clint, Natasha, and I went to Corona del Mar beach in Orange County just south of Newport Beach. Getting there wasn't much of a battle, but finding a parking space was the Battle of Cold Harbour. Clint and I got out of the car whilst Natasha tried to find a parking space somewhere north of the Mexican border. Before continuing with our fun at the beach, we slathered on sun block number 30 to prevent nasty sunburn. To those who scolded me for forgetting to apply it to my legs and feet in Duck, NC the previous year, I learned my lesson. I read a good bit of the Patricia Cornwell book on the beach. I didn't go into the water because the water is so cold 65° (17°C). Natasha made sandwiches for everybody. She made me 2 smoked chicken sandwiches because I wanted mine plain as I did not want her to inadvertantly put mayonnaise on mine. Corona del Mar is located in a cove. Many boaters as well as swimmers were out there, not to mention airplanes with strips in tow advertising various things from used cars to night clubs.
L.A. is the home of the original Bay Watch, and is rimmed with miles of beaches.
The California coast is legendary for its beauty, and it doesn't stop at the shoreline. It's really beautiful over here, you can go check it out yourself.
You must go parasailing off the Catalina Coast!
There's nothing like a bird's eye view, while dolphins pop their heads up through the water below you. Just watch out for frisky boat operaters that slow down so they can dip you in the water for a bit.
I'm trying to remember the name of this hotel....anyways...on the beach & the gardens were spectacular! I didn't stay there so I have no idea what the prices were but it was perfect to lounge on the deck and watch the sunset.
One of the most urban beaches, there are lots of people, lots of noise and lots of stuff. It's great fun on the weekend. Everyone I've talked to has seen this guy that is an institution on Venice. He roller blades up and down the pavillion playing a guitar in a full-on turban playing the guitar all day, every day...It adds a nice feeling to Venice. This is also the place to pick up cheap T-shirts for everybody...not good quality...but definitely cheap! You can get 4 T-shirts for 10 bucks.
This is the most beautiful seashore I've seen. The sand is wonderfully soft and clean--perfect for running along the water or chasing waves. It's at the end of the main street in Carmel-by-the-Sea, a resort town between LA and San Francisco. We hit it on an amazingly warm January day!
If it's Beach and sun bathing you're looking for, San Diego has clean beaches. The best in Orange County is in my opinion, Newport/ Balboa. In L.A. It would have to be Santa Monica. All these places have great shopping and a pier with FUN available, in the form of carnival atmosphere.
Campers would enjoy Yosemite, any time of year. Sports lovers, have choice of Pro or College Basketball just about anywhere. Surfing at Huntington, or the Long Beach Grand Prix for the race car fans. Speaking of races, there's also Horse racing at Hollywood or Santa Anita, as well as in San Diego area. Casinos lovers can visit the Soboba or many of the other Indian gaming casinos in the Temecula and Banning areas. They're not exactly as noisy as Vegas, but the machines are somewhat similar, and there are card tables too. Boating at any of the major cities on the coast. Wine tasting in the Sonoma Valley is an experience to have if you've never. Hollywood is the place to see the 'stars' and go night clubbing. It's also the best place to people watch. The Hollywood Bowl is the home of the Playboy Jazz festival every summer. There is a week-end of music outdoors. There are several other concert halls and theatrical plays always going onin L.A/ Hollywood area.
You must and absolutely must take time to look at the ocean and enjoy it.
In answer to Catherine, indeed, you guessed well. :-))) It is near Carmel.
you can't leave pacific coast without spending a day in one of Californian beaches.
I visited Santa Barbara, Malibu (Zuma Beach), Santa Monica, Venice.
But you can find more and more!