Posts Tagged ‘Santa Cruz’

Dancing on the Beach

This October in North California has been glorious. We’ve spent each weekend at the shore and keep discovering ever nicer beaches.  Manresa State Beach may now be my all time favourite for this bit of the coast. It’s a little off the beaten path, is usually completely empty and is spectacularly gorgeous.

Do beaches get any nicer?

I love the super gentle slope down to the sea and how shallow the water remains for 100 feet or so off shore.  The Monkey really enjoyed running in and out of the waves and was dancing on the shore with glee when we first arrived last weekend. 

running in and out of the surf

The boys had great fun digging, checking out the many crab carcasses that littered the beach, paddling, jumping in holes and driving their trucks along the shore.
Perfect sand for trucks

Plus, there was plenty of wildlife to watch. The Puppy Dog loved chasing the sea gulls and watching the birds and, on this visit, we were joined by a pod of playful dolphins for about an hour.  They were leaping out of the water and surfing in the waves. As the group was only 100 yards or so from shore, Mommy and Daddy took turns to swim out and join them (I find the water in the Bay here significantly warmer than at Half Moon Bay and fine for swimming on a hot day). It was one of those afternoons that make me infinitely thankful that we live in such a beautiful part of the world: what can be better than watching two happy, sandy babies run free on the beach and swimming with wild dolphins in the October surf?

Dolphins. Honest.

There are only very basic amenities at this beach — just a small car park and toilet block.  And there is the usual $10 day use fee.  But if you want an empty, remote (ish), beautiful beach perfect for toddlers, I don’t think you can beat Manresa.  We’ll certainly be there a lot again next year.


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We love going to the shore, and North Cali beaches seem to be at their finest in October. There’s just one problem. Pumpkins. It takes more intrepid souls than us to sit in three hour traffic to Half Moon Bay on October weekends, so we’ve used the past few weeks to check out some more Santa Cruz beaches.  New Brighton State Beach has quickly become a favourite.  It’s absolutely beautiful and usually (by my European standards) really, really empty. An added plus in October are the monarch butterflies–we were surrounded by them on the short walk down to the sand.

The beach here is wide and slopes gently to the sea.: perfect for sand play and paddling.  The boys loved it.

The Puppy Dog had a magnificent time
Look Mom! Sand!

There was plenty of parking right by the beach. I should mention there is a $10 charge to park: coming from England I think that is entirely reasonable for a day use fee, but I did meet one American who thought it was outrageous.  The state beach is nicely maintained. There aren’t many amenities, but there are basic bathrooms and a great outdoor shower to de-sand toddlers.

We stopped in Capitola on the way home and found a fish and chip supper with this view.  Hard to beat.
Who needs pumpkins anyhow.

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