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The 07 Best Northern California Beaches

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Best Northern California Beaches: Let the waves play with your feet as you soak in the exquisite hues of red and orange that fill the horizon as the sun sets.

Sounds surreal, doesn’t it?

The pristine beaches on the rugged coastline of northern California offer many such experiences.

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From beaches with soft white sand to those featuring natural bridges and sandstone cliffs, you can find them all in Northern Carolina. All of them are accessible to the public and most offer free parking. 

Wondering where to begin?

Dive into our list of the best Northern California beaches for an unforgettable beach trip: – 

Santa Cruz #1

Visiting with kids?

Head to Santa Cruz Beach.

From dipping your toes into its soft sand to testing your skills on the gentle surf, there is an array of activities to enjoy here.

Love wildlife spotting?

Bring your binoculars to get a close view of dolphins, otters, sea lions, and whales from the shore. It is also home to one of Santa Cruz’s most popular attractions “The Beach Boardwalk” lined with shops, thrilling rides, and games.

Best Northern California Beaches

While you’re there, do check out the Giant Dipper roller coaster and the Looff Carousel, which are considered historical landmarks.

There are plenty of dining and shopping options to explore here as well. Just be careful while heading to the boardwalk at night. Otherwise, this is a great place for a fun family outing. 

The Great Beach #2

This Great Beach, also known as Point Reyes Beach is only an hour’s drive from San Francisco and offers breath-taking views.

Best Northern California Beaches

This vast, deserted beach stretches for over 10 miles. Its heavy, pounding surf makes it ideal for beach walking and beach combing.

Want to enjoy spectacular views of the area?

Head to the Point Reyes Lighthouse which was built in 1870. What’s more? Easy accessibility and dramatic waves make it a popular spot. 

Baker Beach #3

Soak in stunning views of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge from Baker Beach. Located near San Francisco’s downtown, the beach offers picturesque views of this iconic structure.

Although swimming is prohibited here, you can enjoy fishing and sunbathing.

Best Northern California Beaches

How about cooking something with stunning views?

There are picnic areas with barbecue grills and picnic tables. Don’t forget to get some great clicks here since the scenery looks straight out of a postcard. 

With so much to offer, it is one of the best Northern California beaches.

Centerville Beach #4

This beautiful beach is located just five miles west of the historic Victorian Ferndale neighbourhood.

With its impressive sandstone cliffs and numerous trails, hiking is a popular activity here.

Best Northern California Beaches

Since the waves can get rough, it is not the best for water activities. But you can enjoy horse-riding and even bring your dog or vehicle here, making it extremely convenient.

If you’re lucky, you might even see mother whales migrating with their young during the months of April and May.

Ross Cove Beach #5

Love active outdoor recreational activities?

Head to Ross Cove Beach.

Situated within the James V. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, it is a great spot for jogging, hiking, surfing, and beach combing.

Best Northern California Beaches

Don’t feel like doing much?

Lounge on its soft sands and take in the picturesque views.

It’s also highly likely that you’ll witness whales from the shore. Avoid the beach if there’s a high tide or storm.

Other than that, it’s a great spot to rejuvenate your senses amidst lush natural surroundings. 

Seaside Creek Beach #6

Want to avoid crowds?

Head to Seaside Beach.

This magnificent hidden gem is located just outside of Fort Bragg.

Best Northern California Beaches

The large rock formations and gorgeous sandstone cliffs make this a fantastic spot for a walk on the sandy shore.

Craving some adventure?

The nearby MacKerricher State Park offers a host of recreational activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, biking, and horseback riding.

Since parking is limited at the beach, it’s recommended that you arrive early. The place offers a tranquil escape into nature. 

Carmel Beach #7

Just a few steps away from the town of Carmel lies this picturesque beach.

This dog-friendly beach with azure waters offers a host of recreational activities such as beach volleyball, surfing, kite flying, and trail walking.

Best Northern California Beaches

You can also use propane grills available throughout the year for a fun beach picnic.

There are also fire pits for campfires, open for use during spring and summer.

Got some more time on your hands?

Explore the vibrant Carmel Town which features numerous art galleries, intriguing shops, and excellent restaurants. 

Some other notable mentions include Bodega Dunes, Trinidad State Beach, and Three Rocks Beach. 


So, get your beach bag out and get ready for a fun-filled outing!

Follow us for more such tips!

FAQs:-

Q. Does Northern California have good beaches?

Northern California is home to many stunning beaches, each with its own set of unique offerings.

Q. Which beach in northern CA is the warmest?

Drakes Beach is one of the warmest beaches in northern California.

Q. What is the prettiest beach in California?

Seacliff State Beach and Baker Beach are amongst the prettiest beaches in California.

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