Secluded Beaches in California: Less Crowded Beaches West Coast Edition
From San Diego to the San Francisco Bay and beyond, California is known for its diverse terrain and the stunning beaches that go with it. Whether it’s to catch the perfect wave or admire the rocky hills, people flock from across the country, and the world, to walk along the Golden State’s coastline.
But finding some tranquility away from the crowds isn’t as impossible as it might seem. Next time you’re off to see the West Coast, don’t miss these stunning beaches where you can escape the usual crowds.
1. Black Sands Beach
Any outdoor adventurer will love the fantasy landscape of northern California’s Black Sands Beach. Located at the end of the 20-mile Long Coast Trail, this secret beach is a hidden refuge for nature lovers hoping to get glimpses of wildlife as they explore the brilliant black shores.
2. Wildcat Beach
Though you’ll need to prepare for an 8-mile round-trip hike, once you reach Wildcat Beach, you’ll be greeted with a stunning waterfall as the nearby Alamere Creek cascades onto the sand. Although the shore can be completely wet at high tides, the idyllic landscape is hard to beat.
3. Gold Bluffs Beach
For a misty and magical getaway, escape to the shores of California’s Gold Bluffs Beach. Located within Redwood State Park’s lush forests, a little over an hour from the Oregon border, Gold Bluffs is off the typical tourist path and is a locally-loved camping destination.
4. Mattole Beach
Hidden away on California’s so-called “Lost Coast,” Mattole Beach features miles of wide sandy shores where you’re unlikely to bump into any other tourists (or people for that matter). And with Wifi-, electricity-, and plumbing-free campsites, it’s the perfect place to disconnect and immerse yourself in the stunning northern California landscape.
5. Marshall’s Beach
Just north of the popular Baker’s Beach, Marshall’s Beach offers picturesque views of the Golden Gate Bridge without all of the crowds. While you shouldn’t plan on swimming, the beach is perfect for catching San Francisco Bay’s stunning sunsets if you’re willing to make the descent down the winding trail.
6. Tomales Bay
Though not your typical destination for a beach outing, Tomales Bay is a must-see location for the adventurer in all of us. The S.S. Reyes, once a World War II launch vessel and later a salmon fishing boat, has sat washed up on the shores of the bay for at least 20 years. While we don’t recommend climbing aboard, the boat makes for a unique, Instagram-worthy beach experience.
7. South Ponto Beach
The beaches of San Diego are both a tourist hotspot and local favorite, but just north of the city lies Carlsbad, a quieter and just as beautiful alternative. Sitting in an undeveloped area along the border of Carlsbad county, South Ponto Beach is an easy-to-reach yet crowd-free place to enjoy the California sunshine.
8. Bowling Ball Beach
Named after the unusually round rocks that populate the shoreline, Bowling Ball Beach is one of the most intriguing hidden beaches in the state. Many of the tourists that do know about it don’t bother with the mildly strenuous hike, but those that are willing to make the journey get to lay eyes on a unique natural phenomenon.
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