Over the past month or so I’ve been traveling around California and enjoying the wonderful and varied landscape the state has to offer. Here’s some great places to run and check out around California!
Little River State Beach
Hardly anyone is here except a couple people walking dogs. This is a great wide-open beach with sand dunes, awesome for a quick run. Easy Parking available until sunset.
Redwood National Forest
Went for a hike on Miners Ridge Trail, starting at the Prairie Creek Visitor Center. This hike leads you all the way to Gold Bluffs Beach. The beach is calm and peaceful with no one for miles. Combined with the 8 mile round trip hike a run on this beach makes for a great work out. You can’t beat the magnificent trees and empty beach to a feel a true connection to nature!
Located only about an hour’s drive north of San
Francisco, this area is definitely worth a trip to take in some of California’s beautiful coast line. Check out the website: Point Reyes National Seashore
There are several trails and beaches throughout the park. I checked out several including: Limantour Beach, Point Reyes Lighthouse, Chimney Rock, and Bulls Head Trail. Limantour Beach is a great place to sunbath, swim, or run. On a nice day there are plenty of people here but it’s not so crowded you can’t enjoy yourself. You can easily get in a 5 mile run on the beach with parking only 1/4 mile away.
If you are looking for a stair workout, check out Point Reyes lighthouse.
Originally built in 1870, the lighthouse was retired from service in 1975 when the coast guard installed an automated light signal. The lighthouse is now owned by the National Park Service. While you can’t visit it everyday because of the high winds and heavy fog that frequent the area, if it’s open it’s worth checking out.
Sausalito is a small town on the San Francisco Bay just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. If you are ambitious you can run there from the city, across the Golden Gate Bridge. When you get across the bridge just follow the signs to the footpath along the water. If you aren’t planning on a long run for the day, it is worth the drive or ferry ride up there and running along the water and through the town. It makes for an easy run, and a quick escape from the city. You’ll find a large array of artists’ galleries and restaurants up here to spend the afternoon. Plus, you can’t beat the beautiful views of San Francisco and the bay!
Los Angeles South Bay
The South Bay is my favorite part of LA. Having lived here I frequently go back. On my most recent visit I realized how much I missed running along the beach. The weather in this area is almost always perfect for running and exercising. Unlike the much of LA, in the summer it rarely gets over 85 degrees and always has a great breeze. My favorite run here is running on the boardwalk along the beach. I often start in Hermosa Beach running north through Manhattan Beach. To get in a long run I will include either Redondo Beach to the south or El Segundo to the north. The running path connects all
of them and makes it really easy to enjoy the beach.
Hermosa Pier is one of the night spots in the South Bay. You’ll find a variety of bars and restaurants along Pier Ave. and will always find a crowd on weekend nights. There are beach volleyball courts all along Hermosa Beach and you can always see some great players practicing or playing. There are beach volleyball tournaments here toward the end of the summer each year. You can also find surfers all along the South Bay beaches.
Running north into Manhattan Beach you’ll start to see the houses start to get a little nicer as this is a wealthier city than Hermosa. The pier here has a nice
seafood restaurant at the end. As you turn right up Manhattan Beach Blvd. (the street ending in the pier) you’ll find the area filled with nice restaurants and boutiques. I usually run to the end of Manhattan Beach, turn around and run back to 15th Ave. where I take a left and run east up the hill. (The hills are steep so be prepared.)
You’ll run a few blocks east before hitting Valley Dr. There is a running path in the middle. I like to take this back down to Hermosa Beach. It’s a nice change from the beach, with trees surrounding it and wood chips to run on. There are also no bikes and fewer pedestrians. You can take this all the way to the end at Herondo St. When you get to the end take a right and head west a few blocks where you’ll hit the south end of Hermosa Beach.
Some Other things to Check out in Los Angeles
The Getty Center – This is my personal favorite place in LA. Free Admission, but paid parking.
Santa Monica Pier – Fun Activities and great running along the beach.
Hollywood Blvd. – If you go to LA, you can’t miss Hollywood
Griffith Park and Observatory – This a great park for hiking, and you can’t beat the views from the Observatory. If you go at night there are telescopes set up for you to see the stars.
This post is dedicated to my friend Andreu, my travel partner in my adventures around California.