Basking in the Beach: Eight of the Best Beaches in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a city so glitzy that sightings of superstars are commonplace. It is home to Hollywood, itself a must-see destination. It also boasts of an assortment of attractions, like Universal Studios Hollywood, Griffith Park, and Getty Center. It is even a certified sports city, with several professional sports franchises calling Los Angeles their home. That list includes the Lakers and Clippers of the NBA, the Sparks of the WNBA, the Dodgers and Angels of the MLB, the Galaxy and FC of the MLS, and the Rams and Chargers of the NFL, which is, of course, a staple of American society itself. 

The City of Angels is also known for its beaches, each of which is described by Culture Trip as having its “own style and flare.” That being said, here are eight of the best beaches in Los Angeles:

Santa Monica State Beach

The busy Santa Monica State Beach

The busy Santa Monica State Beach

IMAGE CREDIT: Wikipedia



The busy Santa Monica State Beach

A favorite among both tourists and locals, this expansive beach boasts of a historic pier that signals the end of Route 66. It has a classic, retro vibe, with great surf spots along a three-mile stretch. It is quite popular, and can be overcrowded at times, though the many resorts can handle the trove of visitors coming over. It also helps that there are plenty of other things to do here aside from swimming and sunbathing. A walk downtown, for instance, can be quite gratifying, as is relaxing under the shades provided by Tongava Park.

El Matador Beach

A view of El Matador Beach

A view of El Matador Beach
IMAGE CREDIT: Pinterest



A view of El Matador Beach

Nestled deep in Malibu is the El Matador Beach, which is known for its extremely rocky terrain. It can be a pain to get there, but it is worth checking out nonetheless. The views are breathtaking, the water is crystal clear, and the place is pretty much all yours. That it is one of the cleanest beaches in Los Angeles is a plus. Without doubt, El Matador Beach is perfect for those seeking to take a clear break from the hustle-bustle of life.

Venice Beach

The famed bike path in Venice Beach


IMAGE CREDIT: Pinterest

The famed bike path in Venice Beach

The famed bike path in Venice Beach

Like Santa Monica State Beach, Venice Beach is also quite popular, and like the former, it can get crowded, too. But that is actually one of the inherent charms of this beach. With the plethora of people visiting Venice Beach, there is this palpable energy that never seems to run out. It is a surfer’s haven according to CBS Los Angeles, and it boasts of a host of other attractions apart from the beach. There’s a bike path, for instance, that will take you all the way to the aforementioned Santa Monica State Beach.

Paradise Cove Beach

Paradise Cove Beach

Paradise Cove Beach
IMAGE CREDIT: Pinterest



Situated beneath the cliffs of Malibu is the public-private Paradise Cove Beach. This understated beauty is mostly under the auspices of Paradise Cove Beach Café, which offers all necessary amenities. Swimming and surfing, though, are free; but for a full appreciation of Paradise Cove Beach, it is best that you rent a private terrace (or even just a beach bed or lounge) and just pass time away in arguably one of the coziest, most relaxing spots in Malibu.

Carbon Beach (Billionaire’s Beach)

Carbon Beach (Billionaire's Beach)

Carbon Beach (Billionaire’s Beach)
IMAGE CREDIT: Pinterest


There’s a reason Carbon Beach is also called “Billionaire’s Beach”: It is a public beach that looks and feels like a private one. It is home to the homes of some of the city’s wealthiest locals, and is as secluded an area as there is in all of Los Angeles. It offers a long, tranquil, yet scenic stretch of fine sand and clear waters, where you can swim and relax with little to no disturbance. It is, in a way, similar to El Matador Beach, only with a more private beach feel.

Malibu Lagoon State Beach / Surfrider Beach

Malibu Lagoon State Beach / Surfrider Beach

Malibu Lagoon State Beach / Surfrider Beach
IMAGE CREDIT: Pinterest


Los Angeles’s beaches are by and large surfers’ havens, and that is exactly the case with Malibu Lagoon Beach, otherwise known as Surfrider Beach. The latter designation is much deserved, as this beach is known as a great place to surf — all throughout the day! But like beaches of Santa Monica and Venice, Surfrider Beach can get overcrowded at times. Then again, people go here because it is one of the city’s very best.

RAT Beach

RAT Beach

RAT Beach
IMAGE CREDIT: Pinterest


Before anything else, RAT here stands for “Right After Torrence”, and not for that nasty rodent. It is located just south of Manhattan Beach and boasts of the scenic Palos Verdes Cliffs. Moreover, it is a silent stretch of sand and crystal-clear water, which means it is perfect for those who want a quiet getaway away from the crowd.

Point Dume State Beach

Point Dume State Beach

Point Dume State Beach
IMAGE CREDIT: Wikipedia


Right at the end of Malibu and just jutting out into the Pacific is Point Dume. It is home to a dramatic cliff’s edge that descends to a stunning crescent-shaped beach overlooking the mighty Pacific Ocean. The turquoise-colored water is crystal clear, and the horizon is an endless view of the ocean, with its cascading waves. It is known as a great scuba spot, with sea lion encounters commonplace. It is also a great spot to learn the basics of rock climbing.

