California Beaches: What’s Your Image?

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Agate Beach, Humboldt County, California, USA

Agate Beach, Humboldt County, California, USA

When you think of California beaches what images do you see?

Crowds, bikinis, surfers, smog, traffic jams, heat, noise, fun, in-line skaters, muscle builders, palm trees, sand, or what?

The far northern California beaches have the surfers, the fun, the sand, but the rest? Not so much.

On beaches like Agate Beach shown in this photograph you can spend hours walking, beach-combing, looking for rocks, enjoying the scenery, or just sitting listening to the waves wash across the coarse sand, without dealing with crowds.

This isn’t a beach where you can drive up and walk onto the sand. You have to work to get there down a trail and stairs.

In the summer the coastal areas of northern California are often foggy and cloudy, at least in the morning. So sunny times are to be celebrated. Several days may pass between sightings of the sun.

These beaches don’t have some of the ‘attractions’ of southern California beaches, or the vendors of Mexican beaches, or the seemingly endless volleyball and soccer matches of Copacabana, or the charms of the Côte d’Azur of France, or the ancient wind-swept stone villages of Brittany, or even the shells  and high-rises of Florida.

But when northern Californians have time they can enjoy dramatic and quiet beaches and find that there are very few other people out on the beach. Like other rural coastal areas it is hard to make a living in these small towns. And like tough Breton farmers, fishermen, and shop-keepers they find a way. They find a way to enjoy these beaches when they can. They don’t miss the ‘amenities’.

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