5 Beautiful Beaches to Visit in California

Growing up in Minnesota I was surrounded by 10,000 lakes(it’s our state motto)

FUN FACT: There are actually 11,842 lakes in Minnesota. However, depending on who you talk to or based off an old state survey, there’s a range of 15,000-21,000 lakes in the entire state.

Basically, I love the water. Since being in California, my love for water has exponentially grown. I find myself having beach trips all year round and try to go to as many different ones as I can. In recent years, beach trips have been a cathartic experience for me. I go to find peace within myself and to find clarity in life’s situations. So if you’re traveling to California and want to know the beaches or currently live here and simply want to find new spots, this post is definitely for you!

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  • Santa Cruz
    • It’s a super popular and well known beach in the Bay Area and definitely the place to be in the summer! You can visit the Santa Cruz Boardwalk that has a ton of rides, games, and other attractions. There are even free concert and movie nights done on the beach that populate a lot of people but are super fun to do! There are several other beaches surrounding the Santa Cruz area. Not far from the Boardwalk, you can visit Seabright State Beach and Natural Bridges State Beach. I like to go to Seabright when I want to be a little bit more secluded(TRAVEL BONUS: There’s a lighthouse here!) Natural Bridges is also a must see due to the beautiful sand and natural formations of the rocks and cliffs. There are also several tide pools here that are fun to explore!
    • FUN FACT: Love the movie Lost Boys? A few scenes were filmed on the boardwalk including the train track scene! You can actually walk on those tracks! *Please use caution but it’s totally fun!*
  • Panther Beach
    • Truthfully I haven’t been to Panther Beach in several years – nothing bad about it! – I just don’t make my way over to Davenport very often(I should change that soon). My friend and I came here to have a chill beach day but didn’t want to be around a ton of people. The drive is beautiful and the walk down to the beach is quite adventurous! You’ll have to walk a ways down to get to the sand so make sure you’re prepared for a tiny little hike. It’s definitely a secluded area with gorgeous views. Here’s a picture of me when we went – my hair used to be ridiculously long.

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  • Pismo Beach
    • I have so many beautiful things to say about Pismo Beach. I’ve taken two solo trips to this area when I’ve really felt like my life has been overwhelming. Living in the Bay is always fast-paced and onto the next hottest trend. Coming down to this area(San Luis Obispo/Pismo Beach/Arroyo Grande) is a wonderful change of pace with breathtaking views in any direction you look. Pismo State Beach is so big and full of wonderful people! Everyone does their own thing but super friendly. You can either enjoy yourself down on the beach, relax on the pier, or check out all the shops that are around! (TRAVEL BONUS: Check out Mon Ami on the pier. Literally the best tasting crepes I’ve ever had. The chai tea is to die for too.)

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  • Avila Beach
    • Avila Beach is not far from Pismo Beach; about a 15 minute drive. Avila is a smaller beach but still quite large enough that you can have privacy. What I love about Avila beach is the scenery. I’ve spent hours here just walking on the beach or sitting on the large rocks and reading or doing whatever I feel like. There is a pier but it’s closed to the public. Above the beach is a bunch of shops and restaurants that are all so wonderful. Check out my Pismo Beach food recommendations here!

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  • Venice Beach
    • Think of any California surfer/skater movie – Venice is that vibe perfectly. So many people come here to bike or roller skate around the sidewalks and there’s a skate park too! The beach is huge and has a very relaxing and chill vibe. I visited Venice beach in October and was blessed with beautiful weather! When you’re done soaking up the sun, you can check out all the shops, food spots, and vendors that line the street. Depending on the day you go, you’re bound to find some live entertainment as well!IMG_2264.JPG

 

Pismo Beach Food Recommendations

Pismo Beach and the surrounding area is a beautiful place to visit. I find myself coming here whenever I need a change of pace or clarity with myself or my life. I have a few favorite places I visit each time but of course I always love trying new places! My food recommendations below!

 

  • Mon Ami
    • I LOVE crepes! I love how light and delicious they are – sweet and savory! Mon Ami makes beautiful creations and has a wonderful atmosphere. When you walk in you immediately step into France. The decor is very calm and pleasing. I love dining inside, enjoying my food and tea, and reading a book. Every time I’ve come here the employees are so friendly and sweet and make the experience that much better. My favorite crepe is the Pismo – ham and cheese, mmmm. My go to drink is their Vanilla Chai Tea. I don’t know what they use but it’s literally heaven. I am an avid chai tea drinker and nothing compares! It’s my absolute favorite spot to get some.

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  • Blue Moon Over Avila
    • The last trip I took to Pismo Beach I decided to treat myself on my last night there. Blue Moon Over Avila is a fun French restaurant that overlooks Avila Beach. Outdoor and indoor seating is available along with a bar. Any time I go out to eat by myself I always choose the bar. Why? No idea. As stated before, I’m a huge tea drinker. What I loved about this place is that they give you an individual teapot for your drink. It gave it so much more of a pleasing aesthetic and it was nice to prepare my tea exactly how I wanted it. I highly recommend getting the filet mignon. It had my mouth watering and leaving me wanting more when I was finished! I was truly impressed. Are you on Yelp? Make sure to check in here to get a FREE appetizer – the French Garlic Bread is extremely good and a light appetizer to start.