Los Angeles, again, isn’t all about Hollywood. It offers an assortment of attraction for everyone, including several spectacular beaches. They are certainly perfect for getaways, though you can choose to live in the beach if your heart so desires, as in the case of Carbon Beach’s affluent residents. In that case, just feel free to check out all the California Beach Houses for Rent and for Sale at Beachhouse.com. We’ll help you get the beach house of your dreams!

Newport Beach, California – More Than a Day at the Beach

Synonymous with great surf for decades, Newport Beach, on California’s sunny coastline, is no one trick pony. Newport Beach’s unique culture and climate can probably be chalked up to the juxtaposition of the luxury homes, storefronts and restaurants that are occupied and frequented by sun-kissed beach bums.  I like to think of it as sand between your toes chic.

Newport beach vacation rentalsLocated in the heart of Orange County’s beachfront between Huntington Beach (to the North) and Laguna Beach (to the South), Newport Beach is home to a handfull of the most beautiful beaches in the state, and arguably, the world.
 
Including the beaches on the harbor and back bay, there is over 15 miles of beaches to discover, which I definitely plan on doing! 
Some of the beaches include Balboa peninsula beaches, The Wedge, Corona del Mar beaches and Crystal Cove State Beach, plus some back bays, the Newport Dunes, and some small community beaches.
Each beach has its distinct attributes that set it apart from the others – Balboa Beach, Newport Municipal Beach and the West Jetty View Park with The Wedge are flat, sandy expanses along the peninsula where Corona del Mar, Newport Dunes and Crystal Cove, have cliffs, rocky points and tidepools.

Best Newport Beach Rental

Of Endless Summer fame, The Wedge is one of the best surf breaks, thanks in part to the improvements (done in the 1930′s) to the rock jetty on the North end of Newport’s harbor. South swells reflect off the jetty creating a second wave, which meets up with the following wave of the set and forms a peak. This series of events is the perfect recipe for creating waves that are often several feet larger than waves at other south facing beaches in Newport on any given day.

Newport Beach Rental Property

Newport Beach Rental Beach Houses

Newport Beach offers mostly outdoor shopping in little boutique stores but is also home to the shopping Mecca known as Fashion Island. Fashion Island is an outdoor shopping mall in the heart of Newport Beach where shop-a-holics go to see and be seen. With department stores such as Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Macys, many appreciate the fact that Fashion Island is also welcoming of your furry friends.

Back on the mainland other attractions include Pelican Hill Golf Club, a luxurious 36-hole championship golf course, that is said to rival Pebble Beach, and, The Orange County Museum of Art, a premier visual arts museum.

Considering a beach vacation? Book your beach house today through BeachHouse.com! Find our most popular Newport Beach Rentals here!

5 of the Best Beachside Cities in California

5 of the Best Beachside Cities in California
By: James Witts

Every beachside area will have the same key ingredients: sun, sand, and water. It’s no wonder residents in SoCal move from city to city within California to experience these beachside towns. It is the charm of the local town or city that makes a beach trip great? Check out these best beachside cities in California for your next beach getaway.

1. Santa Cruz
Located off of Highway 1 in Northern California, Santa Cruz offers a laid back and retro environment. Step back decades as you stroll down the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and peruse the many vintage shops that line the way. You’ll see a historic carousel as well as plenty of good old fashioned family fun with coasters and arcade games. Santa Cruz is one of the best beachside cities due to its proximity to other forms of nature. You’ll be able to catch a glimpse of whales from the ocean as well as tour nature at Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Wineries also dot the countryside near Santa Cruz offering their other version of perfection by the bottle. Rent a beachhouse in Santa Cruz here.

2. Carmel
Officially known as Carmel-by-the-Sea, this quaint little town sites on the south side of the Monterey Peninsula south of San Jose. It’s tucked in location offers a quiet and relaxing beach getaway. You’ll enjoy time on the white sandy beaches as well as the windy conditions of the Point Lobos State Reserve. The Mission Trail Nature Preserve is also located nearby with many trails to explore. The town of Carmel itself offers a more mature beach trip with streets full of galleries and fine dining establishments. Rent a beach house in Carmel here.

3. Malibu
There is a reason why this beach is so famous for both residents and visitors. Malibu is a beautiful beach that stretches out for more than 30 miles making this an excellent option for those wanting to take a long run along the water. Malibu is the prime spot for surfing and is well known as one of the significant places that celebrities and athletes call home. The ocean waves are well suited for both beginner and advanced surfers making this a great spot to learn more about the sport as well as see professional surfers in action. You’ll also find amazing fresh seafood dishes at the many restaurants that are located on the pier or right off the beach as well. Rent a beach house in Malibu here.

