Rincon Point in Carpinteria

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Rincon Point is home to one of the most popular surfing spots in the world. Accessible near the Ventura/Santa Barbara County line just a few miles east of Downtown Carpinteria. Take the Bates Avenue offramp off the 101 Freeway towards the ocean. On the right is access to the City of Carpinteria's Rincon Beach Park and on the left is access to the Rincon Point parking area. Open 6am to 9pm daily, with a not-particulary-nice porta-john available in the parking area.

There is a trail that takes you to the beach area from the parking lot. The area is also surrounded by beach homes.

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A view toward the north from Rincon Point (in the direction of Rincon Beach Park).

A view toward the north from Rincon Point (in the direction of Rincon Beach Park).

THE BEACH BOYS INCLUDED A REFERENCE TO RINCON IN SURFIN' SAFARI:

At Huntington and Malibu

They're shooting the pier

At Rincon they're walking the nose

We're going on safari to the islands this year

So if you're coming get ready to go

Soter Point at Marina Park in Ventura

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Dedicated in 2011, Soter Point at Marina Park in Ventura consists of a shaded picnic area, benches, attractive landscaping and a 15 foot mermaid statue. Soter Point is the result of a private/public partnership between local Ventura residents and the City of Ventura.

The inscription on a plaque on the Mermaid of Soter Point tells the story:

This stunning landmark overlooking the Ventura Harbor represents a trailblazing cooperative effort to beautify our community through private citizens working with public agencies. Andy Soter developed and landscaped the area in memory of his daughter Andrea, a successful and much admired investment manager. The mermaid sculpture and its foundation were donated by Russian emigrants Alec and Tatyana Benke, as an expression of love for their new country, America. Samuel Povar created the first collaboration of this nature in 2007 as a tribute to his late wife Orianna and worked tirelessly to make this Marina Park project a reality. And, the Ventura City Council and the Coastal Commission gave their enthusiastic blessing. Now Povar, Soter, and Benke, all Ventura residents, hope to inspire others to use private capital along with public cooperation and support…to envision something beautiful and make it happen.

Soter Point is located at the southernmost point of Marina Park, a short walk from the main playground area of the park. With beautiful views looking out toward Ventura Harbor and picnic area cooled by sea breezes, Soter Point does not Disa-Point.

Bench faces south toward Ventura Harbor Village

Bench faces south toward Ventura Harbor Village

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El Matador State Beach in Malibu

Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach is made up of a number of cove or cliff-foot strands known as "pocket beaches" along the west end of Malibu, including El Pescador, La Piedra and El Matador. Let's take a closer look at El Matador Beach.

El Matador Beach is located at 32350 Pacific Coast Highway, just east of where Encinal Canyon Road intersects with PCH. A dirt path, then several sets of steps, leads to 18 acres of narrow, sandy beach with beautiful rock formations and caves. Because of the unique nature of these formations, undoubtedly you will encounter many folks taking photos.

Of particular interest at El Matador State Beach are the rock formations, sea stacks and caves 

Of particular interest at El Matador State Beach are the rock formations, sea stacks and caves 

A view east towards Point Dume from the bluffs above the beach.

A view east towards Point Dume from the bluffs above the beach.

There is a parking lot with limited room for 25 or so cars where you can pay $3/hour or $10 for all day (as of July 2017).  You can also park on PCH, but on the north side...for whatever reason parking is prohibited on the south side of PCH. This means you have to cross PCH, which can be a challenge.

Porta-johns are available. Dog are not allowed on California state beaches.

More information at www.lamountains.com/parks.asp?parkid=145.

CLICK HERE FOR OTHER PUBLIC BEACHES STRETCHING FROM OXNARD TO MALIBU

Not a lot of beach available when the tide rises in the evening, so do be careful.

Not a lot of beach available when the tide rises in the evening, so do be careful.

Surfer's Knoll Beach in Ventura

Surfer's Knoll Beach is located in Ventura adjacent from Ventura Harbor Village and as its name implies, is geared towards surfers, as well as others looking to relax and explore. Riptides are common here so be careful if you're a novice swimmer. There are restrooms and showers but no lifeguards on hand. There is a relatively small parking lot available at 1596 Spinnaker Drive; parking is free.

One great thing about this beach is that it is one of the few almost completely westbound facing beaches throughout the area, meaning...it is a great place to catch the sunset! And several of the Channel Islands - Anacapa and Santa Cruz.

