In a separate post, we highlighted beaches ranging from Carpinteria down south to the beaches at the Ventura Harbor. This is the 2nd installment of local area beaches that stretch from McGrath State Beach on down to the beaches gracing Malibu. We hope these compilations prove useful in guiding you to all the oceanfront fun Ventura County and adjacent areas have to offer!
McGrath State Beach has 2 1/2 miles of beach that is great for walkers, sunbathers and surf fishers. Swimming, surfing, and water sports are discouraged because of rip currents. McGrath also has a campground with 174 sites, restrooms and coin-operated hot showers. Make reservations by calling 800.444.7275. There's also a .2 mile nature trail through jungle-like vegetation along the banks of the Santa Clara River. McGrath is 5 miles south of Ventura off the 101 freeway via Harbor Boulevard. Visit parks.ca.gov/?page_id=607 or call 805.968.1033 for more information. Parking is $10 as of August 2012.
Mandalay Beach Park is 94 acres of undeveloped beachfront land located south of Reliant Energy's Mandalay Generating Station. The natural sand dunes and the wetlands ecosystem are recognized for their important natural value and houses several threatened bird species. This is a passive, natural open space park with no support facilities. The sandy ocean beach and adjacent coastal dunes are available for public day use only. The beach is managed by the County of Ventura on behalf of the California State Parks Department. Located at the corner of Harbor Boulevard and 5th Street in Oxnard. Visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=609.
Oxnard Beach Park has one of the best kids' play areas around town, restrooms, lots of grass, and easy access to miles and miles of beach. The sand dunes are really large in Oxnard. The park is located at 1601 S. Harbor Boulevard. More info at www.visitoxnard.com.
Hollywood Beach is a great spot for swimming, sunning and viewing the Channel Islands offshore. Free public beach volleyball courts, public restrooms on the north end of beach, on-street parking and lifeguards on duty between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Located right next to Channel Islands Harbor off of Harbor Boulevard.
Silver Strand Beach is a 1 mile long sandy beach about 150 yds in width. It is capped by the north and south jetties, which both have small parking lots, one next to San Nicholas Road, the other next to Sawtelle Avenue. Free parking from sunrise to sunset and limited restroom facilities. The coast is a sandy bottom beach break which can sometimes feature rip tides and an undertow. Lifeguards on duty every day during the summer months. Accessed via S. Victoria Avenue. Visit bit.ly/OyXoQE for more information.
Hueneme Beach Park is 50 acres with picnic tables, barbecue pits, walking paths, a 24-hour fishing pier, sand volleyball courts, Surfside Seafood snack bar, lifeguards and restrooms. Beach parking lots and Surfside Drive parking is $2 per hour or $8 for the day. Visit www.ci.port-hueneme.ca.us/index.aspx?NID=926 for more information. Located at 550 E. Surfside Drive, Port Hueneme. Take the 101 to Los Posas, go south, veer right on Pleasant Valley Road. Turn left on Saviers then right on Hueneme Road, then left on Surfside Road to the beach!
Ormond Beach is 1,500 acres composed of agriculture, industry and wetlands. A two-mile-long beach extends from Port Hueneme on the north to Naval Base Ventura County on the south. This is one of the few areas in southern California with an intact dune-transition zone–marsh system, hosting over 200 migratory bird species. The California Coastal Conservancy is restoring these wetlands. A bit off the beaten path, it is probably more geared towards bird watchers and hiker. Get there via Hueneme Road, going south on either Perkins Road on the north and Arnold Road on the south.
Naval Base Ventura County occupies roughly 6 miles of oceanfront space between Ormond Beach on the north and Point Mugu State Park on the south. This space is obviously not accessible by the general public. However, there are periodic opportunities for civilians to catch a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean from NBVC during organized events open to the public, including running events and in recent years, a surf contest in August.
