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Going to the Beach
Relaxing coastal getaway
My husband and I are looking for a relaxing local coastal
getaway on a budget, just for two nights, with one or two
friends and our preschooler in June. We're hoping to find a
little rental house or some other cost efficient deal
somewhere where there's lots of beach to explore. Does
anyone have a special place to recommend either north or
south of the bay area? Thanks in advance! Birthday girl
We stayed at Asilomar:
It wasn't that expensive and you can walk to the state
beach. Also the Monterey Bay Aquarium is nearby. -Pacific
I would recommend Dillon Beach -- it's on Tomales Bay.
There's a nice big beach that's doesn't seem to get the big
sleeper waves that other places on the coast get. Also,
it's a cool funky 'old California' beach town, and there's
one restaurant there that's quite good. WC Mom
You might want to look into Pajaro Dunes - it is in between
Santa Cruz and Monterey. At the dunes
We're looking to rent a beach house with another family (3 kids, 4
adults) for about 2 weeks in August. Ideally it would be on the ocean
(maybe the Santa Cruz area), walking distance to a nice beach, and
dog-friendly. Does anyone have recommendations of actual houses they've
stayed in, or websites or realtors that are helpful for this? Thanks -
Try www.hutz.com - it seems to have a lot of listings in the Santa
You could also try a house swap - I posted on Craigslist for a
house swap a couple of years ago - it worked out great. Traded
houses (and cars!) with another family and saved a bundle.
Check out www.vrbo.com The properties listed on vrbo.com are
owner-owned (Vacation Rentals by Owner). You can usually find more
affodable rates than going through an agent, and it is easy to do
searches. There is a symbol for dog friendly properties so it is
easy to see upfront who will accept pets. Check the guest comments
or ask for references. Also the availability calendar will
probably be a clue as to whether the owner is getting repeat
business. Make sure you go to www.vrbo.com and not another website
that is trying to imitate it.
We are planning to go on vacation end of August and trying to
decide on a local beach vacation. How is Santa Cruz? Or
Stinson Beach? Carmel? We have 2 and 4 year old, like to play
in ocean and sand. Somewhere it wouldn't be too cold and
swimable water, not too rocky surf, someplace quiet not too
need a vacation
Check out Costanoa,
halfway between Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay. It is
close enough to go either place for the day, and there are bike trails,
horseback riding, and beach. Very quiet during the week.
If 'local' is within a 3 hour drive for you, I would like to suggest
Seascape Resort in Aptos.
It's a family resort on the beach. The 'villas'
are sort of like condos. We rent a 2 bedroom one (you can ask for a ground
floor suite so you can have a patio next to the lawn). They pretty much
have their own beach, there are pools, a restaurant and near lots of fun
places to visit (or not!) Something VERY cool they offer is a 'bonfire'
package. One of the valets comes and picks your family up from your room
in a golf cart. They drive you down to the beach, build you a bonfire, and
leave you with all of the fixins' for s'mores. You can hang out and
frolick on the beach until you're ready to go back to your room. Then you
just call them from the phone that's down at the beach staircase and they
come and get you! My boys were about the age of your children when we
first did this. They are now 11.5 and 9 and we're going again in a couple
of weeks and you can bet we're having s'mores! www.seascaperesort.com
Oh you simply HAVE to go to Santa Cruz
for your vacation. Last July, to
celebrate our son's second birthday, we took a week off and had the most
beautiful time. Here is what we did. Maybe some of these ideas will work
* Camp for 2 nights in the redwoods at the San Mateo Memorial Park;
* Drive down to Monterey for a night, visit the aquarium;
* Drive back up the coast to Santa Cruz -- spend a night and hit the beach
and boardwalk amusement park;
* And the BEST THING OF ALL, on your way from Santa Cruz back to the Bay
Area, visit the Roaring Camp Railroad in Felton. Our boy loved riding the
big, loud steam trains so much. I guarantee your kids will love it.
Have a wonderful time!
Lisa in Oakland
We have vacationed along the California coast many times. One of the best
times we had was renting a house in Santa Cruz.
It was a little ways south
of the Boardwalk area ( a couple of freeway exits) and in a private
community that had their own steps down to the beach. It was a fantastic
location. We were able to get to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the
Boardwalk quite easily, but then we had the beach and a very quiet
community to retreat to when we just wanted to take it easy. My brother
rented the place, so I can't send you to the rental company, but just
search on ''vacation rental house santa cruz'' and you'll get a ton of
rental agencies and rental by owner places.
Are there any Bay Area beaches where one can BBQ? Either make your
own fire pit or nearby facilities (such as at Stinson - any other
beach that has that?) And, of course, the best beach weather is
The beaches at Crown Beach in Alameda have picnic tables and bbq grills
located just off the sand.