4. Catalina Island
If you’re a California resident looking for a vacation that is easy to get to but feels a million miles away, Catalina Island is the place for you. This island located just 22 miles off the coast of California feels like an entirely different world with its peaceful community and magnificent sunsets. There isn’t even a traffic light on the entire island making this a common getaway destination for many residents who spend hours a day sitting in traffic. Catalina Island boasts beautiful beaches as well as a casual atmosphere that is sure to put you on island time.

5. Venice Beach
Known for its eclectic style, Venice Beach is a favorite spot for those looking for some far-out beach time. You’ll find piazzas and canals much like its Italian counterpart as well as quaint little shops that line the boardwalk. Venice Beach is a great spot to be entertained by street performers as well as spend an afternoon watching all of the diverse people stroll by. Chic boutiques and food trucks are favorite stops for both residents and tourists alike as well.

California is full of great little beachside towns and cities that create the perfect backdrop to a beach getaway. From the laid-back atmosphere of Santa Cruz and Venice Beach to the surf-loving area of Malibu, to the peaceful getaways of Carmel and Catalina Island, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from for your next beach vacation. Consider all of these best beachside cities in California for your next trip.

James Witts is an eco-conscious home improvement writer. He is constantly trying to find new ways to live off the grid while living in a tiny home with his wife, Andie.

At the Beach: Billabong Presents 10th Annual Cosmic Creek Surf Festival

Reserve October 3rd and 4th for Billabong’s 10th Annual Cosmic Creek Music and Art Extravaganza.  Highlights will include a retro-style surf contest, on-the-beach BBQ and silent auction.  And what better way to wrap the event than listing to the fresh and soulful music of Donovan Frankenreiter?

Judging from past festivals, Donovan won’t be alone.  Cosmic Creek will also have appearances by an amazing gathering of famous artists, musicians and surf legends.  In previous years these unannounced superstars have included Jackson Brown, Pennywise, G-love, Warren G, & Sugar Ray.

“Donny and surprise guest musicians will play their hearts out,” says event creator Eric Diamond.”It’s just a super positive symphony of Art/Music/ Food & people all gathered together for Charity,” says Diamond. “Get your tickets now – this will sell out fast.”

Silent auction items such as Italian Cordoba guitars and ukuleles, brought in by Frankenreiter and painted by well known artists including John Van Hamersveld, Wolfgang Bloc, Andy Davis, Tyler Warren, Herbie Fletcher, Jay Alders, Kevin Short, Daniel Chang, Timmy Patterson to name a few, will be on display at 7-Degrees in their outdoor event space.

The event is being billed as “part Woodstock/ Warhol Factory/ surf stomp/ & great Charity event all rolled into one evening.”  Proceeds will help local charities, along with Surfrider’s clean water campaign.

Click here for tickets and here for information about entering the surf contest.


At the Beach: West Beach ’09 Music & Arts Festival

WHO: All of your favorite artists preforming over one weekend – including Steel Pulse, Ozomatli, Donavon Frankenreiter, Ben Harper, G. Love & Special Sauce, Slightly Stoopid & Pepper!

WHAT: A 100% on-the-beach music festival with 4 stages and over 50 sets to be played!  Tickets range from $30 – $50 depending on the day, or $115 for a 3 day pass.

WHERE: It’s all taking place right smack dab on West Beach, in between Stearn’s wharf and the beautiful harbor!

WHEN: This weekend – September 18, 19 & 20.  The first bands kick off Friday @ 3pm.

WHY: Great music, cold beer and a hot beach…why not?!

Now in its 3rd year, the West Beach Music Festival has established itself as the annual event for Santa Barbara.  Rallying after its dissapointing debut event in 2007  (the then one day event got sacked with rainy weather) 2008′s event saw increased crowds, thanks in part to gorgeous weather and the likes of Jason Mraz, Natasha Bedingfield, Ziggy Marley and George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelicthis.  This year is sure to top even last year’s successful turnout.

Brothers (and twins) Jeremy and Joshua Pemberton, the events orginizers, worked with hundreds of event staff to cure the few complaints that event-goers had from last year:  large event grounds, sound bleed, and poor vendor setup.  “They spoke and we listened,” said Josh Pemberton. “We took a survey last year after the fest, and we were able to make a few stellar changes. The biggest change is we are now allowing ins and outs. We didn’t allow it last year because we didn’t want to impact the neighboring businesses, but nearly unanimously, they are all in support of it. So, you can come and go as you please until 7 p.m. We’ve also brought the footprint down by 33 percent. Walking in the sand can be pretty tiring, [so] this was a no-brainer. We’ve got a great team and careful programming to ensure our stages aren’t competing with each other.”

Another factor that contributes to West Beach’s success is that the whole event focuses on the “community first” mentality – something that goes a long way in a close-knit community like Santa Barbara.  Jeremy says, “If we ever ignore the amazingly talented local acts, we’ve lost track of where this whole thing started—with the locals.”  Orginizers have conciously extended the offer for local bands to dominate some of the most sought-after positions on the lineup.  Isla Vista artists Rebelution and Iration are opening for Pepper and Slightly Stoopid, and Santa Barbaras own Sunshine Brothers are playing before G. Love & Special Sauce and Ben Harper and Relentless7.