Mugu Beach is the first publicly accessible beach area south of Naval Base Ventura County off of PCH, located adjacent to the prominent Mugu Rock. For the most part this is the most quickly accessible beach to Camarillo and Conejo Valley residents. Mugu Beach, part of Point Mugu State Park, is managed by the National Park Service and there is a parking fee. My kids enjoy the sand and exploring in the rocks. Nothing fancy here and only a porta-john is available, but in a pinch you'll enjoy this beach. Plenty of parking on PCH is also available. Click here for map.
South of Mugu Rock there is also some beach that is accessible with plenty of parking on PCH available. No facilities and not a lot of beach, but beautiful views and a quick place to explore. I notice birds like to hang out here too.
Thornhill Broome Campground and Beach is also part of Point Mugu State Park, located a mile or two south of Mugu Beach. This is a campground right on the beach with a capacity for about 60 or so RVs. But of course you can visit for the day for a parking fee. Plenty of parking also available on PCH. Porta-potties available. Across the street on PCH is a large, steep sand dune that I've always found to be interesting. Sometimes you see people climbing up there.
Sycamore Cove is at the southernmost beachfront portion of Point Mugu State Park. Point Mugu State Park features 3.6 miles of ocean shoreline (Sycamore Cove to Mugu Beach), with rocky bluffs, beaches, sand dunes, rugged hills and uplands, two major river canyons and wide grassy valleys dotted native trees.
Sycamore Canyon Campground across PCH from Sycamore Cove has 58 campsites. For a challenge, ride or hike down through Sycamore Canyon from Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa in Newbury Park. You'll most likely have to pay to park here (which as of August 2012 is $12 for day use) as there are not many spots on PCH available on the south side...watch out...there are no parking signs all over the place.
Sycamore Cove has a number of picnic benches shaded by trees and is thus a popular spot on summer weekends for the BBQ crowd as well as with the campers from the campground on the other side of PCH. Located at 9000 Pacific Coast Highway. Visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=630.
A mile or so south of Sycamore Cove there is some beach access with parking on PCH. No facilities. No name. But enjoyable and beautiful!
The iconic Neptune's Net is 3 miles south of Sycamore Cove and there's decent beach access right across the street at 42505 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. Lots of surfers and places to explore. Park on PCH. Watch out for bikers...there can be hundreds of them hanging out here on many a weekend.
Leo Carrillo State Park has 1 1/2 miles of beach for swimming, surfing, windsurfing, surf fishing and beachcombing. One of our favorites for exploring sea caves, rocks and tidepools. Leo Carrillo is about 1 1/2 miles south of Neptune's Net at 35000 West PCH, Malibu. On the other side of PCH, Leo Carrillo has 135 campsites, with over 2,500 acres of total land. Visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=616 or call 805.488.1827.
Nicholas Canyon State Beach is 1 mile east of Leo Carrillo at 33850 Pacific Coast Highway. Small beach where you can hang out, fish, picnic, surf and more in about 23 acres. About 150 parking spaces available. Generally $8 to park, or park on PCH. More info at http://1.usa.gov/QRtYhM. Restrooms available.
El Pescador State Beach is 1.4 miles east of Nicholas Canyon at 32900 Pacific Coast Highway. Steep stairs lead to about 10 acres of narrow, sandy beach. It is just east of Decker Canyon, the windy road that takes you up to Hidden Valley/Westlake Village. Parking is $8 or park on PCH. Small, secluded beach. Restrooms available.
La Piedra State Beach is .3 miles east of El Pescador at 32700 Pacific Coast Highway. Stairs lead to 9 acres of narrow, sandy beach. Parking is $8 or park on PCH. Small, secluded beach. Restrooms available.
El Matador State Beach is .3 miles east of La Piedra at 32350 Pacific Coast Highway. Stairs lead to 18 acres of narrow, sandy beach with scenic sea stacks. As with the three previous beaches, restrooms and paid parking, as well as street parking, is available.