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  • Pismo Yogurt
    • Okay so nothing insanely fancy about this one but support your local businesses! Pismo Yogurt is located by Pismo Beach Pier and is perfect for hot weather. They have fewer selections than Yogurtland or other big chain fro-yo shops but you still get really good choices! They have a bunch of yummy toppings too(my weakness). The day I went for some fro-yo I had planned for ~60 degree weather(according to the forecast…) it reached 80 degrees!! Needless to say, they were extremely busy that day.

 

  • Ocean Grill Avila Beach
    • This is another fun place to go to if you visit Avila Beach. It’s indoor seating but no matter where you sit you have a view of the ocean. Even at the bar there’s a giant TV that has a live feed of the ocean. I love having dinner and drinks here during the sunset. I’ve tried a variety of the food here and don’t think I really have a favorite – it’s all so good! Dessert here is really good too(Again, check in on Yelp to get some FREE!)

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  • Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards
    • Hands down my favorite winery! I found this place from a local to Pismo Beach. I was so happy I had the opportunity to meet him and that he told me to check this place out. It’s not a far drive and it’s secluded in the hills so it’s a beautiful drive. One of the cool attractions? They have peacocks! They wander all around and are so beautiful. The vineyard is family owned and one of the family members designs all of their artwork. The theme they use are mermaids and I’m amazed every time I go in and look at all their wine labels and paintings. Their wine is extremely good and my favorite one is their Golden Delicious Chardonnay. It’s their house chardonnay infused with apples. Another cool thing about it? The apples used are from the apple orchard next door to them! Seriously, I don’t know if this place can get any cooler. Make sure to check in on Yelp again here so you can get a free tasting!

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More recommendations to come when I visit again! If you’re in the area and try these places out let me know what you think!

LA Food Recommendations

When I go to a new city I like to try new food places. I know a lot of people who are totally fine hitting up the same food chains in different cities but I don’t prefer it. I like to immerse myself in a full experience of a new place and that includes food!

Los Angeles, like most major tourist cities, has a ton of places you can try. I started by using Yelp to see what places people were raving about. My mom had talked to some coworkers and received recommendations from them and our Airbnb host was absolutely amazing and gave us some amazing recommendations as well.

Keep reading to see my recommendations to a few places we visited in Los Angeles!

  • Micelli’s
    • By far one of the most fun restaurants I’ve ever been to! A family owned restaurant, Micelli’s sits on a corner right near Universal Studios. There is a complimentary valet available to park your car in a private lot right outside. Once you step inside you feel like you’ve been transported to a different world. The decor inside is so fun and there’s always something new to look at. All the employees are so cheerful and happy to help. The best part? The waitresses sing! That’s right, all the waiters and waitresses take turns singing and putting on a show for everyone inside. Even with all this going they are very attentive to their tables. The food is absolutely amazing and I recommend trying their house wine and after dinner drinks.
  • Karl Strauss Brewing Company
    • Loved this place so much I visited twice! I have zero complaints. The staff were incredibly nice and gave fast service. They have a ton of beers you can choose from and they’ll give you a list of their daily specials as well. I went with the Windansea and enjoyed it very much – especially for me not being a huge beer drinker. I’m extremely basic when it comes to eating food so you won’t find any special recommendations from me. I love macaroni and cheese and practically did cartwheels when I saw it on their menu. It’s a huge helping and there was not a single piece left – most amazing food ever! There’s also the option of indoor and outdoor seating. I never got to sit outside but I would have loved to as you get to see the hustle and bustle of City Walk and can even get live music from performers below.
  • Porto’s Bakery
    • I wasn’t in the immediate area for this bakery but it was totally worth the drive! This is another family owned place with an amazing background story. Walking in and staring at all the delicacies was a little overwhelming because I wanted one of everything! If I had had more time I would have loved to try so many more items but the pastry I had was amazing by itself. Another great thing? It’s dirt cheap for amazing food. Our two items were less than a small coffee at Starbucks. You can’t beat that!
  • CatCafe Lounge
    • So I found this place on Airbnb and I’m obsessed. This organization takes in cats and helps socialize and prepare them to be adopted. For $25 you’re able to go hang out with 30+ cats for an hour and a half and help socialize them. All are up for adoption as well! It was one of my favorite parts about my trip – tea, lounging, and cats. It was really hard walking out of there not adopting some of them. Here is there website for more info!
  • BluJam Cafe
    • This was my favorite spot to have breakfast and I will absolutely be returning when I’m in Los Angeles again. There are several locations but the one I went to was on Melrose Avenue. It’s a small place but I never felt crowded. Since there were a lot of people it was fairly loud but not where you had to shout across the table and the music was kept at an acceptable volume. I also really loved the interior design. I felt so calm and at peace! Our host and waiter were extremely friendly and attentive and the food was 10/10. I highly recommend trying their french toast churros.

 

I have another trip to Los Angeles coming up soon so stay tuned for more recommendations!