Fun at the Beach:
Your Guide to Central California
Beach Fun - page 1 | Beach Fun - page 3
As you can see, "fun at the beach" is a pretty big topic, taking three pages to cover completely.
So here we are at page 2, and we'll continue with your ultimate Central California fun guide for beach activities...
fun beach activities on the Central California coast:
Click on the links below to drop down the page (or to a new page) for information on the desired activity...
List of Fun Beach Activities
[Biking] [Birding] [The Dunes] [Fishing] [Hiking] [Horseback Riding]
Page 2 (this page):
[Kayaking] [Kite Flying] [Marine Mammal Watching] [Photography] [Picnicking] [Sailing]
[Sea glass, shells and jade] [Surfing] [Swimming] [Tidepooling] [Walking]
Beach Activities and Adventures - page 2
- Kayaking Fun at the BeachSeeing the beach and the ocean from the shore is a wonderful experience. However, there are places which can only be seen from the water. One of the best ways to see those "hidden" places is by kayak. Since kayaks are quiet, they are also wonderful for observing wildlife, especially sea otters. It is a unique way to have great fun at the beach.
Great places for Kayaking on the Central Coast:
- Pismo Beach. There are many caves and interesting formations which can only be seen from kayaks.
- Morro Bay Kayaking - This is a great place for beginners, as the bay is sheltered from the ocean by a long sand spit.
- Kayaking in Monterey - Monterey Bay kayaking in this wonderful marine sanctuary is an especially fascinating experience. It is a great prelude or follow-up to visiting the Aquarium.
- Marine Mammal Watching
Marine mammals (whales, dolphins, seals, elephant seals, sea lions and otters) can often be seen right from the beach, cliff or pier. However, most of the time the best option for whale watching is to take a boat tour. In Central California these ocean-going tours leave from Morro Bay and Monterey.
If you are looking for something a bit more sedate, there is another option in Morro Bay. Captain Stew's Bay Cruise (805)995-3019, takes you around the harbor without encountering the ocean waves. You also see otters and sea lions as well as visiting the sand spit separating the harbor from the ocean.
The cruises leave hourly and are found right behind the Flying Dutchman restaurant along the Embarcadero.
Because of the variety of whales which frequent the California coast, some species of whale can be seen almost anytime of the year.
- Gray Whales: mid-December through mid-April
- Blue Whales: mid-April through mid-December
- Humpback Whales: mid-April through mid-December
- Killer Whales: no set time
- Dolphins: If you are on a boat, check the bow as dolphins like to surf the bow wave. Or if you are on the beach, you might get lucky and see them surfing in the waves.
- Elephant Seals: The best place for viewing elephant seals is the Piedras Blancas Rookery, just north of San Simeon on Highway 1. There is a turn-out on the western (ocean) side of the road and a nice area for viewing the seals down on the beach. There are docents available to answer questions and informational boards. The website of Friends of the Elephant Seal has great information.
Just like the year-round availability of whales, there are always some elephant seals at Piedras Blancas.
Looking for sea otters?
If you have a good vantage point above the water, check for kelp beds
as shown in the photo to the right. Otters like to congregate here and
tend to wrap themselves and their pups in the kelp to keep from drifting
in the tide. Their favorite meal, sea urchins, congregate at the base
of the kelp. A good pair of binoculars or a telephoto lens is a great
help for spotting them.
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