Lechuza Beach in Malibu, a mile east of El Matador State Beach, is maintained by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority. It is a small, sandy beach with beautiful rock formations and views up the coast. Accessible via the northeast end of Broad Beach Road. More information and specific access points at www.lamountains.com/parks.asp?parkid=663.
Zuma Beach is located at 30000 Pacific Coast Highway about 3.5 miles east of El Matador. At 4 miles long, Zuma is one of the largest and most popular beaches in Los Angeles County, Zuma is known for its long, wide sands and excellent surf. Plenty of facilities, including several food stands, restrooms, showers, volleyball, etc. Plenty of street parking on PCH and over 2,000 parking spaces (currently $8 weekdays and $10 weekends). Visit beaches.lacounty.gov for more information. Zuma is known for riptides, so do be careful out there.
Point Dume State Beach is a 63 acre promontory that juts out into the Pacific and features headlands, cliffs, rocky coves and vast beach access for swimming, surfing, scuba diving and fishing. Westward Beach borders Zuma Beach at Zuma's south side. Plenty of parking on Westward Beach Road, which parallels Westward Beach. To the southeast of Westward Beach is a small 300 foot or so beachfront area called Pirate's Cove Beach (which due to its seclusion was once used as a nude beach).
At the end of Westward Beach Road (WBR), access to the protected 34-acre Point Dume Natural Preserve parcel begins from the cul-de-sac. A gradual ascending trail leads to an ancient coastal bluff sand dune with spectacular views...we've seen whales, seals and dolphins over here. A stairway from the east side of the bluff-top preserve allows access to a more isolated beach and tidepools (look but don't touch). Location/Directions: Take Kanan south to PCH and turn right. WBR is over the rise, at the foot of the hill. Park free on WBR or pay a fee at Westward Beach lot. No restrooms at the Preserve but some can be found on WBR. Call 310.457.8143 or visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=623 for more information.
Paradise Cove Beach is a private beach located at 28128 Pacific Coast Highway, accessed via Paradise Cove Road. It is a small, private beach open 7 days a week, sunrise to sunset. Parking is $3 for 4 hours if you spend 4 hours at the Paradise Cove Beach Cafe or $30/day if you park there. They charge $10 walk-in if you park on the street. There are restrooms, cabanas, lounge chairs and chairs for rent, a small pier. Visit www.paradisecovemalibu.com.
Dan Blocker Beach is located at 26000 Pacific Coast Highway (between Solstice Canyon and Corral Canyon Roads. A sandy, narrow beach that draws surfers and scuba divers. Limited free roadside parking. Restrooms are available. Corral Canyon (trail map HERE) is located across the street at 25623 PCH. The Trailhead is on the north side of PCH next to Malibu Seafood restaurant. The beach can be accessed from via a seasonal trail under PCH. 310.305.9546
Malibu Beach is a 167 acre beach at 23050 and 23200 Pacific Coast Highway that includes Malibu Lagoon, Malibu Lagoon Museum and the Malibu Pier. Malibu Surfrider Beach next to the pier is quite popular with local surfers. Parking available for a fee, or park across the street on streets surrounding the Malibu Country Mart and walk across PCH at the signaled crosswalk at Cross Creek Road.
Las Tunas Beach is located at 19444 Pacific Coast Highway, about 4 1/2 miles east of the Malibu Pier. It is a narrow beach beneath the bluffs that holds a special attraction to surf casters. Free parking lot. Located between Tuna Canyon and Las Flores Canyon Roads.
And there's more...the California Coastal Commission Shoreline Public Access Program helps maximize public access to the beach along the California coast. When you see one of those "Coastal Access" signs, that means you can get to the beach. More on the program at www.coastal.ca.gov/access/accndx.html. The L.A. County Dept of Beaches and Harbors has published Malibu beach accessways at file.lacounty.gov/dbh/cms1_151453.jpg, including 11 accessways on PCH, Malibu Road and Broad Beach Road. But if you do check them out, be mindful of those who live there!