San Francisco's Baker Beach tops many beach lovers' lists.
There's a lot to love where the sand meets the water. We asked about your most treasured beaches, and you raved about these favorites.
AGATE BEACH AT PATRICK'S POINT STATE PARK Trinidad, Calif. "A beautiful trail and staircase lead down to the southern end of the beach," write Marie Carbone and Steve Bage of Sausalito, Calif. "Before you know it, yours are the only footprints; ocean is on your left, cliffs—and lots of empty sand—are on your right." (707) 677-3570, www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=417.
BAKER BEACH San Francisco. "Right outside the Golden Gate, this has been my family's choice since 1897, when my grandparents arrived from France," says Janine Duchein Sprout of Markleeville, Calif. "It's the scene of many family picnics in the dunes, watching sunsets, the bridge, and the Marin Headlands." (415) 561-4374, www.nps.gov/prsf/planyourvisit/baker-beach.htm.
BANDON BEACH Bandon, Ore. "This beautiful sandy beach with its bird-covered sea stacks and famous rock faces is part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge," says Ed Riche of Boise, Idaho. "A paradise in summer—and in winter for storm watchers—this place captures my heart and soul." (541) 347-9616, www.bandon.com.
CANNON BEACH Cannon Beach, Ore. "This great nine-mile stretch of sand is enjoyed by kite flyers, sand-castle builders, and walkers," says Marilyn McLaughlin of Salinas, Calif. "Haystack Rock there rises 235 feet from the sea." (503) 436-2623, www.cannonbeach.org.
CAPITOLA CITY BEACH Capitola, Calif. "It's 15 minutes from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, 45 minutes north of Monterey, and a few miles from wonderful surfing," writes Mary Gallagher of Danville, Calif. "A sheltered bay, it has lifeguards and a pier for strolling and fishing." (831) 475-6522, www.capitolachamber.com.
CARMEL RIVER STATE BEACH Carmel, Calif. "At the mouth of the Carmel River is a huge lagoon and a major birding area," says Alice Englander of Carmel-by-the-Sea. "We see Canada geese, pelicans, killdeers, and sanderlings. We often arrive for sunrise over the Santa Lucia Mountains." (831) 624-4909, www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=567.
CORONADO BEACH Coronado, Calif. "Miles of white sand, surf, and solitude make it a beachcomber's paradise," says Patricia Kabrich of Las Vegas. "The dazzling, historic Hotel del Coronado nearby reminds you of times when living was easy." (619) 437-8788, www.coronadovisitorcenter.com.
NEVADA BEACH Round Hill Village, Nev. "The beach has to be at least a mile long and the only time it seems crowded is the Fourth of July," says Sarah Binks of South Lake Tahoe, Calif. "It's a great place to sit and enjoy the beauty of the Sierra Nevada." (530) 543-2600, www.fs.fed.us/r5/ ltbmu/recreation/camping/nvbeach.shtml.
Photography courtesy Janine Duchein Sprout
This article was first published in September 2004. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.