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!

blog post_ beaches.png

  • 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.

IMG_1181.jpg

  • 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.)

IMG_0711.jpg

  • 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!

IMG_0603

  • 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

 

Living With & Understanding My Diagnosis

Beginning of 2018 I found out that I was having high blood pressure. I had several tests done, a diet change, started medication, and was taken off birth control because of it. All the tests came back normal and I was taken off the blood pressure medication when my BP dropped too low. The doctors came to the conclusion that my hormonal birth control was causing my high BP. 

The next few months quickly became some of the hardest I’ve had in the last few years. About two months after stopping birth control, I went to my doctor for a follow up on my menstrual cycle. I told her I was happy being off the birth control because my cycle finally normalized and I was having fewer migraines but the negatives were not worth it for me. I was starting to get very depressed again, even having thoughts of self harm, but only when my cycle was about to start. I would get very aggressive, cry uncontrollably, have intense mood swings, binge-eat, and experience so many other symptoms. This was when she diagnosed me with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder(PMDD). She explained what it was and how it was affecting me. The hormonal birth control was keeping the PMDD at a normal level for me which is why it hadn’t been diagnosed earlier.

The next few months I tried to work with my PMDD. I took advice from other people, looked into some medications, and even joined support groups. Knowing about my diagnosis only made me feel worse. It was maddening to know that there was a part of my brain that completely took over my body leaving me impaired. I was frustrated that my relationships were suffering because of it. It consumed me. I became more depressed and fell down the rabbit hole. I stopped taking care of myself and stopped caring in general.

December 2018 I went through a lot. My boyfriend and I broke up and it made me realize how “damaged” I was. Now that doesn’t mean we solely broke up because of my PMDD(separate issues for another time) but it was a big factor because it controlled my emotions and how I interacted with others. I was on my own and didn’t know how to handle it. I started having panic attacks all the time and literally felt like my skin was burning and I was dying. The panic attacks started happening at work and became more severe. I was already seeing a psychiatrist and therapist trying to get things under control but my PMDD struck hard. End of December my cycle was about to start. There was so much going on in my personal life and in my head that I reached a breaking point. End of December I almost took my life. There was so much pain around and inside me that I couldn’t take it. The only reason I didn’t follow through is because I received a phone call at the exact time I was about to do something.

That phone call is the reason I’m here and telling all of this to you. January 2019 I took a leave of absence from my job to focus on my mental health and get myself stable. I had so many doctor visits, started new medication, and continued seeing my therapist. I kept myself around my friends and family but treasured my alone time. I even got myself on a normal sleep schedule and was eating frequently again – I had lost 10 pounds in three months.

I went back to work on January 30th and have been continuing my medication and therapy. My PMDD is still a learning process of finding what works for me and what doesn’t. I felt completely alone with this diagnosis. I felt insane, especially the last few months of 2018. I felt like everything I was feeling and experiencing was wrong, that nobody else felt like me. If you’ve been diagnosed with PMDD or think you may have it, I want you to know that you’re not alone. It’s a horrible disorder that is very hard to cope with. I’ll be sharing more about my journey and please feel free to reach out to me at any time!

Learn more about PMDD here and check out the PMDD tracker app, Me VS. PMDD.

 

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.

IMG_1112.jpg

  • 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.

IMG_0722.JPG

 

  • 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!)

IMG_1113.jpg

  • 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!

IMG_1111.jpg

 

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!