The beaches in California are legendary, but sometimes you just want to get away from the crowd. With more than 1300km of coastline, the state has plenty of places for visitors to spend some peaceful time enjoying the waves and relaxing in the sun.

Enderts Beach

endertscreativecommons.org/ David Berry

Part of the Redwood National and State Parks, Enderts remains deserted not because it’s difficult to reach or is not picturesque, but because most people don’t know it exists. It’s only half a mile from the highway and has to be accessed on foot, but the trail isn’t difficult and is easily navigated by most visitors. Hikers on the Coastal Trail can reach the area by taking the Last Chance trail that follows and old section of the Redwood Highway.

It’s a prime spot for relaxing in March and April when the whales are migrating just off shore. November and December are also prime whale months although the weather doesn’t feel quite as beach-y. On a warm day it’s a fine place to have a picnic and enjoy the splash of the water without the noise of the city around you.

Wildcat Beach

wildcatcreativecommons.org/ Miguel Vieira

Getting to this beach at Point Reyes National Seashore requires a bit more dedication and some sturdy boots. It’s nearly 9km away from the campground along a marked trail that is a bit strenuous to traverse. A longer path starting at Five Brooks is suitable for cyclists to use. Once here you may as well stay and enjoy the scenery before the long hike back home

The beach is 4km long with a nice strip of sand and a flat entrance into the water. One of the main attractions here however is Alamere Falls, one of only two tide-falls that are on a beach. The falls are most impressive during the rainy season but are running most other seasons as well.

Shaw’s Cove

It’s relatively easy to get to and not far from the Laguna Beach scene, but doesn’t have as many visitors to its sands. It will probably be a bit of a hike from where you park your car and the staircase can be a bit off-putting, but once on the beach its almost always empty except for the few who come here to snorkel and dive.

The beach is protected from large swells and novice divers find it a great place to practice their skills. Snorkelers enjoy the reef just as much without quite as much equipment to haul back up the stairs. The sand is inviting to sunbathers and lifeguards patrol the beach so swimmers should feel safe.

Little Corona

Officially known as the Robert E. Badham Marine Conservation Area, this is another beach that’s close to a city but off most people’s radar, partly because it comes with rules. As part of a conservation area, removal of marine life or even shells is prohibited. No barbecues, fires or dogs either. A lifeguard is sometimes stationed both to keep an eye on swimmers and to keep an eye on the tide pools.

Little Corona is a great place for kids or anyone fascinated with sea life because the tidal pools there harbour many amazing creatures that are easily viewed at low tide. For the serious budding marine biologists, information on what can be found is available from the marine protection organization. Remember to check the tide tables before venturing out to the beach.

Point Buchon

port buchoncreativecommons.org/ Malcolm Carlaw

Montana de Oro State Park has a trail that until recently led to a chain link fences, but the Pacific Gas and Electric Company decided to open their land and allow visitors to reach the beautiful stretch of coastline that accesses Point Buchon. The entire hike is about 10.5km through flat terrain with some nice views along the way.

The coast here is more for viewing although you could climb down the cliff to the water. Most visitors enjoy the short hike around the point and the unspoiled coastline that hasn’t had human visitors for many years.

Come travelling with us!
Insider guides to everywhere, win trips to exotic locations, exclusive travel deals & discounts and more.