July 3, 2009

Beaches we love and how we love the beach

I was thinking as I wrote our last beach post, that after 5 years of beaching with kids and some 6 years previous in Hawaii, I have learned a few tricks to make the beach easy, fun, and low key. Most of the things we need are in the car already.

In the car keep:
snacks like crackers and granola bars
water- we keep two juice bottles full of water in the back. It's good for rinsing off feet or drinking.
sand toys
in the summer we keep swimming suits in the back, with the beach nearby, it's good to be prepared.
quarters for parking
coupons for Baja Fresh

To the beach take:
more snacks/food and water

I use a big Ikea bag to keep it all together. It's light weight, waterproof, and holds a ton.

When and Where to go:

We go in the morning or late afternoon. This is a habit we picked up in Hawaii. 10-2 is the time when the beach is the most crowded and you're going to get the nastiest sunburn.
-Parking is free at Newport Pier after 6, so if you get there at 5 you only have to pay for one hour of parking.
-The surf is better at north of the pier. J likes it around 46th and up. If you get there around 4, residents haven't gotten home from work, so there's plenty of parking. On Saturdays, it's harder to get parking in the morning because people haven't left home yet (but it's doable).
-Crystal Cove is great during the winter. There usually isn't anyone taking money during the weekdays. They usually leave around 5 or 6 during the summer, but you don't have to leave the park until sunset. There are bathrooms by the parking lots. Quite a hike to get to the water, but worth it.
-We love Crescent Bay in Laguna Beach. Turn right on Cliff Drive and parking is free. Bathrooms and showers. Also check out Heisler Park just a little further south. Pay parking, bathrooms and showers.
-Little Corona is beautiful, free parking, bathrooms and showers (are they done renovating them yet?) but a steep hike w/ the kiddies. But, you can take a stroller down practically to the water. Try a little beach hike walking south. FUN!

We don't go out to eat very often. But we make an exception when we go to the beach. The kids just can't handle missing dinner, so last night we stopped by McD's and got the kids cheeseburgers and fries off of the dollar menu. $3.23 for fed, content kids, definitely worth it. There's a McD's on PCH in NB. Sometimes we stop by Baja Fresh for burritos. Yum. It's on PCH in CDM across from Albertson's.

We don't usually stay at the beach for more than 2 hours. No need to overload. It'll still be there tomorrow!

What are your favorite beaches? What do you have to bring?


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've been waiting for you to post on this. We've gone several times to that beach in Laguna you told us about and love it. I even tried to boogie board (and got pretty beat up- maybe you could explain the right way to do that.)

  2. Good idea! I really should keep beach stuff ready in the car.

    I sometimes miss CA beaches. In NJ you have to pay to park AND to get on the beach most places. Blah. The sand here is nicer and the water is generally warmer, but for some reason it's easier to burn here and the people are not as beautiful(seriously). And it's WAY crowded! Even more so than the most crowded day in CA. All summer.


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