11 Little Known Beaches in Northern California That’ll Make Your Summer Unforgettable. Prohibition was a dark time in U.S. History. Surrounded by the Pescadero Marsh, a wildlife refuge, and Pescadero Creek, the town is a local tourist destination during the warm summer months. If kids are in tow, they’re sure to appreciate the hotel’s private entrance to the LEGOLAND California amusement park. Avila Beach is a great place for whale watching to spot the gray and humpback whales that come to visit or just enjoy the long stretches of sandy beaches. The area was named after the Chumash word for tar, “Pismu”, which was gathered in a nearby canyon. It’s the northernmost beach in the county, offering surf-ready waves and spectacular views from one of the longest wooden piers in the state. Located at the heart of Santa Barbara’s Riviera, Franceschi Park is named after a noted Italian horticulturalist, Francesco Franceschi. 7 Gorgeous Wine Country Hotels Around the World, The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square. You should also keep an eye out for elephant seals if you’re here in the winter. Home to nearly 3,500 miles of coastline, California is a beach lover’s paradise. Point Reyes is a cape off the Pacific coast in Marin County, just 30 miles north of San Francisco on the Point Reyes Peninsula. It has not been marked to avoid vandalism, but the trail keeps you close by. South Ponto Beach sits on the border of Carlsbad and Encinitas in an undeveloped area, making it one of the widest beaches in the county with plenty of space for picnics, volleyball, and other activities. But just in case you want a little more structure to your trip, here are five Stop by this charming historic town to see the old Mission. The basement still remains attached to the network of city tunnels. This will take you down to a subterranean passageway filled with street art. Docents will provide you with any information about these curious creatures, and you can see them up close and personal! While perhaps not as shiny as actual gold, the region struck figurative gold and is now rich in wine production in areas like Apple Hill and Pleasant Valley, known for vibrant, flavorful wines. Visit any time during the year, but the best times are in late January, late April or late October to see over 15,000 elephant seals resting on this secluded beach. You can camp nearby for the ultimate outdoor experience. However, Sierra City’s main business now is tourism because of its history and picturesque location. Mammoth Lakes is a beautiful tourist destination today, but thousands of years ago, a volcano exploded, creating the terrain that we enjoy now, and leaving behind a network of hot springs. Bring your hiking boots and check out El Dorado National Forest or Desolation Wilderness – both great backpacking destinations for the outdoors enthusiast. Thanks to South Ponto’s relative seclusion, the free parking spaces along Coast Highway are always plentiful, especially during non-summer months. If you visit the town now, you’ll see many preserved buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, like the old Soda Works, Confidence Hall, or Church of Our Savior. But locals know there’s just as much fun to be had—and much smaller crowds—on the white sands of, . Only locals know about this hotspot, but even they can’t get to it when the tide is high. Stop in at Arangeli’s Market for some delicious, homemade bread that locals and tourists rave about. Famous cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco are the first places that people think of when thinking about California, and stereotypes come to mind about beach blondes or surfer guys, images reinforced by Hollywood movies time and again. Located in Death Valley, this sinkhole is consisted of a small spring-fed pool that is tainted with salts from the surrounding basins, making it undrinkable and adding to the unique physical appearance of the basin. Enjoy the biodiversity present and unique salt flats of the Badwater Basin – bring your own camera and bottle of water! Boasting amenities of large towns, there was a bank, jail and lots of saloons along Main Street! After a long day of biking, swimming, or surfing, rest at the Miyako Hybrid Hotel, a luxury, eco-friendly stay located just minutes from the beach. So buckle up, bring your camera and get ready to discover a few places perhaps not in your guidebooks, but very much worth the time. California is known for its grand mansions in Malibu, but one rarely thinks of castles when they picture this sunny state. Tour Hearst Castle to admire the different architectural influences and sheer grandeur of the buildings. Enjoy College Cove, one of Northern California’s finest beaches, surrounded by the ocean on one side and pine and spruce on the other. There is a local Harley Farms Goat Dairy, or a beloved taqueria at the gas station called Taqueria y Mercado de Amigos. You can still see knick-knacks and his unique architectural style in the house, which is considered a California Historical Landmark. However, as wonderful as the cities are, there is so much more to California waiting to be discovered. Placerville is located in El Dorado County, near Sutter’s Mill (where gold was first discovered in California). Hearst Castle, built in Cambria, California, defies these expectations. Rent your own car and get ready to veer off the beaten path to discover forests and beaches so far removed from civilization that you will feel like they were made just for you! Despite rigid alcohol laws, over 11 miles of tunnels under the city became passageways to speakeasies, like the famous King Eddy Saloon that doubled as a piano store, but whose basements formed part of the tunnel networks. sits on the border of Carlsbad and Encinitas in an undeveloped area, making it one of the widest beaches in the county with plenty of space for picnics, volleyball, and other activities. Check out our recommendations for the best hidden gems in California! Following its decline after its heyday in the 20s and 30s, Hearst’s family found the upkeep very expensive and donated it to the state. Open from mid-May to end of November, this ancient forest is well worth the visit. The Spanish were the first Europeans to travel through the area, at the time called “Alta California”, which has been inhabited by westerners since then. Or, check out Dinosaur Caves Park and browse the local Pismo Beach Farmers market for a snack. The 3.5 mile beach is perfect for wildlife lovers, who may catch a glimpse of numerous native fish and bird species. Nearby, the, features a full-service spa and golf course. Stay nearby at the ideally-located, , within walking distance to The Shops at Rossmoor and the. You can also take a ride on the historic Skunk Train or ride a horse along the beach. But aren’t you sick of going to the same beach year after year? While the house is a bit run down, the 15 acre park is crisscrossed by trails, and boasts many high vistas from which to observe the town below. Or, if you fancy a more outdoorsy vacation, rent a private yurt via, There’s enough of a descent to San Francisco’s, that tourists tend to opt for the neighboring (and more easily accessible), instead. A true local secret, come snag your parking spot early – the parking lot is small and fills up quickly! Explore More: See all Seal Beach, CA hotels. Beach-happy visitors to Orange County are often quick to make their way to tourist mainstays like Laguna, Newport, and Long Beach. The town often draws day-trippers from Silicon Valley, and many folks from all over who want to hit the surf. In the past, it was where goods were shipped out on mule trains. When the tide recedes, explore the tide pools left behind for starfish, clams, sea urchins and mussels! You can also take a kayak out at Tomales Bay! After a long day of biking, swimming, or surfing, rest at the. It is even said some remnants are from nearby Heart Castle, where he worked for a time! Stop by to revisit Gold Rush History or take a wine-tasting tour! Come visit this curious corner of the world and bring your camera – there is animal and plant life existing in the pool, such as pickleweed and the Badwater snail.