2009′s event will also be more integrated with the Downtown Santa Barbara businesses – there will be afterparties following the final preformances each night:

Friday: @ Velvet Jones – S.B. stalwarts Shades of Day and The Naybrhood
@ Sandbar – The Aggrolites and Marc B.
@ EOS – after-party

Saturday:  @ Velvet – SOJA, Passafire, and The Movement
@ Wildcat – Shwayze
Sandbar - Sashamon

Sunday: @ Wildcat – the official post-fest shindig

*For $20, festival attendees can score a VIP After-Party Pass, which gets you into all the festivities without paying a cover fee.

Top Southern California Beaches

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

Southern California is known for its beautiful people, great weather, and gorgeous beaches. All along the most southwestern tip of the USA are an assortment of beaches with surf and sand to enjoy at almost all times during the year.

Whether you’re looking for surf, excitement, a family beach, or the prettiest views on the coast, there are plenty of options to fulfill every desire you have.

Newport Beach offers decent waves and a relaxed atmosphere. Newport’s beaches aren’t too crowded despite the beautiful surrounding, making the area a great place to skim or just read a book while soaking in some sun. Newport also offers several oceanside cottages for rent, making staying there an attractive option for people looking to “get away” at a more affordable price.

Huntington Beach is known for its excellent surfing. The beaches tend to get more crowded, but offer the excitement of a social atmosphere as people throw footballs, play volleyball, and walk the enjoyable Huntington Beach Pier. Huntington is a great place to start an exciting weekend off right.

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach offers secluded, beautiful beaches. There are family-friendly areas that tend to be more crowded, but travel further down the surf and you can find beaches where you can isolate yourself and enjoy some gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean. The sand is hard-packed and easy to walk on, making a romantic walk on the beach a great idea for blossoming Southern California lovers.

Santa Monica is one of the most popular beaches in Southern California, offering a nearby amusement park and an enjoyable volleyball scene. The world renowned Muscle Beach can also be found in Santa Monica, along with the newly renovated Chess Park.  During the summer you can also find free live concerts on Thursday nights.

Venice Beach is featured in movies such as White Men Can’t Jump and the TV show Pacific Blue. Street performers litter the coast, offering entertainment for all who are willing to watch and participate. You can also find small beachside shops that make shopping while enjoying some rays an easy endeavor.

Santa Monica Pier

While these five offer some of the most diverse and enjoyable locations for spending your day on the coast, there are several other beaches to enjoy in the Southern California area. Generally, you can’t go wrong. Beautiful weather and clean beaches can be found almost everywhere, so pack up your towel, a smile, and a pair of swim trunks, and you’ll most definitely enjoy your day in the sand.

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Ross Hudgens is a travel writer for Low Fares Blog. Lowfares.com is the number 1 travel website for cheap flights and discount airfare.

California’s Central Coast’s Beach Communities

Cambria – Located just off of California’s Pacific Coast Hwy 1 is Cambria – a picturesque artists community set amidst the pine trees and foothills half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Head to Cambria’s “East Village” for a selection of small restaurants and cafe’s set between gardens and old historical buildings. There is a cute downtown village area with boutiques, antique shops, flower stores and art and jewelry galleries. Cambria has a selection of great hotels to choose from.  The FogCatcher Inn has beautifully appointed rooms – I highly reccomend a stay in one of the oceanview rooms. Centrally located, Cambria is a great place to head out on day-trips from.   Vacationers can head a short distance to tour either Hearst Castle or to San Simeon, home to one of California’s largest populations of elephant seals. Moonstone Beach is also nearby, which is a great place to walk the beach before dining at one of the delicious restaurants while you take in some amazing ocean views.

Morro Bay – Surrounded with natural beauty, Morro Bay is a great place to spend the day or the weekend.  Whether you like shopping, hiking, boating or all of the above, this harbor town has it.  Morro Bay’s Natural Estuary has great hiking trails, and is home to the Museum of Natural History and a Heron Rookery Preserve.  Continue down Morro Bay’s Coast and you will find more bluff trails, the Elfin Forest and the Sweet Springs Preserve.  The entire bay is home to many different species of birds making it a bird-watcher’s dream.  Morro Bay also has a great beach, with certain parts that are dog-friendly.  Local surfers enjoy “the Rock” – not only does this break have a killer view of Morro Rock, but the water is a few degrees warmer than the surrounding water thanks to the

Avila Beach – For a funky little beach town that’s not much larger than a neighborhood, Avila Beach sure knows how to make headlines. In the late 90′s and into 2000 the community got an almost complete makeover after it was discovered that a Union Oil Co underground pipeline had been slowly seeping oil into the ground for decades. But now Avila is back and better than ever, with a re-vamped boardwalk that hosts a farmer’s market each Friday afternoon, delicious deli’s and an assortment of upscale eateries. Locals and visitors enjoy Avila for its unpretentious and friendly atmosphere where flip flops and sandy toes are practically a uniform. Looking for some great grub? Be sure to wander over to nearby Port San Luis to Fat Cat Cafe – it’s so good that Sunset Magazine wrote about it!

