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Looking for Great Beach in California
Old 09-11-2016, 05:00 PM   #1
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Looking for Great Beach in California

Howdy-

I'm thinking of doing a (extended) family vacation to the beach. California is close(ish) to us and would like some recommendations for a great beach in California to stay at.

We'd be looking for something like a VRBO that opens onto a beach and where it is good swimming temps (are there better times of year to swim in the ocean or does Cali have year round swimming temperature)? Looking for a non crowed place, something that we won't be surrounded by hundreds of people (even though I'm sure I'd be a draw in my speedo ).

I am thinking early Spring (if temps are good) or late Fall (also to help with crowds).

It would be for 7 or so adults and a couple of kids.

So any beach or town suggestions to help me start the search?

Thanks
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Old 09-11-2016, 05:26 PM   #2
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A long time ago, I was lucky enough to be stationed (USAF) in Monterey. I got a beachfront apartment that cost me every nickel I had available (and then some), but it was worth it for a six month assignment.

The water in Monterey is cold (pretty deep out there) but not so cold that swimming was unpleasant. The beaches were also very uncrowded, a big thing for me.

Things might have changed since then, but you might consider that part of the coast. So many other reasons to spend time there, too.
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Old 09-11-2016, 05:35 PM   #3
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Hello, a whole lot of options available with 800+ miles of coastline : ) Have lived here most of my life and have a few favorites. Bear in mind there are not really any beaches where you'll have warm water. The times you are planning to visit will have the water temperatures ranging from high 50's to possibly reaching 70'.

Eliminating the more wild/remote Nor Cal beaches I'd start with Santa Cruz, Monterey and Carmel Ca. Carmel very nice but not a ton of places to stay right on the beach.

In So Cal I'd start with Orange County where you have on-beach options in Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. Laguna Beach has a lot of options with also great restaurants. The times of year you are planning will have beaches relatively uncrowded in most areas. In San Diego the La Jolla area is also great with availability close to the beach.

In between those areas there are also a lot of options that can range from very quiet/remote to a bit busier.

Lot to choose from.
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Old 09-11-2016, 05:40 PM   #4
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I hope the OP is planning to lay on the beach/walk the beach not actually go more than ankle deep in the water. Early spring and fall off the shore of California will be chilly water. It's not like Florida, not even close. Here's a water temperature map that may be helpful: Intellicast - Water Temperatures in United States
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Old 09-11-2016, 05:44 PM   #5
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I am partial to the beach in Coronado.

There is no place in California where you would want to swim without a wet suit in the early spring. Fall is more doable, but keep in mind that the warmest our water ever gets is about 74 degrees in August. By the end of September, it's back below 70 degrees again. In northern California, summer ocean temps usually won't be over 60 degrees.

There are many beach towns in So Cal where you could rent a place within a few blocks of the ocean, but I don't think you'll find many places where you can rent directly on the beach. It's usually going to be at least across the street or across a boardwalk. All beaches in the state are public except those on military bases, so even if there's a hotel or houses on the beach, there's still some way to walk to the sand.
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Old 09-11-2016, 05:49 PM   #6
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I live in Southern California and can address a few questions.

Southern California beach temps are tolerable in the mid-late summer through September - then get darn chilly. Water temps early this morning were 69 and about 1/3 of the surfers were not wearing wetsuits. If you want temps in the mid 70's your best bet is August... although there was a 3 day temp drop a few weeks ago where the water temp went from 74 to 62 overnight... before bouncing back up to 70. (I happened to be at the beach a few days that week and it was COLD one of the days.)

As far as VRBO - here in San Diego I can reccomend the La Jolla Shores area, Pacific Beach. and Mission beach. La Jolla Beach and Tennis club has apartments - but they are pretty pricey. You might want to check out Crystal Pier - we've stayed there and you can't beat the location - it's literally WEST of the beach - cottages on the pier.
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Looking for Great Beach in California
Old 09-11-2016, 05:54 PM   #7
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Looking for Great Beach in California

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpinDr View Post
Hello, a whole lot of options available with 800+ miles of coastline : ) Have lived here most of my life and have a few favorites. Bear in mind there are not really any beaches where you'll have warm water. The times you are planning to visit will have the water temperatures ranging from high 50's to possibly reaching 70'.



