A cypress tree and the ocean beyond taken by lg in 17-mile Drive.

Obviously, Davis' location in the Central Valley makes it a poor place to go looking for a beach. There is no ocean or water and therefore, there is no fun1. The yearning to see the big blue drives many Davisites west on Interstate 80, past the Coastal Range and on to the beach. The following is a list of beaches that are conceivable day-adventures away.

Sacramento/Yolo/Solano Counties

see also swimming

American River

The American River

Cache Creek

There are many small, sandy beaches along Cache Creek; there are several near the town of Rumsey that are clean, easily accessible and somewhat secluded. The current can be swift and the sand in the creek bottom very loose, so use caution if you decide to wade out into the water.

On the way to Rumsey along Highway 16 you will find Vernon Nichols County Park, which has a nice little swim hole and a couple of beaches.

Folsom Lake

Lake Berryessa

Lake Berryessa has a lot of shoreline and coves not too far from roads and parking areas that are perfect for a quick dip or an afternoon of lounging. The shoreline changes depending on the water-level of the lake. (Keep an eye out for ticks if you walk through tall grass or bushes.)

Meat Beach

Also known as the Rec Pool

Putah Creek

Lake Solano County Park

Sacramento River

North Bay

Point Reyes

Drakes Beach, Limantour Beach, and Point Reyes Beach.

Check out Point Reyes Ranger Station a great place to get local hiking maps, see a "mock" wilderness, and even rent horses. They also have a authentic wigwam nearby. Most of the trails are bike and horse rider friendly, although there are exclusive hiker ones as well. Also check the station for updates on mountain lions and tule elk herd locations.

NPS Website

Travel time from Davis: 1h 40mins



Bolinas has a reputation for not liking outsiders. When the county puts up directional signs, they are inevitably cut down by a local. The beaches are nice and great places to find shells or go sea fishing. There is also a nice bakery.

Travel time from Davis: 1hr 50mins


Stinson Beach

Stinson beach on a pretty day

Stinson is a nice, quiet beach. A great place to escape. In recent years the waters have witnessed more human-shark encounters. The town is quaint and has some nice shops to visit.

Travel time from Davis: 1hr 40mins


Muir Beach

Muir Beach

Probably the closest beach to Davis, Muir Beach is fairly small but beautiful. It has a small creek dividing the beach, a bluff hike, and some great tidepooling.

Travel time from Davis: 1hr 30mins


San Francisco

Aquatic Park

Located next to Ghiradelli Square and Fisherman's Warf, the Aquatic Park beach is one of the most popular bay swimming spots. The Dolphin and South End Rowing clubs are both located inside this harbor so there are many lap swimmers. It's a very urban beach, so there aren't many sunbathers. It's pretty cool to swim laps around the tall ships though.

Travel time from Davis: 1hr 10mins


Crissy Field

Crissy Field, the stretch of beach on the north side of San Francisco between the Palace of Fine Arts and the Golden Gate Bridge is a very popular place. The perks include, beautiful views of the bridge and bay, a huge grassy area, bbq grills, trails, the "Warming Hut" cafe as well as easy access. They also allow dogs.

Travel time from Davis: 1hr 10mins


Baker Beach

Baker Beach offers nice views of the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate Bridge. There are many picnic tables and bbqs. It's a good spot for fishing but not for swimming. This beach is one of the most secluded inside the city, for that reason the north end sometimes hosts nude sunbathers. Cool things to check out include: the army bunkers, cannons, the Presidio National Park and the steep sand trail.

Travel time from Davis: 1hr 10mins


Specific directions: Follow the signs on Lincoln Blvd in San Francisco. The beach is located between the SeaCliff neighborhood and the Golden Gate Bridge.

China Beach

A good spot for swimming and more private sunbathing. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer.

Travel time from Davis: 1hr 10mins


Specific directions: Seacliff and 28th Avenue

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach is the largest beach in the area. One really gets a feel that the Pacific Ocean is "Out There". Fires are allowed with some restrictions (only after dark down by the Safeway). During the summer months there could be as many as 50+ fires and parties going on. People surf on this beach. Beware of the water, it is notorious for rip tides and often kills. People going wading have been dragged out to sea. A record seven people died in 1998. There have been several Great White Shark attacks at this location. Interesting nearby attractions include, the SF Zoo, the Musee Mechanique, Sutro Baths, the Windmill and the Buffalo enclosure inside Golden Gate Park.