Shell Beach – Unlike the others on the list, Shell Beach doesn’t have a central downtown or main street, per se, and really is more of a neighborhood. If you turn down Silver Shoals Road off of Shell Beach Road, you will dead end into a grassy area on the bluffs of what the locals have dubbed “Silver Shoals Beach.” This park is a great place for picnics and people watching. There is a dirt trail that leads down to the beach where, even on a windy day, is perfect for sunbathing as the sand is protected from the elements by the sea wall behind you. Feel free to bring your furry friend – the crowd is usually mellow and on the younger side so nobody minds that you are voilating the “no dogs on the beach” policy that most California beaches seem to have.  If you’re looking to stay in Shell Beach, check out the lux Dolphin Bay Inn – not only is is gorgeous, set atop the bluffs with panoramic views of the Central Coast, but the cast of Pirates of the Caribbean stayed there while they were filming on the nearby dunes!

Pismo Beach – If you want some action, Pismo is the beach for you – there is more going on and much more to do here than at any of the other beaches on this list. Pismo Beach offers great shopping. Vacationers can find everything from surf stores, antique stores, candy shops, souvenir stores and more.  Pismo’s sandunes are a great place to camp, go off roading and ride horses.  The pier at Pismo Beach is a great place to fish, people watch and get tasty treats including hot dogs, ice cream, and snow cones to name a few. As you stroll the beach, look for the volleyball nets – there is often pickup games and the courts are also the location of tournaments during certain times of the year. You must allot time for a trip to Splash Cafe. Be prepared to wait, but I assure you that even a half hour wait is well worth it. There is a lot to choose from on the menu – and all of it is good – but this place is famous for their clam chowder.

Top 5 Most Romantic Beaches in the World

It’s hard to say what, exactly, makes a vacation HOT.  It’s more than the just weather, as Heidi Klum and hubby Seal could tell you – he infamously popped the question in a snow cave atop a glacier – but you can bet their engagement night was anything but frosty.  And while canopy beds, private hot tubs and candles can’t hurt, they can’t do all the work either.

We’ve gathered the top 5 most romantic beach destinations in the world as a starting point for your next X-rated escape.  There’s everything from a private island to a sizzling Latin locale – so pack your suit and anything else you may need…that is, if you even plan on emerging from your hotel room – yeah, we know your type…

Hayman Island, Australia – There must be a heap of  too-hot-for-TV Gilligan’s Island clips on someone’s cutting room floor.  I mean, after being stranded on that island for so long, wouldn’t the Professor ever get the urge to play doctor with Mary Ann?  Surely Ginger got into character and role played with Gilligan at least once?  If you’ve ever had the urge to reenact your very own “stranded on a deserted island” fantasy, look no further than Hayman Island (and not to worry – even though it’s far less populated than most places, it still isn’t completely deserted). Part of the world wonder that is Aussie’s Great Barrier Reef, Hayman Island is paradise found – an Eden that unabashedly flaunts its beauty that will have you asking your Lovey, “Who’s your Skipper?”  This sultry tropical setting has sprawling pure silica-white-crystal beaches and is where wildlife flourishes – it’s common to see everything from cockatoos and swans to bats and butterflies. At night, the stars seem to light the ink-black sky like perpetually frozen fireworks, so go ahead…get your Gilligan on.  Where to stay? Hayman Island Resort

Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica – Do you like your romance on the wild side?  Go au-natural at this raw eco-tourism haven…it’s hot and sticky most of the year, and Corcovado has a masterful balance of dense rain forests that open up onto stunningly beautiful beaches.  You and your sweetheart can experience the park’s virgin beauty with its green-sand beaches, wild mix of animals, and lantern-lit tent camps – the perfect location for you to reenact that unadulterated “In the jungle…” moment a la Ace Ventura…except at Corcovado there’s not a noisy headboard to give you away!  Afterward, you’ll want to cool down with some tropical cocktails, frolic in the warm surf, or strip down and rinse off in a fresh-water stream as it spills out from the jungle.  It may be taxing to get there, but just think of it as foreplay.  A-weema-weh A-weema-weh A-weema-weh… Where to stay? Corcovado Tent Camp

Shell Beach, California – Why should places like Paris, Ipanema and Santorini have all the fun?  You don’t have to travel out of the country to fall in love again – rekindle the passion amidst a wine-soaked love-fest on California’s picturesque Central Coast.  Shell Beach (and its neighbor Silver Shoals) feature the region’s famous dramatic rocky coastline.  If you can take your eyes off each other, enjoy panoramic views of the Pacific, Point Conception and Avila Bay from the bluffs or walk down the cliff trail to access the secluded beach, where you can swim, surf, or sunbathe.  Afterwards, take your sun-kissed bods to one of  the areas infamous vineyards.  There are plenty of romantic tasting rooms scattered throughout the rolling hills of San Luis Obispo county, so pick up a bottle of wine and perhaps some edible chocolate body paint and head back to your hotel to see where the night takes you!  Where to stay? Dolphin Bay Resort

