Lauren’s Locales: White Sand, Rich History
Asilomar State Beach is ideal site for warm weather
Published: Thursday, May 10, 2012
Updated: Thursday, May 10, 2012 07:05
Santa Clara is fortunate to be within easy traveling distance to multiple beaches; however, one of my all-time favorite beaches to visit is Asilomar State Beach in Pacific Grove, Calif., located about 76 miles south from campus.
We all need a little rest and relaxation every now and then, and Asilomar State Beach is one of those places that seem to make all those little stresses and worries magically disappear — at least just for the day.
The beautiful white sand beach offers breathtaking ocean views, and it is easy to lay out and relax as the waves methodically take your stress out to sea. If you are lucky, you might spy a whale or two.
If you are looking for an easy and relaxing activity, Asilomar State Beach has particularly good tide pools. During low tide, the tide pools are filled with all sorts of interesting sea creatures. From sea anemones to hermit crabs, snails to starfish to an occasional eel or two, the pools are little ecosystems.
Asilomar also offers an amazing quarter-mile of boardwalk through 25 acres of sand dunes. This easy walk leads from the beach up to the Asilomar Conference Center, originally a women’s retreat envisioned by a small handful of women from the Young Women’s Christian Association in 1913 and designed by Julia Morgan, the female architect who designed, among other things, Hearst Castle in San Simeon, Calif.
Please note that there are no picnic or bathroom facilities at the beach. But that doesn’t mean you can’t picnic! Stop by the local grocery store and pick up some sandwiches and cool drinks to enjoy. But beware of the seagulls: they have a strong sense of entitlement and will gladly take your food from you.
A bonus for you dog lovers: Asilomar State Beach welcomes dogs, so you will definitely see lots of Frisbees and dogs frolicking in the waves.
Make sure to bring lots of sunscreen and water with you during your visit, as well as a sweatshirt for the typically cooler evenings.
Do not be discouraged by the slight chill in the air because you will not want to miss the sunset. Asilomar State Beach offers one of the most amazing sunsets around, and visitors and locals alike gather on the beach and at lookout points to watch the sky transform into a multicolored light display.
Asilomar State Beach
Adjacent to Sunset Dr. and Asilomar Ave.
Pacific Grove, Calif.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Be sure to visit this awesome aquarium and enjoy the sea otter exhibit, penguin feedings and indoor touch pools. Also, check out the new jelly fish exhibit, “The Jellies Experience,” where visitors can come face to face with these exquisite, yet sometimes deadly creatures.
886 Cannery Row
Monterey, Calif. 93940
Wander along this historical street, named for the now-closed sardine canning factories located along the waterfront strip. Peek into some of the quirky shops and restaurants, including Mackerel Jack’s Trading Co., Steinbeck Plaza and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
Monarch Grove Sanctuary
This grove of pine and eucalyptus trees is the home to thousands of migrating monarch butterflies that overwinter right in Pacific Grove. If you are unable to see them when they hatch in late summer and early fall, it is still a great place to stroll outside and enjoy the fresh ocean air.
Ridge Road, between Lighthouse Avenue and Short Street
Pacific Grove, Calif.
Contact Lauren Bonney at email@example.com.