I think Limintour at Pt. Reyes has grills between the beach and the
My husband has a severe case of psoriasis and as a result we've
NEVER gone on a beach vacation, which is my dream. I'd
appreciate any recommendations for some place with
The Big Island of Hawaii has a number of secluded beaches. The
most secluded ones tend to be ones that require a hike in, and
the reward is almost total privacy. Kiholo Bay is lovely
(although cold, as there are underwater freshwater springs. There
is also a ''Queen's bath'' there--a cave partly filled with fresh
water that is lovely. The Captain Cook monument doesn't have much
beach (sand) but has fabulous snorkeling. The book ''Hawaii: The
Big Island Revealed'' is a great source for lesser-known beaches
(the authors have also written books on Maui and Kauai).
Although my SO doesn't have psoriasis (my brother does, though,
so I'm familiar with it), he never goes out shirtless, and I have
never seen him in actual swim trunks even once in our 10 years
together. However, I drag him to hawaii every chance I get... he
wears longish shorts and t-shirts -- or even long sleeves -- even
on the beach!!! And I wear my bathing suit and enjoy myself. He
will go in the water, wearing what I've noted above, and has
absolutely no qualms about it. For him, it's better than the
vicious sunburns he gets b/c his skin is so fair. I guess I'm
just saying that your husband could get longish shorts, linen or
rayon casual long pants, a tank top and maybe long sleeve linen
shirts? He would still be able to enjoy himself and not be super
self conscious, if that's what his/your concern is about. Anon
We are looking for a family friendly beach near the bay area for
a day trip. Most years we go to santa cruz but, the last few
years the weather has been very cold. We don't mind driving for
about 2-3 hours for a good beach day. Thanks
My family just discovered a wonderful beach about an hour south
of Half Moon Bay. It's called Natural Bridges State Beach. It
is a beautiful beach, not very crowded and there is a tide pool
area that is the nicest I've ever seen (starfish, anenmones
(SP) sea urchin, crabs, seaweed, etc). The bathrooms are good
too. There is a $6/car admission fee but we thought it was
worth it. It's a good idea to check tides as you plan but we
happened to be there on high tide and it was still great.
We like all these beaches:
Rodeo Beach (Golden Gate Nat Recr Area/Marin Headlands)
Muir Beach (Highway 1, north)
Stinson Beach (Highway 1), north of Muir Beach
San Pedro beach (Highway 1, south of Pacifica)
To make sure you enjoy your day at the beach, remember to take
some coats with you! ;-)
Enjoy the beach,
Try Stinson Beach or Muir Beach in Marin.
I like Drakes beach at Pt Reyes because it has a nice big bathroom
and a snack bar where you can get clam chowder and stuff like that.
It has a nice flat beach along with easy rocks to climb on. It is
more shielded from the wind too, as it's inside a curve of cliffs,
on the underarm part of the Point, so it's enjoyable even on a foggy
day. It takes us 1.5-2 hours to get there from Berkeley, but it's a
We've also gone to Stinson Beach twice this summer and it's a great
beach for families - lots of other kids there, a snack bar, spacious
changing rooms and bathrooms, usually kites and volleyball and other
interesting things to see. Plus it's a short drive - maybe an hour.
Last summer we went to Montara Beach, south on highway 1, and it is
a very beautiful beach, not many people there, with a more sloping
beach. I myself prefer a quieter more picturesque beach like Montara
but my kids really like being at a beach with a lot of activity and
other kids, so we generally go to Marin.
I am looking for a great place on the beach to vacation with my
family this summer in Southern CA. We would like to stay on
the beach, in a rental that has a kitchen, etc. We are
considering Santa Barbara and San Diego, but are open to all
suggestions. Any recommendations of specific properties or
rental companies would be most appreciated.
When I was growing up, our family used to vacation in Laguna
Beach during the summer. It's gotten a lot more upscale, but is
still a lovely place. It has lots of art galleries and an art
festival during the summer months.
Keep in my mind that beaches in California are often
foggy/overcast during late June, July, and beginning of August.
I had a fantastic vacation in La Jolla planned for last summer
in July and after a few days of fun with no sun we bailed and
took the family to the desert for some warmth. I hear that
Carlsbad is a great place to go. The beach is beautiful and it's
not as expensive as La Jolla, San Diego area and Santa Barbara.
We would like any camping recommendations that are located near
a beach. We are planning a family camping trip (4 families)in
August and would like to be near a beach.
There are three excellent sites that I have gone to - one close
to the Bay Area and two a bit further. The closest is at Point
Reyes. You won't be on the beach, but can certainly get there
quickly in the morning and there are sites with views of the
ocean. The further ones are much closer to the beach, but will
take some more time to get to. In San Diego, you can camp just
above the ocean, on the cliffs. Very beautiful. Also, near
the Sequoia National Forest in Northern California, you can
camp right on the beach.
Manresa State Beach just South of Capitola is a great campground
and walking distance to the beach. I would recommend going in
late Sept. or Oct. since the fog is gone by then. We go every
year in October. It is a walk-in campground, however, you can
park your car, bring in your gear and then park in the parking
lot. The sites are close, not a far walk. The sites are somewhat
private with small brush and small trees around. The nice thing
is that they have big open spaces for children to play baseball,
soccer right next to the sites. you can make reservations at
I am hoping someone has a great area to look at. We are looking for a weekend getaway, not
more than 2 hours away with lake or river
accessible. We would want to spend summers and some weekends
there. Do you have a favorite place that sounds like this. We have two very small children
and would love for them to have a place where they can grow up knowing that there are places
outside the city.
