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Favorite Piers and Wharves

Via readers share walkable piers where you can stroll out over water in California, Oregon, and Utah.

Via Readers
Avila Beach Pier along California's Central Coast, image
Photo caption
Avila Beach Pier, for pedestrians only, offers sweeping views of the town and its surrounds.

Avila Beach Piers Avila Beach, Calif. “There are two public piers in this friendly town,” says Vicki Dupuis of Sacramento. “The Harford Pier is a working wharf, with restaurants, where you can watch fishing boats unload. Picturesque Avila Beach Pier [left] is for pedestrians only.” (805) 595-5400,

Baylands Preserve Palo Alto, Calif. “An excellent place to cool off on a summer day,” says Laurie Barna of San Jose. “You can walk to the end of a wooden pier for a great view of salt marshes, the East Bay hills, and shorebirds.” (650) 329-2506.

Berkeley Municipal Pier Berkeley, Calif. “An enjoyable walk with 360-degree views,” says Laura Look of Pinole, Calif. “You can see the Golden Gate and Bay bridges, San Francisco, Treasure Island, and Angel Island.” (510) 981-6740,

Capitola Wharf Capitola, Calif. “True, the Santa Cruz Wharf is longer, but if you’re looking for tranquillity, ours is fantastic,” says Jane Parks-McKay of Capitola. “The wood planks feel good underfoot, and you can see all the way to Monterey and into the Santa Cruz Mountains. It’s paradise.” (831) 475-6522,

First Street Pier Benicia, Calif. “Beautiful in any weather,” promises Karen Love of Benicia. “Morning can bring fog and a view of sunrise over Mount Diablo. Sunsets offer glorious views toward the Carquinez Bridge.” (707) 746-4285,

Fort Baker Breakwater Sausalito, Calif. “I have enjoyed walking on the harbor’s breakwater with one of the world’s most beautiful views in front of me,” says Robert Anderson of Nevada City, Calif. “While ships pass, the Golden Gate Bridge towers above.” (415) 561-4700,

Library Park Pier Lakeport, Calif. “Clear Lake is the largest natural lake within California,” says Jane MacLean of Lakeport. “In summer, the park has Friday evening concerts.” (707) 263-5615,

Municipal Wharf II Monterey, Calif. “Everyone loves Fisherman’s Wharf here for shopping and dining,” writes Myrna Bronner of Carmel, Calif., “but for a change, drive out onto the nearby Municipal Wharf. You’ll find a couple of offbeat restaurants, and the Monterey Fish Company sells fresh seafood at good prices.” (831) 646-3950,

Historic Oceanside Pier Oceanside, Calif. “At 1,942 feet from shore to end, this is one of the West Coast’s longest wooden piers,” says Alice Berntson of Salem, Ore. “It’s great to walk out on it and look down at the waves.” (760) 721-1101,

Wetland Boardwalk at Wildwood Recreation Site Welches, Ore. “A great place to stop between Portland and Bend,” writes Leslie Olson of Bend, Ore. “It has wonderful interpretive displays on walkways over wetlands along the Salmon River, and an underwater viewing chamber.” (503) 622-3696,

Weber’s Pier Bandon, Ore. “Nothing tops catching fresh Dungeness crab off this pier on the Coquille River,” says Judy Ware of Boise. “Toss a baited crab pot over the side—of course keeping an eye out for kayakers, fishing boats, and seals.” (541) 347-9616,

Spiral Jetty Near the Golden Spike National Historic Site, Utah. “Accessible only when the Great Salt Lake is low, this 1,500-foot-long coiled jetty is so big it’s visible from space,” writes Erica Butler of Riverton, Utah. “Built by artist Robert Smithson in 1970, it’s still dazzling.” (212) 989-5566,

Photography by Chris Leschinsky

This article was first published in July 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.