California Beaches (part 3)
Welcome to Dr. Mary Travelbest’s Special Episode on California Beaches (Part 3)
In parts 1 and 2, we started in Coronado, California and visited all beaches through Camp Pendleton. In part 3, we will keep going north through Orange County beaches from San Clemente to Seal Beach and in between. They are all or mostly “free” to visit but check hours and parking before you travel.
There are at least 10 beaches in this part of Orange County.
There’s a train station on the beach; it’s just steps to the sand or to the shopping areas. San Clemente has a regular routed street Trolley, and it’s free of charge for all visitors and locals but closed during Covid. That’s a good way to get to the beach and not worry about parking. Check out the Pier for fresh seafood, clam chowder, etc.
Calafia Beach Park is a city operated park on California state park land. https://www.californiabeaches.com/beach/calafia-beach/
There’s not much to do here, but it is more for locals.
Rivera Beach along a bit north from San Clemente
Dana Point has lots of beach areas. Here are a few of my favorite beaches, and you can listen to Dr Travelbest’s episode #48 to learn more about Dana Point.
It’s fondly called Capo Beach by the locals.
It’s not much but a parking lot and some sand, so don’t be too excited to be here.
Doheny State Park and Beach is north of Capistrano beach. You’ll find that the only time you can walk along the shore is at low tide. There are homes along this beach. Stay off the dry sand next to the homes.
Dana Point harbor is the new home of whale watching. You can bike here easily as the land is flat. Look at the map and see how the land juts out here, to a point, which is why it’s a good spot for seeing whales easily.
Monarch Beach - good for a just north of Dana Point view.
It’s a private beach and spa, owned by the Waldorf Astoria company.
The Monarch Beach Golf Course is publicly owned, so you can make a reservation for 18 holes even if you’re not a member. You’ll also find a Chart House restaurant here.
Laguna Beach offers great views, the annual Sawdust Festival, and superb shopping. Ocean swimming from 6a-10pm but check in advance.
Located in Laguna Beach, this is where I went here for my honeymoon back in 1994 and what a delightful spot to swim and surf.
Crystal Cove is a California State Park you don’t want to miss. However, it closes nightly at dusk. I walked the length of the beach in February solo and had a delightful time. It’s not busy or crowded at all.
The Wedge is known as a surfing beach with big waves.
Corona Del Mar State Beach
or crown of the sea. Locals call it CDM. It’s a neighborhood in Newport Beach, and a good swimming spot. It’s located at the foot of the San Juaquin Hills, on the east side of the jetty at the entrance to Newport Harbor. It is a half mile long of sandy beach, framed by rocky cliffs and a jetty.
There are two piers here, Newport Pier and Balboa Beach Pier.
8 miles long in total of nice beaches, known for the Parade of Lights at Christmas time, Balboa Island. You’ll see a lot of boats in the harbor here. Too many for me to count. Some are beautiful, too. I’ve spent many hours enjoying the surf on the sand here.
Huntington Beach is known as surf city and named in several surfing songs like those from Jan and Dean and the Beach Boys. Surfin Safari is one I like a lot.
Its name comes from a founder of the area, Henry Huntington, who was a railroad magnate. The waves are good to surf, and the surroundings are beautiful. It’s among the widest, cleanest and safest beaches in the region.
Bolsa Chica State Park
Within Huntington Beach is a three mile stretch of beach called Bolsa Chica State Park and you can surf and surf fish here, especially near the channel, with a fishing license. There is a beach campground, too.
Kite surfing, beach surfing and building sandcastles are favorite activities of Seal Beach, the northwestern part of Orange County. You can walk the pier and lots of fishing happens here, and yes you are sure to see at least an emblem of a seal all over town.
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