Though this is a nice, sandy beach, a better beach for kids/families is just north up the road at Harbor Cove Beach, which is calmer water, protected by jetties. 

Thornhill Broome Campground in Point Mugu State Park

Thornhill Broome Family Campground is located at 9000 Pacific Coast Highway in Point Mugu State Park. The beachfront campground offers 68 tent/RV spaces. There are no hookups for RVs or flush toilets; just chemical toilets and cold outside showers. However, you are camping ON THE BEACH! Gotta love that!

Sites have picnic tables and fire rings. Pets are allowed on leash in the campground. Fees as of June 2017 are $35/night. Visit ReserveAmerica.com at THIS LINK to make reservations. Be aware, however, that summer months in particular book up way in advance.

Keep in mind that there is no shade when you camp at the beach. So if you don't have an RV, be sure to bring a canopy and/or umbrella.

Thornhill Broome Beach is across from the gigantic sand dune that provides for a great workout and views. And due east is Sycamore Cove and Sycamore Canyon...which of course is the most direct path...albeit by foot or bike...to Newbury Park and the Conejo Valley from the beach.

And of course the Sycamore Canyon Campground is across from Sycamore Cove, if you're looking for additional camping possibilities.

Traveling southeast on PCH from Oxnard/Camarillo; this sign tells you you're just about there.

Traveling southeast on PCH from Oxnard/Camarillo; this sign tells you you're just about there.

The cool, massive sand dune across from Thornhill Broome Beach (be careful crossing PCH!).

The cool, massive sand dune across from Thornhill Broome Beach (be careful crossing PCH!).

Point Dume State Beach

On November 24, 1793, English explorer George Vancouver named the rocky promontory Point Dume after his friend, Father Francisco Dumetz. Point Dume is the western terminus of Santa Monica Bay and was named California Registered Historical Landmark No. 965.

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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 and scuba diving.

To get to Point Dume State Beach, take Westward Beach Road southeast from PCH near Zuma Beach's south side to the paid parking area, or park 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).

Pirate's Cove beach seen from the top of the promontory. You can climb down there and when the tide is moderate to low, walk around to it.

Pirate's Cove beach seen from the top of the promontory. You can climb down there and when the tide is moderate to low, walk around to it.

The 34-acre Point Dume Natural Preserve also 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). You'll have fun exploring up here.

This is a snippet of the pilot episode, "The Lady in the Bottle," of I Dream of Jeannie that originally aired September 18, 1965. If you skip to 1:39 in this clip, you will see the prominent rock formations on the east side of the Point Dume promontory. Below is a more recent shot of that area.

This is where Captain Anthony Nelson (Larry Hagman) made a giant S.O.S. in the sand with sticks and other items, including an old bottle that moved itself. He picks it up, dusts it off, and out pops Barbara Eden. Lucky guy!

This is where Captain Anthony Nelson (Larry Hagman) made a giant S.O.S. in the sand with sticks and other items, including an old bottle that moved itself. He picks it up, dusts it off, and out pops Barbara Eden. Lucky guy!

Location/Directions: Take Kanan south to PCH and turn right. Westward Beach Road 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. Also see beaches.lacounty.gov/point-dume-beach.

Dogs are not allowed on trails in the Point Dume Natural Preserve or on the beach.

Westward Beach

Westward Beach

Springtime at the Point Dume Natural Preserve

Springtime at the Point Dume Natural Preserve

Gondola Paradiso at Channel Islands Harbor

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Founded in January 2014, Gondola Paradiso provides luxury Venetian-style cruises through the canals of the Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard.

Cruises leave from Seabridge Marina, located off South Victoria Avenue at the Channel Islands Harbor, 1301 S. Victoria Avenue, Oxnard. To book a cruise, call (805) 616-4475 and for more information visit www.gondolaparadiso.com.

Westward Beach In Malibu

Westward Beach is about a mile strip of beach in Malibu, sandwiched between Zuma Beach and Zuma Lagoon on the northwest and Point Dume State Beach on the east.

This nice beach has both parallel street parking available on Westward Beach Road and a parking lot (which on a Sunday can cost $14; weekdays is less). Although $14 is a bit steep for some, what I like about it as well as the beach's lack of proximity to Pacific Coast Highway is that this beach, from my experience, is never particularly crowded. 

