LUX Celebrate Summer: 6 Hidden Beaches
1. Robert E. Badham Marine Conservation Area - Better known as Little Corona, the petite, shy sister of hefty, popular Corona del Mar State Beach can be accessed only by those willing to look for street parking and then hike down (and back up) a lifeguard access road to a cove.
Destination location: Poppy Ave. at Ocean Blvd., Newport Beach.
2. Indian Beach - At the end of a twisty road that winds through dense Sitka spruce forests in Ecola State Park, Indian Beach looks open and welcoming. The smooth, sandy, horseshoe-shaped beach is tucked into a cove and sheltered from wind, making it a perfect place for surfing or just staring at sea stacks.
Destination location: At the end of the paved road in Ecola State Park. INFO: $3 per vehicle.
3. Point Buchon - Decades of hikers at Montaña de Oro State Park have reached a fence at the park's southern end and gazed longingly at the unspoiled California coast just beyond it. Now a 3-mile loop trail has opened on this Pacific Gas and Electric Company property, with access to secluded Coon Creek Beach.
Destination location: Follow Pecho Rd. to its southern end.
4. Leigh Lake - For a strangely tropical setting beneath the Tetons, canoe or kayak north up String Lake until a short portage brings you through the forest to Leigh Lake. On Leigh, bypass the first island you come to and head north about a half-mile, to where a peninsula on the western shore juts out to form a tiny beach. (There's a campground nearby too.)
Where it is From the Grand Teton National Park entrance at Moose, take Teton Park Rd. 10 miles north, turn left at N. Jenny Lake Rd. for about a half-mile, then follow signs to the String Lake trailhead. INFO: $25 per vehicle; 307/739-3300. Campsites from $19; gtlc.com
5. Bean Hollow State Beach - Hidden off State 1 along the San Mateo County coast, Bean Hollow is famous for sandy beaches and tidepools with orange-lavender seastars and purple shore crabs. It's also a favorite spot for beachgoers ― after big storms, it has been known to turn up glass floats that come all the way from Japan. For more discoveries, follow the self-guided nature trail.
Where it is 17½ miles south of Half Moon Bay and 2¼ miles south of Pescadero on State
6. Bowling Ball Beach - Don't let the closed trail sign deter you from visiting the southern Mendocino Coast's most unusual beach. Just beyond an incredible temporary driftwood fort built by some beachgoer and a few hundred yards to the north, extreme low tide reveals dozens of large, round sandstone boulders. Very few people scramble down the ladder to the beach to check out this unusual natural phenomenon, and that's just the way we like it.
Where it is On State 1, 3 miles south of Point Arena, just north of the Schooner Creek Bridge at milepost 11.3 (take the northern trail from the turnout). INFO: parks.ca.gov