I don’t know about you, but get me to the beach with my kids and dogs and I’m a happy camper! Summer and family fun goes hand-n-hand with our beautiful California beaches. Many of these beaches are state parks—be sure to check hours and seasonal facility openings before heading out.
Here are eight of our favorites. Crissy Field Beach. The action at Crissy Field never stops. Kids and dogs (they’re okay off-leash here) flock to the inviting water’s edge of San Francisco Bay, or they tug on kites flying in the spirited winds that blow through the nearby Golden Gate. Kite surfers take off from the beach to catch the winds here too. Expert surfers ride the waves underneath the Golden Gate Bridge at adjacent Fort Point. Joggers and bicyclists pass by families picnicking on the lawn while kids play tag and do cartwheels on grassy open spaces. Limantour Beach is a south-facing beach on a sand spit between Drakes Bay and the Limantour Estero esturary. Limantour Beach has a nice large parking lot near the beach. Trails take you through the wetlands to the beach and beyond. Natural Bridges State Beach Santa Cruz. Kids can spend hours just peering down at the pools, waiting for some interesting sea creature to dart by. The fine sand is perfect for building a waterfront masterpiece, and the breezy, wide-open space is usually a great spot for flying kites. Picnic on the beach, or use grills in a setback area nestled among eucalyptus and pine trees. Dogs not allowed. Dillon Beach is one of the last dog-friendly beaches in the Bay Area! The beach is great for kids with soft sand, sand dunes to run in, and tide pools to explore. Carmel Beach. Carmel Beach isn’t just a paradise for people; this is a canine fun zone too—the dog-friendly beach finds owners tossing tennis balls and romping with their furry pals. It can be foggy here, especially May through August, but stick around and the sun often peeks through. Fall and winter days are often clear, crisp, and beautiful This popular waterfront boardwalk is a summertime ritual for countless California families, a wonderful way for you to relax and play just like the smiling locals. An amusement park perched right on the pier called Pacific Park. Take a ride on the pier’s solar-powered Ferris wheel…. and then there’s the beach, a broad expanse of pale yellow sand lining the coast La Jolla is home to the wide, white-sand beaches of La Jolla Shores, with surfing, snorkeling, and made-for-sunset firepits, as well as an adjacent playground for kids. Pack your bags, grab the kids and your dog and pick a California beach that’s perfect for you!