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Surf and swim at the best beaches in California

surf beach mendocino

The sunny weather plus the best beaches in California will complete any vacation. Whether a visitor or local wants to just swim or surf, snorkel, walk, play volleyball, do a spot of bird watching, ride dune buggies or sit around a bonfire, there will be a beach to enjoy. The best times for swimming and sunbathing in North California are July through August. The best beach weather in Southern California is June through to September.

Black Sands Beach

This beach comprises 3.5 miles of coastline that is 45 miles southwards of Eureka within Northern California. It is a black sand beach that is mostly west facing and has offshore reefs. It lies just north of Shelter Cove. The beach is relaxing and picturesque and connects with the popular 25 miles long hiking path called King Range. Black Sands Beach is a superb spot for whale watching and sunsets.

Stinson Beach

Stinson Beach is actually a classic seaside town as well as an unbeatable stretch of ocean-side sand comprising three-and-a-half miles. There is lots of access for sun bathers, swimmers and surfers. Doggy lovers can bring their canine buddies as well. Lifeguards are available from May to October. There is a 51 acre park next to this beach that has over one hundred picnic tables. The park closes at sunset.

Baker Beach

This is an iconic outdoor escape in the Bay Area. The beach area offers close-up views of the majestic Golden Gate Bridge. The northern end of the beach is also sometimes a nudist area. Baker Beach is approximately half a mile long and is within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Venice Beach

This 1.5 mile long beach is well known and offers superb sands and a great beach front shopping area. The beach also offers everyone a basketball court and outdoors gym area. Venice Beach activities include swimming, surfing, sunbathing, bicycling, skating, rollerblading, dining, shopping, and sailing from the Marina del Rey. Beatniks, beautiful people and street musicians abound so it is a great area for people watching. There are some hip restaurants and bars in the adjoining town nearby.

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach stretches for more than seven miles and offers sunbathing, swimming, surfing, doggy walking, volleyball courts and basketball courts. Laguna Beach is a major tourist attraction and there are many secluded coves and bays nearby. There are many celebrity owned homes within this area as well.

Big River Beach

Big River Beach is just southwards of Mendocino where a visitor can sunbathe, enjoy swimming in the calm, cool water, take a laid-back leisurely walk along the shoreline, or enjoy picnicking on the sand. Birdwatchers can spot birds nesting in the pines and redwoods. Big River Beach is tranquil and serene even in the summertime. Private canoes, rowboats, kayaks and sailboats can also be launched on the eastern side of the beach, or canoes can be rented by the Big River Bridge.

 

Lively Mendocino

mendocino californian

The west coast has many pretty towns with terrific views of the Pacific Ocean. One such town is Mendocino California. It is an intimate community of just 824 residents, counted in the 2000 census. The surrounding Mendocino County has lovely scenery and the area is a popular tourist destination. San Francisco citizens like to make a weekend retreat here.

The town is well known for its artist colony and it's also a frequent location for movies and television. There have been over sixty movies shot here, including East of Eden, Summer of '42, Dying Young, Pontiac Moon and Karate Kid III. However, the area is most associated with the television series, Murder She Wrote. Many exterior scenes were filmed in the County and the town itself featured in some episodes.

A real home substituted for the home of Jessica Fletcher, played by Angela Lansbury, which now operates as holiday accommodation. The show is remembered fondly by the townspeople as it brought more tourist money in and several residents were hired as extras on the set.

Such is the interest in movies in the town; the inaugural Mendocino California Film Festival took place in May 2006. It was very successful and a second one is planned for 2007. The festival showcased independent film with categories that included features, short film and documentaries. Special guests were invited, including director and actor Sydney Pollack.

The town has come a long way from its beginnings as a logging town in 1850. The successful economy started to fade out just before America's entry into World War II. Fortunately, artists started to come to the area and the prospects for Mendocino California were revived.

The small village of Miasa in the Nagano district of Japan is the sister city for Mendocino California. This has proved very fruitful and there is a thriving student exchange program between the two communities.

Enthusiasts for wildlife and nature are very happy living here. The Mendocino Woodlands State Park is a great place to explore. There are camping grounds with comfortable cabins amongst the mighty redwood trees. There's the opportunity to see otters, beavers, deer and foxes. Many groups book the facilities in the park for training and educational purposes.

A great deal of enterprise and imagination has gone into the town and it has found a niche for itself in the world of movies and art, gaining a reputation as a worthwhile place to visit. It will never be a boom metropolis and that's just the way the residents like it.

 

Best camping in California

best camping in california

Camping in the United States is a popular form of outdoor recreation. It can vary from ‘wilderness roughing’ with just a tent and a few cooking utensils to using modern accommodations such as mobile homes and campers. Outdoor activities such as fishing will often be connected with a camping trip. The National Park Service as well as other government bodies designate the campgrounds in America and entail fees if the campgrounds are owned privately. There are an overwhelming number of people that enjoy camping each year, especially during the summer, and a lot of campgrounds encourage potential visitors to make their reservations well in advance. Here is my personal list of the best camping in California:

Camp Edison

Camp Edison is located on the banks of the Shaver Lake about fifty miles from Fresno in California. This campground is privately owned and offers 252 campsites. Each of the campsites comes with electricity, limited high speed internet access and free cable television. Most of the campsites will accommodate popup campers, tents, large RVs and camp trailers. Amenities include swimming, boat ramp, basketball, volleyball, laundry facilities, fish cleaning stations and horseshoes. Reservations are a requisite.

Jedediah Smith Campground

The Jedediah Smith Campground is located within the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park and is about nine miles eastwards of Crescent City in California. The National Park Service runs the campground. The sites of the campground are amongst ancient California Redwood trees alongside the California Smith River. Amenities and recreation include swimming, picnic area, showers, restrooms, nature trails, nature center, hiking trails, fishing and boat launch. Sites are able to accommodate trailers of up to 31 ft and RVs of up to 36 ft.

Russian Gulch Campground

The Russian Gulch campground is located within the Russian Gulch State Park on the Mendocino coastline. Visitors can enjoy skin diving, a 36 ft high waterfall, swimming, exploring tide pools, and the beach. Recreation at the campground also includes fishing, boating and hiking. Amenities include showers, restrooms and picnic tables. Available campsites comprise sites for a trailer of up to 24 ft, tent sites, and group camping area. The National Park Service manages the campsite.

DL Bliss Campground

The DL Bliss Campground is found in DL Bliss State Park at Lake Tahoe, seventeen miles southwards of Tahoe City. The campground is operated by The National Park Service. The campground is favored for the hiking trails such as the Balancing Rock Nature Trail and the Lighthouse Trail. Accommodations and recreation include swimming, showers, restrooms, picnic area, hiking, fishing, dump station and boating. The campground sites can accommodate only RVs and trailers that are 18 ft or less.

Cold Springs Campground

Cold Springs Campground can be found in Sequoia National Park. It is open throughout the year. Campers can stay nearby the Kaweah River if they wish to. During wintertime, snow activities like snowshoeing and skiing can both be enjoyed. Rock climbing, horseback riding, hiking and backpacking are other activities found here. Campers can also participate in a variety of ranger led programs. There are forty tent camping sites which start at $12 each night and work on a first come and first serve basis. Campsites are equipped with a metal food-storage bear box, fire ring plus grill, and picnic table.