San Mateo County


Pacifica State Beach is located right next to the Taco Bell. Nearby, check out: Rockaway Beach, Grey Whale Cove (nudist beach), Montara State Beach, Dunes Beach, and Venice Beach. Linda Mar Beach isn't recommened as a nice lounging beach but it's a great beginner Surfing spot.

Travel time from Davis: 1hr 45mins


Half Moon Bay

Travel time from Davis: 1hr 40mins


Pebble Beach

The only city in the country you have to pay ($7.75) to get in, unless you are a resident or know a resident.

Travel time from Davis: 2hrs 30mins


Monterey Bay


Capitola Beach is in a little bay surrounded by colorful houses.

Travel time from Davis: 2hrs


Santa Cruz

Its Beach in December (taken by aec)

Main Beach- Abuts the beach boardwalk; this is where most tourists come. The beach is often crowded in summer and has poor water quality due the nearby river mouth.

Its Beach is immediately north of Santa Cruz's Lighthouse - this small beach is less crowded than others in town, borders on Lighthouse Field State Park and is exceedingly dog friendly.

Travel time from Davis: 2hrs



Manresa Beach, Sunset Beach, and Seacliff Beach, among others, require parking fees. They are generally less crowded as you go south, away from Santa Cruz. On weekends and busy days, Sunset Beach runs out of parking. Seacliff Beach is out of parking more often than that.

Oceanview Beach, Pajaro Dunes Beach, and others are free but lack much as far as restrooms go. Some have portable ones, but that changes with funding. They are less crowded than the paid ones.

Between Aptos and Monterey

From north to south, some beaches in this range are Zmudowski, Moss Landing, Salinas River, Monterey Dunes, and Marina Beaches, None of these charge for parking, and they are much less crowded compared to Santa Cruz and Monterey, except that Marina doesn't have much parking. Local people and random tourists from really far away end up at Moss Landing. Also, you may want to intern at MBARI.


The beach wraps most of the way around Monterey, and usually all you have to do to find it is walk toward the ocean. Parking in Monterey is scarce on weekends and certain days, as well as metered in lots of places.

Travel time to Davis: 2hrs 30mins


Rio Vista

Sandy Beach

I'm not sure if this can be truly considered a beach, but there is sand, water, and it's really close by. Located on the Sacramento River, right before it turns into the delta, and then the bay. Obviously there aren't any waves, but it is a pretty good spot for windsurfing. A 40 mile drive, exit I-80 in Dixon at 113, continue to 12 east.

Travel time from Davis: 40mins




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2005-03-06 10:02:55   Is it feasible to list the distances of these beaches to Davis? This would give it a Davis-centric flavor and make it super easy for people to figure out where they have time to go. —CarlMcCabe

2005-03-06 10:03:47   I forgot to say in the last comment, awesome page! —CarlMcCabe

2005-03-06 10:15:48   Yes, driving times and directions should be added. —JackHaskel

2005-04-02 12:54:24   Be kind of neat to see a wiki for Santga Cruz like here. Neat town as well. —BradCuppy

2005-06-12 17:43:48   It says there is no water in the central valley. What about Lake Berryessa and the Sac River? —GiladGurantz

2005-06-12 20:33:46   What the wiki says must be true! —JackHaskel

2006-03-15 12:44:16   In the summer one *could* go up to tahoe or in the foothills and find a lake. If you are looking for water fun, there is Lake Folsom(i think that is what it is called) and then there are many like an hr to 2 hrs away like don pedro, tullock, and new melones. Berryessa is good for a quick day trip as well. —MarkMcDermott

2008-12-27 22:56:23   I disagree with the travel times to SF and the Santa Cruz / Monterey Co. Beaches. —BryceH

2011-04-27 22:21:13   There are a whole bunch of beautiful small beaches if you take Highway 1 South from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz. Me and my girlfriend decided to take the long way to Santa Cruz last Spring and man, it was magical. If you want a whole beach to yourself, one of these places are your best bet. There was a pretty cool lighthouse along the way too. —CecilioPadilla

2012-07-28 15:00:27   Where is the closest ocean beach to Davis? Does not have to be for swimming, more interested in tide pools, and for taking pics of the area then actually going into the water. —elizabeth2014


1. "no ocean- or water-related fun, that is."