Eliminating the more wild/remote Nor Cal beaches I'd start with Santa Cruz, Monterey and Carmel Ca. Carmel very nice but not a ton of places to stay right on the beach.



In So Cal I'd start with Orange County where you have on-beach options in Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. Laguna Beach has a lot of options with also great restaurants. The times of year you are planning will have beaches relatively uncrowded in most areas. In San Diego the La Jolla area is also great with availability close to the beach.



In between those areas there are also a lot of options that can range from very quiet/remote to a bit busier.



Lot to choose from.

Ditto. Water is warmer in the winter. I remember swimming in the ocean once (once) in Aptos on New Year's Day. Northern California--forget it. It's usually pretty darn cold. That is why California has the best weather on the planet, bar none. Enjoy the beach, not the swimming.

BTW, I have very happy memories of Sunday champagne brunch at Newport Beach. Nice harbor, pleasant weather most of the year.

http://www.californiabeaches.com/pac...ifornia-coast/


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Looking for Great Beach in California
Old 09-11-2016, 05:58 PM   #8
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Looking for Great Beach in California

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Originally Posted by rodi View Post
I live in Southern California and can address a few questions.

Southern California beach temps are tolerable in the mid-late summer through September - then get darn chilly. Water temps early this morning were 69 and about 1/3 of the surfers were not wearing wetsuits. If you want temps in the mid 70's your best bet is August... although there was a 3 day temp drop a few weeks ago where the water temp went from 74 to 62 overnight... before bouncing back up to 70. (I happened to be at the beach a few days that week and it was COLD one of the days.)

As far as VRBO - here in San Diego I can reccomend the La Jolla Shores area, Pacific Beach. and Mission beach. La Jolla Beach and Tennis club has apartments - but they are pretty pricey. You might want to check out Crystal Pier - we've stayed there and you can't beat the location - it's literally WEST of the beach - cottages on the pier.

I thought the currents changed and brought warmer water farther north in the winter months. One learns something every day.


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Old 09-11-2016, 07:08 PM   #9
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I really like Coronado. Winter water temps can be around 60 or a little higher but doesn't seem to keep kids out. Navy seal trainees seem to go swimming every few days!! A number of vacation rentals but cost depends on the time of year. Winter for me is very nice and uncrowded. Summers can be pretty crazy. Very walkable with easy access to downtown San Diego.
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Old 09-11-2016, 08:01 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the replies!

I will have a lot to check out, we will definitely be swimming, most, if not all of us, are 'not the layout' type of people. "Not that there's anything wrong with that"

August might be the time to go.
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Old 09-11-2016, 10:32 PM   #11
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+1 on Pacific Beach and Crystal Pier. Crystal Pier may not be ideal with that large of a group, plus it books up months in advance. There are lots of beachfront vacation rental homes in Pacific Beach though.


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Old 09-12-2016, 12:56 AM   #12
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The water is pretty cold up here in Nor Cal all year for swimming though many brave souls still do. We do our ocean swimming and snorkeling in Hawaii.

There are many pretty beaches up here and central California with kayaking, tide pooling, hiking and lots of touristy attractions around so there's lots to do other than just lay out on the beach.
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Old 09-12-2016, 06:09 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Ronnieboy View Post
Thanks for all the replies!

I will have a lot to check out, we will definitely be swimming, most, if not all of us, are 'not the layout' type of people. "Not that there's anything wrong with that"

August might be the time to go.