Flamenco Beach, Puerto Rico – Just like Dancing with the Stars’ Gilles Marini could make your heart skip a beat without missing a beat, this steamy setting will leave you and your partner feeling hot and bothered.  You two are sure to feel the energy of the Latin culture at this secluded sandy beach that was named after the hot and sensual dance.  Framed by lush, green hills, the 1.5 mile wide horse-shoe shaped bay offers a wide, pink-tinted sandy beach and aqua blue, translucent and calm waters that almost resembles a swimming pool – perfect for snorkeling.  As daylight fades and temperatures cools a bit, the regions magical ocean bioluminescence are revealed.  This natural wonder, paired with the brightness of the starry night sky make Flamenco Beach about as romantic as you can get and will have you feeling HOT HOT HOT!  Where to stay? Bahia Marina Condo Hotel

Happy Bay, St. Martin – Two words – clothing optional.  After passing the last bar at Friar’s Bay, a short walk down a dirt path leads you to the sweeping views of Happy Bay beach. Fairly undiscovered, there isn’t much at this beach to interrupt your afternoon or to distract you from each other – no crowds, noisy restaurants, or traffic sounds. Don’t forget to pack your suntan oil – exchange sensual massages and you and your love can melt away on Happy Bay’s powdery white beach.  And if things get too steamy, there are plenty of palm trees lining the beach for shade or, uh-hem, added privacy.  Afterwards, stroll the wide beach and take in the vibrant, breathtaking vista.  If you’re up for more exercise, dip into the calm waters to enjoy some of the best snorkeling St. Martin has to offer.  Go ahead – leave your inhibitions and your tan lines behind.  Where to stay? Happy Bay Villa

In Honor of Father’s Day…

OK, so you’ve already given your dad that customized necktie embellished with your photograph on it, now you have a little down time while your dad is out getting acquainted with the new gas grill your mom gave him.  Before your family sits down to eat, now’s your chance to read up on Beachhouse.com’s  picks for the top baseball parks to visit….maybe next Father’s Day, instead of giving him some cheap cologne that smells like Robert Downey Jr. trying to cover up after a bender, you can spare your dad the hassle of faking that he loves your gift and give him something he will truly enjoy – tickets to a baseball game and some quality bonding time with you…and a couple of ball park brews never hurt anybody – emphasis on couple.

Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field, Chicago Cubs

Wrigley Field is one of the oldest and most notorious fields in the United States.  Despite the field’s notoriety, the Chicago Cubs haven’t exactly made a name for themselves – unless you count the fact that they have never won the World Series, and now that the Red Socks have won theirs, the Cubs are officially the worst cursed team in the league.  But that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy yourself at the home of Ferris Bueller’s infamous day off, deep dish pizza and organized crime.

AT&T Park, San Francisco Giants

If your dad likes the finer things in life, he’d love to be treated to a day at the on-the-water AT&T Park.  Some of baseball’s greatest call this park home, including Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and all time home run leader, Barry Bonds.  The park has every amenity your dad could ask for and all kinds of classic and not so expected stadium food – the crab sandwiches and Cuban cuisine (in honor of Orlando Cepeda – former Giant) are some of the fan favorites.  And if your dad is the kind to get a little out of hand after a couple brewskies, it won’t faze this crowd – they’re used to scandals (Steroids anyone?)

PetCo Park, San Diego Padres

It may seem biased to have more than one California stadium on this list, but if you lived here, you’d know why we’re biased.  Even though the National League West is quite possibly the weakest division in sports, the Padres stadium and ambiance of the surrounding cityscape’s is unparalleled.  It’s always sunny and there’s plenty to do – so if the team ain’t winning, go surfing or get tipsy with the college kids.

New Yankee Stadium, New York Yankees

One of the most loved (and hated) franchises in all of sports, as of the 2009 season, the Yankees have a brand spankin new stadium to call home.  They left their monument to baseball history behind them and started this season with a new coach.  Besides being the most winningest team in the history of baseball, they have, arguably, the most loyal fans in the game…so you and your dad, foam fingers and pin-stripes in place, will fit right in.

Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox

Fenway Park is the oldest stadium in the US, making it a perfect place for a dad who loves the classics.  With 2 recent championship titles under their jockstrap, the Red Sox are one of the most intimidating teams to compete with and one of the most exciting teams to watch.  Not for the faint of heart or dad’s with young kids (and virgin ears) Sox fans are hard drinking and curse like sailors…they’re also overwhelmingly passionate about their team.  After the game’s over there’s still plenty to do in one of the oldest city in America – so buy a pint, start dropping your r’s and you’ll fit right in.

Dana Point – Harboring the Good Life!

Dana Point is a beautiful city located in southern Orange County, California.  The motto of the city is “Harboring the Good Life,” which is manifested in the life of residents of the city.

