California Coast Guide
Collected by Serena Renner , AFAR Contributor
An insider's guide to the best beaches, drives, eats, and hikes along California's Pacific Coast
Black Sand Beach, California, USA
We began our walk up the Lost Coast Trail by enjoying Black Sands Beach, which doesn't really have very much sand, in the Kings Range National Conservation Area. For the next 24 miles from Black Sands Beach, the Lost Coast Trail is primarily on...
Sunset Cliffs, San Diego, CA 92107, USA
To me, an oasis is anywhere or anything that allows you to process your thoughts, ignore your thoughts, or toss them to the wind. As a college student in San Diego, the place I would most often retreat was Sunset Cliffs. Sitting along the coast...
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956, USA
The craggy-rock view from the top of the staircase out to the Point Reyes National Seashore looks just fine from the top. But you didn't drive all this way to stand at the top while everyone else descends to see the historic Point Reyes...
Petaluma Ave, Sebastopol, CA 95472, USA
The Sea Ranch, a community located three hours north of San Francisco on the coast, comes close to Utopia for me. Founded by a group of UC Berkeley architects in the 1960s, Sea Ranch was conceived as a rustic escape from the city. The houses are...
1141 N Main St, Fort Bragg, CA 95437, USA
Residents of misty, moody Ft. Bragg used to throw their garbage from the cliffs above this beach. Entire cars, thrown into the surf. Then they cleaned it up. Decades later, what remains is just a pretty beach and a seemingly endless amount of...
3095 CA-1, Bodega Bay, CA 94923, USA
Many car commercials have been filmed along this stretch of the iconic California road. The hairpin turns and switchbacks make it a wild ride for some, but the views to the west (the ocean) and the east (Northern California's inimitable green...
I discovered this Marin Headlands view of the Golden Gate Bridge on one of my very first trips to San Francisco. In my three-plus years living in the Bay Area, I still haven’t found a view to top it. My favorite time to visit is just after sunset,...
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