"Quit hanging on to the handrails... Let go. Surrender. Go for the ride of your life. Do it everyday"

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

California Dreaming - Beaches Galore!!

I'm sitting here at my computer, awaiting yet another snowstorm to get started outside and I'm going through my pictures from my California trip from May of last year.  I'm a big scrapbooker and organizing the bijillion pictures that I take is part of what I need to do to get a travel scrapbook going.  You can read my post about travel memories here.  As I'm going through my pictures I realized just how many beaches we went to on our trip out there!  I love beaches and each beach is slightly different no matter how close together they are on the map.  I did some driving up the PCH but I didn't get too far because I kept wanting to stop.  I have written about La Jolla here, but there were so many others that were just as much fun to visit.  First up heading from San Diego north to LA is...
cabrillo shoreline 1
I covered Cabrillo here in more depth, but thought that I would make a quick reference to it in this post.  This was where I wanted to go tide pooling, but was not able to.  Beautiful, rough shoreline that I just loved!  We had so much fun just wandering around the park and caught a few wild things while we were out here.  Next up is Mission Beach.
mission beach 2
When we got to this beach it was getting close to the end of the day.  I was wanting to capture a California sunset and this seemed like a great place to do that.  There were quite a few people on the beach because they had just gotten through a race so people were just hanging out, taking a break.
mission beach 3
My son met a friend here and the two were running around playing together.  This super nice family also had a super friendly, very exhuberent puppy, who was completely adorable.  We just chit chatted as we waited for the sun to go down.  The mother had just finished the race and her family was there to cheer her on.
mission beach 1
The main attractions on Mission Beach is that it is near Belmont Park, where you can ride the roller coaster or a giant wave.  We did neither of these things, content to wander around the beach.  We ended up on South Mission Beach, I think, which was a lot less crazy.
 
Next up is Pacific Beach, another San Diego area beach, you have Mission Beach to the south and La Jolla to the north.

pacific beach 1
This was one of the pictures I sent to all my friends back home haha.  Just to rub it in a little bit.  I fully expect payback :).  We stayed on the north side of the beach, which was more family oriented and quieter.  There is a surfing only beach called Tourmaline Surfing Park if you would like to try your hand at that.  We only had time for so much and the day we visited here was a relaxing day.  I spent the morning watching my son play in the surf.
 
Next up is La Jolla Beach.  I wrote about the sea lions on Children's Beach, La Jolla Beach was one of my favorite beaches, although it was really hard to pick a few favorites.  I joked to my husband that I wanted to live in La Jolla.  I can dream right??
la jolla 1
Rough surf was the name of the game here.  Although all you have to do is walk down the path to get to a protected area that has great snorkeling and scuba diving.  The whole area is riddled with sea caves and would be a sea kayakers dream.  The easily walkable path was awesome!  We loved it because the views were just gorgeous AND you could see the sea lions all over the place.  There is also great tide pooling just south of here at a beach called Hospitals, although conditions aren't always favorable for it. 
 
Next up is Torrey Pines, not officially a beach but still shoreline with some beach areas by it and beautiful hiking trails to see the California shoreline.

torrey pines state park 2
There is a beach that you can get to by car where you can play in the surf of the lagoon.  This beach is right off of the PCH(Pacific Coast Highway).  We wanted to spend more time at the beach but spent too much time hiking so all we could do was make a quick stop at the beach before heading back to our hotel.  More rugged coastline and the very rare Torrey Pines.  This whole area is protected and you can sometimes see whales and dolphins.  We did not while we were here.  This beach area is a swim at your own risk area, so be careful.  This is a great beach for a work out.  While we were hiking we saw several people running and/or walking along the shores for exercise.  One exercise route to take is to park down by the beach and to walk or run up the hills via the trail.  We walked it at a casual pace and I could feel it.
torrey pines state park 1
 
The next couple of beaches that we stopped at were not San Diego beaches but LA and/or Orange County beaches. Corona del Mar is the first beach.  These beaches seemed to have a much broader beach area then the San Diego beaches we had stopped at. 
corona del mar 1
There were people playing volleyball and playing in the surf.  We wandered around the beach some and watched people play volleyball.  Corona del Mar also had some awesome cliffs that you could play around on and climb.  I think that was the best part of this particular beach.
 
corona del mar 2
This is an example of the caves that we found throughout the beach area.  This beach was somewhat more protected from the surf and the water was definately calmer.  This cave wasn't very deep at all, but it was still fun to check out.
And last but not least we have Santa Monica...
santa monica 2
Santa Monica of course has the ferris wheel and mini amusement park just like Mission Beach does. As you can see from the picture above this beach was definately a lot busier then the others.  Of course this was later in the week then the San Diego beaches, which would explain much of that.  There are TONS of activities here for the kids.  You can rent just about any kind of water craft possible, learn to surf, play volleyball, people watch, go shopping or eating, all within walking distance of the beach.  Santa Monica Pier is where the amusement park is, arcade, and carousel.  You can also go to the "original" Santa Monica Muscle Beach and work out if you dare.  There is also an aquarium.  You could easily spend several days just in this beach area.
 
santa monica 1
I had so many things that I wanted to do out in California that we just simply couldn't get to them all.  There is a definate return trip in our future.  I would love to spend more time investigating the beach activities.  We just didn't have the time for it.  Hopefully on the next trip I will be able to check out some more of these fun things.
 
