The Hidden Beaches Road Trip That Will Show You Northern California Like Never Before

Northern California is overflowing with gorgeous waterfront areas to explore. From Crescent City to the Mendocino Coast, the rugged coastline along the Pacific Ocean is nothing short of stunning. While there are plenty of well-known beaches scattered throughout the Golden State, nothing beats a lesser-known area when you just want to get away from it all— so we’ve compiled a road trip itinerary with 11 of the best beaches in Northern California that might just become your new favorite summer hangouts. This is one road trip you’ll never forget.

For a link to the customizable itinerary, click here.

We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now: https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/nominate/

Did any of your favorites of the best beaches in Northern California make the list? Are you willing to share any of your “secret” Northern California beach spots with us? Let us know in the comments below, and happy road-tripping!

The OIYS Visitor Center

Best Beaches in Northern California

July 19, 2019

What are the prettiest beaches in Northern California?

You really can’t go wrong with any Northern California beaches, but some of the prettiest will be found along our spectacular coastline. Some of the most popular destinations for scenic beach beauty are Rodeo Beach in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Gualala Point Regional Park along the Sonoma County Coast, Caspar State Beach along the Mendocino coastline, and the famous Glass Beach in Fort Bragg. Any of these beaches are a great start to enjoying NorCal’s outstanding natural beauty!

What are the best beach towns in Northern California?

Northern California is home to a plethora of wonderful beach towns and each one boasts something unique. For a town that combines beach views with large swaths of redwood forests, look no further than Gualala in Mendocino County. For a beach community that has a love for recreational activities, Bodega Bay in Sonoma County is a safe bet. Finally, for a beach town that favors the artistic lifestyle, look no further than Sausalito nestled in the hills above the Bay Area. That’s just a small sampling of NorCal’s beach towns, so be sure to get out there and explore for yourself!

What beaches have the clearest water in Northern California?

Narrowing down a beach with the clearest water is a difficult task since all of Northern California’s coastal beaches show off the very best of the Pacific Ocean. However, our favorites for picturesque beaches with crystal clear water include the famous Stinson Beach in Marin County, Bodega Dunes in the quaint town of Bodega Bay, Seaside Beach in MacKerricher State Park, and Ross Cove Beach near Half Moon Bay.