Life’s a Beach

PHOTOS BY Chris Meugniot

Beach life is the best life. Especially on a warm summer evening.

From the dramatic outcroppings of Shell Beach to the watersports haven of Surfer’s Point, 
our sun-drenched Central Coast offers some of the best stretches of beach in California.

Let photographer Chris Meugniot inspire your next visit with these knock-out images.

San Luis Obispo

There are several beaches with its same name in California, but San Luis Obispo’s Pirate’s Cove Beach stands out. Its unique geology sparks the imagination, as do the numerous trails lining the bluff. But take note: the hike down the cliff face can be tricky for some, and there are stretches of sand that are clothing-optional.

In the northern reaches of Pismo Beach lies Shell Beach, a string of narrow beaches. What they lack in shoreline they more than make up for in drama. Explore the fascinating shoreline and caves from the water via kayak, or stroll along the cliffside above.

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara’s East Beach runs north and connects with Stearns Wharf, a historic pier featuring restaurants, shops, and the amazing Sea Center, part of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. It sits at the mouth of the Santa Barbara Harbor.

Hendry’s Beach and its dog-friendly neighbor, Arroyo Burro, lie several miles north of downtown Santa Barbara. Tucked along steep cliffs just off the aptly-named Cliff Drive, it feels far away from the civilized world. The Boathouse restaurant sits right on the beach and serves up awesome seafood and responsibly-sourced beef, among other house specialties.


You really can’t hit Surfer’s Point on a bad day. Though its shoreline is limited much of the day, it is one of the best spots to watch surfers, kite surfers, and wind surfers. Walk down the connected Ventura Promenade to the Ventura Pier and enjoy the views, brews, and super-fresh seafood (get the fish tacos!)

Ventura’s Harbor Cove Beach is a pleasant place to watch boats come and go while lounging amongst the sand dunes. On clear days you can see details on Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands, the two closest Channel Islands.

Surfer’s Knoll in Ventura is a relatively quiet stretch of beach across from the fun-filled Ventura Harbor. There’s lots of space to spread out, good waves for experienced riders, and plenty of bird watching opportunities.

South of Oxnard’s Channel Islands Harbor, Oxnard Shores offers a massive stretch of beach and — if you catch it at the right time — some beautiful little barrels. Walk near the jetty to watch boats come and go, or head down the beach for a stroll to pick out your dream beach house.