A better pick than spring for sure


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Old 09-12-2016, 09:51 PM   #14
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I used to live in CA, and generally anything central coast and above is wetsuit the whole year. More southern is better for warmer water, but as pointed out warmer is relative. The water from San Francisco and north is very cold all year. The bigger expansive beaches are in southern CA anyway, more rocky and cliffs in the northern part.
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Old 09-13-2016, 04:26 PM   #15
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Also note that the warmer time of the year for most (summer) in Nor Cal can be quite cold (see Mark Twain's quote). Early Fall/Late Spring tend to be the warmer times for the beach. Summer can often be cool and cloudy most of the day (case in point SF went the entire Month of Aug without being above 70F this year)
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Old 09-14-2016, 10:35 AM   #16
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You might also want to check out the Ventura area, less crowded and less of the riff raff that you'll get at any of the beaches south of it.
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Old 09-14-2016, 12:07 PM   #17
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I'm lucky enough to live in Coronado. The "main" beach up there (near the Hotel Del) was voted as the best beach in America by some important organization last year. Unfortunately, Coronado law prohibits short-term rentals (such as VRBO) on the "island" itself. Some renters will roll the dice and rent by weeks, but ask that you don't tell anyone. Others will charge you for a full month.

An option to consider would be the Silver Strand State Beach. You can rent RV space there, and rent an RV and live right on the beach for a week. Some friends of mine who live locally did this this year and really enjoyed their time, and are planning to make it an annual "stay"-cation. The benefit of Silver Strand is that it's relatively inexpensive to have a spot right on the beach, you meet cool people hanging out, and the beach itself is very nice and generally not overrun.

I'd warn you that it can be tough to get reservations at the spaces there during the summer months (Memorial Day to Labor Day specifically), but much easier in the "offseason." Of course, our "offseason" weather is basically the same as our "in season" weather for all but about two months of the year...

Now, regarding water temperatures, you're going to be hard pressed to find a time where the water is warm enough to do a lot of long-term playing. Some summers (like 2015) water temps get up into the mid-70s; others, they never get into the 70s. I've done ocean swims for triathlons out here in as cold as 52 degrees in May in Ventura, so good luck finding warm enough water in SoCal in the spring, but you might have better luck in the fall.

In San Diego itself, Pacific Beach and Mission Beach probably has good VRBO. Ocean Beach would be another option with a great little strip of restaurants and bars. You might also check La Jolla/Bird Rock for Windandsea Beach up there, or on the north shore of La Jolla Cove. Just depends on what you're looking for and what you want to spend.

Other towns I'd recommend checking for VRBOs would be some of the small beach towns in north San Diego County, specifically Solana Beach and Encinitas would be my two favorites. You could look at bigger cities like Carlsbad/Oceanside as well, but I really enjoy the character of the first two little beach towns myself.

If I were in your shoes looking to VRBO, I'd go with one of those (Solana Beach or Encinitas) or look into the RV rental at Silver Strand. You're probably going to be SOL (or breaking local laws) if you try short-term rental in Coronado itself.
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Old 09-14-2016, 02:07 PM   #18
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I live in Ventura County and can verify and confirm all that has been said. I think I have the best of both worlds in that DH and I hit the beaches from Santa Barbara north- an hour away to south down to San Diego 3 hours away. We've used VRBO many times along with staying on Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach. But I think you might want to go down south starting with Newport Beach all the way down to Pacific Beach or Coronado in San Diego. We just spent a lovely week using VRBO in Santa Barbara with a great rental 5 minute walk to beaches. But water was too cold to go in. Usually averages about 59 degrees. Look into San Clemente - we were there early August and water temp was wonderful about 74 degrees the day we were there. It's a quaint little town right on the beach. Have been hitting the beaches there for 35+ years. You have a wonderful decision to make. When you finally decide let us know loved to hear what you decide.


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Old 09-14-2016, 02:52 PM   #19
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I would recommend Laguna Beach. The water is cold in September so forget swimming.
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Old 09-14-2016, 02:58 PM   #20
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One should look at the actual water temperatures here: https://www.currentresults.com/Ocean...nia-summer.php

Of course, if there is a breeze and cloudy it will feel much colder.

Having lived all my life in California, I don't think of the beaches as swimming destinations. But if you are OK with cold, go for it.
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