This city is a popular vacation destination because of its serene natural beauty, gorgeous beaches, shopping, beautiful parks, and host of activities that it has to offer.  A prominent point of interest in the city is Dana Point Harbor which offers boat rentals, fishing, windsurfing, jet-skiing, boat charters, shops, and restaurants.  Vacationers thoroughly enjoy the lively atmosphere and activities at the Harbor.

Dana Point has 23 beautiful parks, including Chloe Luke Overlook, Creekside Park, Crystal Cove Park, and Salt Creek Park.  The renowned parks are free of charge for visitors and are perfect for picnics, barbeques, relaxing, walking, biking, and playing sports.  You can reserve the parks for large parties and you can also have a memorable wedding at one of the parks.

Dana Point has world-famous beaches and a number of beach-related activities and facilities, such as boat rentals and surf shops.  Some of the beaches include Capistrano Beach, Doheny State Beach, and Salt Creek Beach.

Capistrano Beach is a beautiful beach that offers sports, cycling, fishing gear and beach supplies.

Doheny State Beach has an impressive picnic area and is famous in the state of California for its swimming and surfing.

Salt Creek Beach is also popular for surfing and is located in Salt Creek Park.

Dana Point is referred to as the “Whale Capital of the West” because a variety of whales use the city as a navigational landmark on their migrations. Thus, whale-watching is a popular activity that proves to be a majestic experience particularly in the months of January and February.  Moreover, Dana Point is a well-known fishing area and Dana Point Harbor offers fishing trips for everyone.

The Ocean Institute is a valuable resource that provides an authentic ocean experience by means of children’s day camps, boat excursions, and wildlife cruises.

Dana Point has a prominent shopping culture; the city offers shops that sell a broad range of items including Indian artifacts, custom-designed jewelry, designer sunglasses, well-known art galleries, and high-end clothing.  The city has something exciting for every shopper.

Dana Point Harbor also has seventeen, well-known and diverse restaurants to choose from.

Dana Point has annual events every season including boat rides with Santa Claus, Festival of the Whales, Doheny Blues Festival which is a vibrant event that celebrates the coming of the summer, Fourth of July fireworks, and Shakespeare by the Sea which is a free Shakespeare production.

Dana Point also has a great location as it is close to a number of attractions.  Disneyland and other theme parks are about forty-five minutes away and the gorgeous Newport Beach is nearby as well.  San Diego is an hour away and Hollywood is about an hour and a half away.

Dana Point is a magnificent city that promises a memorable vacation for everyone!

Lake Tahoe – so much to offer!

Mark Twain famously describes his first glimpse of Lake Tahoe in his semi-autobiographical tale about his travels through the Wild West, Roughing It:

At last the lake burst upon us–a noble sheet of blue water lifted six thousand three hundred feet above the level of the sea, and walled in by a rim of snow-clad mountain peaks that towered aloft three thousand feet higher still! As it lay there with the shadows of the mountains brilliantly photographed upon its still surface, I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole world affords.
-Mark Twain, Roughing It.


Lake Tahoe
is the largest alpine lake in North America, famous for its clarity, deep blue water, and surrounding snowcapped peaks. Sprawling across the state line between California and Nevada, it lies just over 6,000 feet above sea level in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Because of its unique geographical orientation, Lake Tahoe appeals to a diverse population of visitors. About half its tourists come looking for a low-key and activity-filled get-away. The rest skip the California side and instead head for the Nevada side to get their fill of the glittering casinos, big name entertainment, bargain buffets, and around the clock revelry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many think of Lake Tahoe as only a popular winter wonderland and a great ski and snowboard destination, however Tahoe is nearly as bustling in the spring, summer and fall months.  Year-round activities include is great for sightseeing, hiking, fishing, camping, and boating.

Tahoe, and the immediate surrounding area, is home to 12 major ski resorts, with Heavenly perhaps being the most popular.  Spanning 4,800 acres, as well as offering 95 trails and 30 lifts, it is the largest resort in California.  And, at 3,500 feet from base camp to peak, it is has California’s the vertical drop…all with a jaw-dropping views of Lake Tahoe.  And don’t think that just because it gets an average of 380 inches of snowfall it’s always snowing – Heavenly also boasts 300 days of sunshine.

Explore California’s Central Coast

The 2004 hit movie Sideways did wonders for California’s wine industry, showing that the long fêted Napa Valley is not the only California wine region worthy of acclaim.  With almost 200 wineries between San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles there is a tasting atmosphere and tasty vintage to appease every palate. 

Mimicking the famed growing climates of long renowned wine regions, the micro-climates, soil varieties, rainfall, elevation and long growing season of this area accommodate many of the same varieties of grapes previously known only to Europe and the surrounding areas.  The Central Coast is, however, unique because of the contrasting daytime high temperatures (ranging between 85 and 105 degrees) and chilling nighttime temperatures that drop by 50 or 60 degrees.  Winemakers believe this fluctuation to be a key factor in exuding the intensity found in grapes of this area.  Known mostly for it’s superb Zinfandel grapes, the Central Coast conditions also supports the growth of dozens of wine grapes including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Viognier, Roussanne, even Mourvedre.