Sea Ranch Autumn Mist
Stinson Beach Sea Drift
We're looking a beach rental for a long weekend at the end of
August for 4 adults and 2 children. We're open to anything
within several hours driving distance of the Bay Area that is
comfortable and not too expensive. I've already reviewed the
past recommendations on the website Any other specific
recommendations would be most appreciated.
My toddler and I would like to find a beach (ideally near the Bay
Area) that is good for beachcombing - finding seashells and
colored pebbles - and where it would be OK to collect a few of
these things. Thanks!
We went to the little beach at China Camp State park in San
Rafael, about a 20 minute drive from Berkeley on the San
Pablo Bay. Tons of small pieces of smooth sea glass. Such
a fun place to beachcomb!
We would like to go on a week-long beach vacation this
August with our two children, both of whom are under
the age of 3. We were hoping to rent a house on the
beach where the water was warm enough to swim in. We
were also hoping to drive there, instead of fly. We
haven't lived in Northern California for very long and
therefore, would appreciate any recommendations other
members may have. I checked the Parents Network website
but didn't find enough information to differentiate
between Stinson, Muir beach, Half Moon Bay, Aptos and
the like. Are these the best choices for August? Is
the weather dependable? Is there anyone out there who
can enlighten us? Thank you in advance.
I would try going farther south for warmer water. Even
in the summertime, a lot of Northern California water
is still cold. I have swam in the Pacific, Atlantic,
Gulf of Mexico, and every large major lake and river
in the U.S. Southern waters are definately warmer (as
well as West Coast waters).
Or you could try Lake Commanche
(see Lake Commanche)
I am a former New Yorker who spent summers on Long Island
Beaches. I think the water in Northern California is too
cold to do much swimming at all for little ones, even in
August. The best place for us in Northern California has been
Dillon Beach, where there are a bunch of houses to rent, has
a large sandy beach and lots of families around. Personally,
if I were doing a beach vacation I'd go to San Diego or Mexico.
I am planning a spring break vaca at the beach, tent
camping. It will be another mom and two kids, 9 and
12 yrs. We are camping at San Simeon State Park right
on the beach, hghwy 1 and within a hour to hour and a
half is Pismo beach state park and in between,
everything. Seals, otters, dunes, docent lead hikes,
tidepools, elephant seals, mineral springs. Chk it out
on the web. $12.00 a night for tent space w/showers
and flush restromms. Up to eight people and two cars.
Beaches 1/2 hour drive from Berkeley
Can anyone recommend a beach near to Berkeley? Not Alameda. I love that beach but I'd like
something closer--Berkeley, Richmond, Pt. Richmond.
Does Pt. Pinole have a beach? Is it too far from Berkeley?
I realize that how far someplace is is often related to time of day or whether it's a weekend or
not--because of traffic. But I'd just like someplace that's no more than a half hour to get to. And
maybe a place that I can get to in my car that uses backroads rather than those clogged freeways.
There are a couple of beaches in Richmond. Keller Beach is close to Pt.
Richmond. If you take Cutting all the way down (west), and turn left at
the Richmond Plunge to go through the tunnel, you'll be there. The beach is on
the right as you come out of the tunnel. (I'm not sure
of the name of the street you turn left on, but I really do think it's
where Cutting ends, and it is certainly right at the end of the
Washington School grounds.)
I've also noticed a nice new beach at the Richmond Marina. I've only biked
to this, so I'm not exactly sure how to get there by car, but I think
again you'd take Cutting west, and turn left on Marina Bay and enter that
Marina Bay development. The beach is near the new playground, and it is on
the left arm of the marina, as you face the bay. To get there by bike,
take the path that starts at Pt. Isabel (near Costco). It will bring you right
there. (This path apparently starts at the Berkeley Marina, but it doesn't
look like it's paved all the way.)
There are beaches at Pt. Pinole, too, although I've never seen anyone
swimming. That might be worth investigating. I might worry about old
rotten pilings and things in the water there if it's not an official
Happy swimming -- Christina
There is--or was--a lovely, secluded little beach in Point Richmond.
It's called something like Shadow Cove, I think. To get there, you take
the freeway towards the San Rafael Bridge, get off in Point Richmond. Go
into the middle of the town and look for the tunnel that goes into the
hills (south). The beach is just on the other side of the tunnel. Sorry
my information is so vague, but maybe you can find it if you have time to
drive around a bit.
Keller Beach in Point Richmond is nice. Take 580 to the Point Richmond
exit. I can't give real specific directions, but go to the Richmond
Plunge (pool), then through the tunnel and the beach is right there. It
is shallow quite a ways out and my 4 year old loves that.
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