What I also like about Westward Beach is its close proximity to the Point Dume Natural Preserve, and the periodic sightings of seals, dolphins and other sea life.

Westward Beach generally is not as swim-friendly as nearby Zuma Beach as the waves are choppier and less duration and higher impact. While we've taken the boogie boards into the ocean here, we weren't particularly successful at catching waves here. That said...my little ones love playing in the sand and running from the waves here.

Another cool thing at the southwest end of the beach is a sheer cliff used for rock climbing.

There are restrooms available here as well as an outdoor shower facility.

Location/Directions: Take Kanan south to PCH and turn right. Westward Beach Road is over the rise, at the foot of the hill. Call 310.457.8143 or visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=623 for more information.

Condor Express Whale Watching in Santa Barbara

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The Condor Express is Santa Barbara's newest, most modern whale watching, party cruise, and private charter vessel, launched in March 2002. A beautifully appointed vessel, the Condor Express boasts large walk-around decks, a generous upper sun-deck, and a raised forward bow area. These features provide unparalleled, close-to-the-action, viewing of the Santa Barbara Channels' marine life and scenic coastline. The luxurious teak-paneled cabin seats 68 people for comfortable dining with a smoked glass skylight.

The Condor Express is the ideal platform for whale watching, island excursions, weddings and receptions, company charters, dinner cruises, educational and research trips - virtually any type of ocean outing! The Condor Express's unique combination of speed, luxury, safety, and experienced crew offers our passengers the opportunity to see and experience more of the sights, wildlife, and beauty of the Santa Barbara Channel and the Channel Islands than any other vessel.

Today, with the California Gray Whale population restored to its pre-whaling numbers (18,000-26,000), and the recent appearance of Humpback and Blue whales during the summer months (since 1992), whale watching aboard Condor Cruises has evolved into a year-round adventure.

With more than 30 years of experience, over 100,000 satisfied passengers, and a love and appreciation for the ocean and its inhabitants, Condor Cruises has evolved into one of the most successful whale watching and private charter boat operations in the U.S.

Visit www.condorexpress.com or call 805.882.0088 for more information. Trips depart delay from the Sea Landing (Cabrillo Blvd and Bath St).

Malibu Lagoon State Beach

Malibu Lagoon State Beach is where Malibu Creek meets the Pacific Ocean. To get there, park either at the state lot (corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Cross Creek Road) for a fee ($12 in 2014), along Pacific Coast Highway or across the street in spots available near Malibu Country Mart and the Malibu Civic Center.

The lagoon is serene, with a sandbar of pelicans enjoying their summer day. This beach extends southeast to Surfrider Beach and the Malibu Pier, which is just a short walk away. While you're there try to check out the Adamson House and Malibu Lagoon Museum.

More information at www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=835. Dogs are not allowed at Malibu Lagoon State Beach and trails.

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Carbon Beach in Malibu

The Carbon Beach coastline as seen from the Malibu Pier

The Carbon Beach coastline as seen from the Malibu Pier

Carbon Beach is perhaps the most expensive 1 1/2 mile strip of beach in the world, located roughly between the Malibu Pier and just east of Carbon Canyon Road. 

The beach is wide, with lots of dry sand, making it particularly pristine and desirable, but public access is fairly limited, there are no public restrooms and dogs are not allowed.

According to the California Coastal Commission, in addition to "Public Access Easement" areas, "the public has the right to use all lands seaward of the ambulatory mean high tide line." Huh? This is no different than other beaches in California.

The access point on the west side of Carbon Beach is called the Zonker Harris* Access Way at 22670 Pacific Coast Highway, between Nobu Malibu (22706 PCH) and 22664 PCH (McDonald's is right across the street). 

* Opened in 1983 and named after the hippie Doonesbury character who worships the sun.

You can also park at the Malibu Pier and walk to Carbon Beach. It is about a half mile.

There is also public parking available on the upper floor of 22601 PCH on summer weekends and holidays.

The Carbon Beach West Public Accessway is at 22466 PCH. Funny, Google Maps actually refers to this as Billionaires Beach Public Access.

The Carbon Beach East Public Accessway is at 22126 PCH (in between 22140 PCH and the property at 22126 PCH - this is the property owned, or possibly now previously owned, by David Geffen).

And there you have it. For a pdf map from the California Coastal Commission showing public beach access at Carbon Canyon, click THIS LINK.