The Cuesta Grade, separates San Luis Obispo into “north county” and “south county”, making it a little less daunting to tasters wanting to make a dent in the vast array of tasting rooms in the county, allowing them to conquer one area at a time.  North of the grade, in Paso Robles, are several wineries and tasting rooms, all located in “West Paso” as the local’s refer to it – meaning west of HWY 101.  Some of the most popular include Tablas Creek Vineyard, Justin Winery, Eberle Winery, and Opolo Vineyards. West Paso is known for its rolling hills, meandering roads and sun-filtering oak trees.  A whole other crop of wineries can be found in East Paso.  East of the 101 tends to have more level parcels with the majority of the wineries dotted along or just off of HWY 46.  This includes Vina Robles, Martin & Weyrich Winery, and the notorious Tobin James Cellars.

San Luis Obispo proper is located at the base of the Cuesta Grade.  Cooler temperatures (sometimes by as much as 10 degrees on a summer day)  alter the chemistry of the product and make for a different tasting experience.  Many of the wineries and vineyards of San Luis Obispo boarder Edna Valley, which runs east to west and is paralleled by the Santa Lucia Mountains.  The location of Lake Lopez to the south and Islay Hill to the north helps to keep the valley cool with breezes also rolling in off of the Pacific Ocean.  Edna Valley Vineyards, with its picturesque panoramic views of rolling vineyards from its tasting room, along with Meredian Vineyards, Baileyana Winery, Claiborne & Churchill Vintners, and a host of others, can be found nestled among the vibrant fields of San Luis Obispo’s grapevines.

In addition to introducing new varietals to the area, many central coast winemakers are testing innovating ways to alter the finished taste of the wine.  While some prefer the tried and true traditional method of aging wine in Oak barrels, some are embracing the newer practice of employing stainless steel barrels in order to produce a crisper wine…and some use a combination of the two methods.  Cutting edge or classics – all can be found and enjoyed while exploring the tasting rooms and vineyards that the Central Coast has to offer.

The Central Coast is a great place for a weekend trip or a vacation stay – besides the selection of vineyards and tasting rooms, there is also a number of beaches and state parks to visit.  San Simeon (and Hearst Castle), Cambria, Cayucos, Avila, Montana de Oro, Morro Bay, Los Osos, Shell Beach and Pismo Beach each have their individual charm and make for a great day at the beach!

Take the family to Dillon Beach, CA – even your dog!

Even the most finicky vacationer can find a city in California that satisfies their hunger to travel.  With cities like San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Palm Springs, Sacramento and San Francisco, there is never a dull moment where one has to stop and ask, “what should we do?”

But what if you want a different kind of trip?  A mellow one where you spend more time sitting on a beach than walking city streets, eating at cafes than drinking in clubs, and where you don’t come home feeling like you need a vacation to recover from your vacation?

Dillon Beach, located about 20 minutes north of San Francisco, is one of California’s best family vacation destinations…and I mean the whole family, as Dillon Beach is one of the few dog-friendly beaches in California!

This serene little town overlooks the scenic Point Reyes Peninsula where visitors can enjoy swimming, kayaking, surfing, windsurfing, sailing, hiking, fishing, cycling, beachcombing, antiquing and even digging for the famous Dillon Beach giant clams!  Children especially love running up and rolling down the sand dunes!

A long, gently sloping stretch of sand, Dillon Beach is usually crowd-free – which, as some dog owners will attest to, is crucial if you have a Chihuahua who thinks he is about 75lbs. beefier than he really is and insists on finding the largest dog on the beach, chasing it down until the poor unsuspecting thing relents, and proceeds to perform actions too inappropriate to discuss with you all.  What?  Oh, you thought I was talking about my little angel?  I was speaking hypothetically, I swear…

Attracting surfers from nearby Mendocino, Napa and San Francisco counties, Dillon Beach’s surf is clean and consistent, although perhaps not the largest or most powerful surf around (expect 3 – 5 foot swells on most days).  Liquid surf shop, located inside the general store, carries full gear for purchase or for rent.

Once you and your family are tired out from a day at the beach, visit the Dillon Beach Cafe and enjoy delicious breads, perfectly cooked meats, and famous clam chowder – all using locally grown produce!

If you are too sandy to dine (or have your pooch with you) stop by the General Store at Dillon Beach for some groceries to take back to your vacation rental home!  The general store carries a wide variety of groceries including canned clams, fine wines, beer, ice, house-made deli sandwiches and salads, as well as salt-water taffy.  Beach necessities and souvenirs can be found here as well – shells, warm sweaters and hats, toys, tide books, bait, and most anything else you might need.  Local tip:  stand on the brass star and see what happens!

Itching for some excitement but don’t want to drive to San Francisco?  Head west into Tomales (an antique farming and dairying village) where you can chat over a few cold ones at the William Tell House Restaurant and Bar – the prime rib is highly reccomended! There’s also a bakery, a general store and a cafe just a stone’s throw from one another