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{top 5 favorite beaches}


We are on our final week of August….holy smokes, how did that happen?  September is the craziest month (other than December) of the year, in my opinion.  Everything begins.  School.  Sports.  4-H.  Activities.  Omega Nu.  Faith Formation.  Boosters.  My head is spinning just typing all this…yikes.  Already planning September blog content too.

But, before we get into fall + September.  Before I start sharing transitioning to fall clothing.  Before I set my fall tablescape.  Before I start filling my feed with casseroles  + comfort food recipes.


I HAVE to share my favorite beaches!

I’ve been writing this post since……

Last summer.  I kept starting and stopping.  The problem is, I had the hardest time ever narrowing down five beaches.  Honestly, I could easily do 10!

I want nothing more than to ditch work early on Friday’s and head to the nearest beach.  Bury my toes in the in the sand.  Open an ice-cold bud light lime.  Turn on some country music and lounge in the sun.

This my friends, is my paradise.  Even if it’s only 2 hours from home at the Lake or the Ocean.  There is absolutely nothing more relaxing and good for the soul than sitting on a beach!

While the water may not be warm enough for swimming.  Toe dipping is always do-able.  Seashell hunting is possible.  Picnicking is always a good time.  Or just sitting on your ass staring at the waves.

Here is a list of my favorite beaches, tested + approved by yours truly.


I think Bay would agree, this is our #1 favorite beach!


#1 – Pope Beach

South Lake Tahoe (2 hour 15 min drive)

Surprise, Surprise!  My very favorite beach ever!  This spot is where I like to put my toes in the water, ass in the sand.  With an ice-cold bud light lime in hand.  It also happens to be about 8 miles from our family cabin.  I grew up spending summers right here.

This sandy beach is 3/4 miles long.  Incredible views of Lake Tahoe and Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Great beach for swimming.  Picnicking.  Water sports…..Kayak + stand up board rentals on the beach.  Food concession too!

It also happens to be the first beach once you arrive in South Lake Tahoe.  Which means it can get packed.  There is a bike trail that extends from Pope Beach.  Through Camp Richardson.  All the way to Baldwin Beach.

Next time you’re in Tahoe, add this beach to your to-do list.  I’m 100% sure you’ll love it as much as my family does!





#2 – Ocean Beach

San Francisco (1 hr 40 min drive)

Ocean Beach, right is San Francisco’s backyard.  On the westernmost border of SF across from Golden Gate Park you’ll find this 3 1/2 mile stretch of beach that is beyond picturesque.  Sitting on the sand watching the sunset here, you really cant beat it and really should do it.  September + October are my most favorite times of the year to visit Ocean Beach.  Their Indian Summer is in full swing right now!

Stop at the Cliff House for a glass of bubbles or a bite to eat.  You won’t be disappointed!  And if you’re feeling adventurous or have the whole day….I highly recommend checking out the Sutro Baths.  The concrete ruins are just north of the Cliff House.  You can’t miss it.  And the gorgeous Lands End Trail begins right in this spot too.  Can you tell this spot has a place in my heart?

I instantly have FOMO and just opened my calendar to pencil in a Sunday to spend here!

Bay and I stopped to dip our toes in the ocean back in April here: {weekend notes}





We do our annual beach Easter Egg hunt at Stinson Beach ♥


#3 – Stinson Beach

Marin County (2 hour drive)

Stinson Beach’s white sand oceanfront is one of Northern California’s best kept secrets.  Well, not really a secret.  I can’t tell you how many people ask me where it is or tell me they’ve never heard of this hidden gem.  I’m like…WHATTTT?  There’s something about the relaxed easy beach town vibe that keeps be coming back year after year.  Don’t let the windy ocean view drive up HWY 1 scare you…it’s so worth it!  The seaside town has great restaurants + bars + coffee shops all within 1 block.  Once you park your car, there is no need to drive again.

We’ve watched dolphins put on a show for us as we sat on this beach before.  GREAT people watching.  Kite flying.  Boogie boarding.  What I like most about it (other than the bar/restaurant on the beach) is that the actual beach is huge.  So, you don’t ever feel crowded…even on the busiest of weekends.  This beach is also dog friendly too!

We stay at The Sandpiper Inn and it comes highly recommended by myself + family + friends.  We’ve stayed in the main hotel.  One of the studio cabins.  And the last 3 years in the Cottage.



2016 Trip: {weekend notes}

2017 Trip: {weekend notes}

2018 Trip: {weekend notes}

2019 Trip: BOOKED!





#4 – Carmel Beach

Carmel-by-the-Sea (3 hour drive)

Right at the foot of Ocean Avenue, you’ll find Carmel Beach.  Once you get past the cypress trees lining the cobble stone streets in downtown Carmel.  This is where you find a roughly 1 mile long gorgeous crescent-shaped white sandy beach.  The fine, soft white sand.  The one you see in movies.  And the water…’s clear blue.  Fucking breathtaking, I tell you!  So serene.  You’ll find it impossible to not take 863 pictures.  It’s that good!

You’ll see lots of peeps strolling up and down the beach.  Kids jumping waves.  Volleyball.  Fishing.  Bonfires.  Parking is tough, but again – totally worth it!  Oh and dog Friendly too!

This photo is back from October 2015 when Cory + I explored Big Sur.  You can read more about it here: {weekend notes}

We’ll be back in Carmel in September and I’m trying to map out a way to set up my Tommy Bahama chair right in this spot!




#5 – Poplar Beach

Half Moon Bay (2 hour drive)

Located right off HWY 1 in the heart of Half Moon Bay, you’ll find Poplar Beach.  I had the pleasure of visiting this beach for the very first time a couple of weeks ago.  It left an impression on my heart!  We rode our beach cruisers on the CCT (California Coastal Trail) from Pillar Point Harbor.  About a 7 mile ride.  I wrote all about it here: {weekend notes}  I already have plans to take Bay and show her what Poplar Beach is all about.

I guess you could say it’s a pretty basic California Coast beach, but there’s just something about it.  I found a YouTube video taken by a drone flying over Poplar Beach.  I think it explains is better than I can: Video: Poplar Beach via drone

Not only is this beach dog friendly, it’s also horse friendly.  Pretty cool watching horses walk up and down the beach.  That was a first for me!



Other beaches that we truly love and deserve an honorable mention:


My beach list to visit is constantly growing…..


Going to the beach is ALWAYS, ALWAYS a good idea!  Next time you have a weekend with nothing you need to do, or planned to do….check out one of our Top 5 favorite beaches ♥


xoxo stacyb


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