Top 5 beaches near Stanford

July 22, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Whether it’s a fun picnic with a group of friends or an Instagram-ed romantic sunset stroll, nothing says summer like a day at the beach. Here are our picks of Bay Area beaches that will satisfy all of your sand and sun cravings.

New Brighton State Beach. Courtesy of California State Parks, 2013.
New Brighton State Beach. Courtesy of California State Parks, 2013.

New Brighton State Beach
Nestled in the charming City of Capitola, New Brighton is the beach to hit for a game of Frisbee, an evening barbeque or simply a day in the California sunshine. While this beach tends to be crowded with families and couples, sand space is easy to find and parking is readily available. The water tends to be chilly, but it’s good for dipping in toes to get the exhilarating rush of the summer ocean.
Drive time from campus: 53 minutes.

Gray Whale Cove State Beach
If you’re looking for a private, secluded beach cove that offers soft sand, warm sun and a breathtaking sunset, drive up to Gray Whale and take in all that nature has to offer. Hugged by cliffs that drop into the North Pacific Ocean, Gray Whale Cove offers privacy and beauty all in one. Drive up at 6 p.m. to watch the fiery sun dip below the sparkling horizon, or grab a towel at noon and revel in the glory of sun and sand. Although accessing the beach can be tricky (make sure to follow the paved path), once you get there you’ll be glad you did.
Drive time from campus: 42 minutes.

Carmel Beach
Nothing says quaint quite like the seaside town of Carmel-By-The-Sea and its neighboring beach. Apart from visiting Carmel Beach itself, which is ranked as one of the cleanest and most scenic in the nation, this oceanside town has many fun activities to offer. Explore the town’s shops and boutiques and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant with a view of the Pacific. And if you visit, don’t forget to check out Cottage of Sweets, Carmel’s famous candy shop, and its selection of licorice, fudges and other decadent treats.
Drive time from campus: 90 minutes.

Gray Whale Cove State Beach. Courtesy of California State Parks, 2013
Gray Whale Cove State Beach. Courtesy of California State Parks, 2013

Coyote Point Park
All of your summer activities are conveniently wrapped up into one bundle over at Coyote Point Park, located in San Mateo just a 20-minute drive from Stanford. Among the opportunities here are windsurfing, hiking, camping, boating and sailing. Although additional fees are usually charged for parking, camping and group picnicking, the bounty of activities here is endless. Designed to be a recreational hotspot for patrons of all ages, there is something here for everyone.
Drive time from campus: 20 minutes.

Sunny Cove
For your dose of salty ocean air and a good spot to bathe in the sun, visit Sunny Cove Beach, complete with yellow sand and blue water, and located just east of the overcrowded Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Parking can get difficult during the busy season, but you’re sure to find a spot on a side street within walking distance of the beach. Plan a blanket picnic with friends, or bring your dog here to kick up sand and splash in the crisp water.
Drive time from campus: 53 minutes.


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