A Few Tips
1. Although nudity is illegal, apparently it is somewhat overlooked in certain beaches and areas.  I know of one beach area called Black's Beach, that is not family friendly.  At least from what I read.  So unless that is something you are ok with, you will probably want to avoid those areas.
2.  Parking - we had little problem finding parking when we went, but apprently it can be a problem.  There is a lot of street parking that is both free and, paid along with beach lots and state park parking areas that also require fees.  Come early to get the best spots.
3.  There are a lot of areas where the current is incredible strong so be aware of that.  The beaches go from pretty wild to calm in a matter of feet.
4.  Be aware that the temps of San Diego are beautiful, but not warm.  I was not able to go into the water above my thighs because of how cold the ocean was.  If I had been wearing a wetsuit, maybe, but then I am also a bit cold-blooded.

This post is part of Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox, Photo Friday at R We There Yet Mom and Delicious Baby .  Be sure to check out my Facebook page as well for more pictures.

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35 comments:

  1. I love all your beach photos! I thought the beaches in California were unlike any I have seen (so far) on the East Coast. I visited San Diego at the tail end of winter so though we visited the beaches, it was more to investigate the tide pools and enjoy the ocean air- definitely not to swim.

    I visited without my family and would LOVE to go back to California with my entire family in tow. There are so many incredible things to see there that we don't see here in Ohio.

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    1. Thanks! Yep I missed the tide pooling which was what I REALLY, REALLY wanted to do. But that is my goal for my next trip out there. Yes they were totally different from the east coast and southern coast beaches that I have seen. I loved the wildness of them and even though I went in May I couldn't swim.

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  2. I was very interested to see these beach photos. I love beaches and am interested in the San Diego area of USA. You certainly went to a lot.

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    1. Oh my goodness it was crazy! My son and I took a short drive up the PCH and there were so many to see. I couldn't even get to many of them haha. San Diego is beautiful!

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  3. I love this feature of the beaches near my own backyard. I admit we don't venture to the OC and LA beaches much since we have the best ones here in SD. Our favorite is down in Coronado island. Glad you enjoyed your fun in the sun times here in SoCal. Yes, stay away from Black's Beach :)

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    1. Haha that is what I figured! I did enjoy the bulk of the beaches in SD. I did not get to Coronado, that was on my list, but I ran out of time. Oh well I guess that means I just have to come back right? :0)

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  4. Love your beaches - each one has such a different 'personality.'
    Interestingly enough, I started with a beach theme for this week's TPThursday, then decided to go with food.

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    1. Well I hope to see it for one of the upcoming TPThursday posts then as I would be interested in reading about it. I love beaches and yes they all seem to have different personalities for sure.

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  5. I too had considered beaches and water for a theme this week. . .must be that we are all ready for winter to be done and beaches represent escapes!

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    1. Definately!!! That's what I think too! Our snow will be going bye bye in the next week I think. I'm ready for spring though.

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  6. I love California beaches, too. Like Mary from The World is a Book, Coronado beach in San Diego is one of my favorites. My cousin lives in Malibu, so I always make a point of visiting cozy little Paradise Cove whenever we're there. The weird thing is that I actually live on a teeny tiny little beach right now, but we've only been on it a few tims.

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    1. I wish I had been able to get to Coronado, but hopefully next time. I suppose it might be a little different when you actually live on one. Then it's just "there" so you don't think about it. Thanks!

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  7. I have yet to hit the beach in California, but it looks pretty incredible. Maybe I should add it to the list...

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    1. You definately should! Not all of them are what I would call swimming beaches though, more like wandering and feeling the ocean spray on your face. The water is REALLY cooold!

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  8. Southern California beaches are the best! My favorite is Newport Beach but I grew up near there so am a little biased.

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    1. I don't think I made it to Newport Beach this trip. Hoping to get back out there since my dad is living in Cali right now. Maybe in another year or so...

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  9. You are making me jealous looking at all those California beaches. I've only been to a few; I particularly like the look of wild La Jolla beach.

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    1. I LOVED La Jolla! I would go back to that area in a second. It's beautiful, wild and hey you get to see sea lions and seals up close and personal :). Thanks!

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  10. Impossible to pick a favorite shot from these; love them all. I've never traveled this coast, but would love to someday. (Nancie...Budget Travelers Sandbox).

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    1. Thanks! You should, it's very beautiful!

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  11. Those are beautiful beaches. I wish I'm in one of them right now instead of freezing in NYC. I've been to beaches in San Diego and they were really stunning. Would love to go to the other pretty CA beaches you visited. The photos are lovely.

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    1. Thank you! Haha I know the feeling, living in the midwest. We have rain and fog right now. Oh yay!

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  12. I visited friends in Santa Monica last March as part of my year-long RTW. I was happy to have the proximity to the Pier, to the beach, and to Venice Beach. I saw images of this place watching television as a wae lad, and I remembered thinking then that I wanted to visit. Since then, I've visited Pasadena mostly for work, but I hadn't visited Santa Monica before. Santa Monica Beach on an early-spring morning is beautiful and peaceful. :)

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    1. Haha I will have to take that at your word :). It was super busy when we were there, compared to the other beaches. It could have been the day too. It was a fun beach to play in and we enjoyed our visit. I want to spend more time there though next time I make it to SoCal. Thanks!

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