Hidden Beaches


If you haven't planned any adventuring this weekend, but still want to pop the Stanford bubble, check out some of our favorite spots along the coast. They aren’t too far and don’t require much more planning than transportation, a backpack full of snacks and your camera. 


#1 Shark fin cove

Shark Fin Cove is a hidden gem along Davenport’s Coastline, only a small hike up from the train track along the cliffside. This view is incredible at any time of day, but the sunset golden hour will be sure to blow you away. Grab some friends, snacks, and a picnic blanket and bundle up while you debate about whether the big rock in the middle is actually a shark tooth or a fin.


This one is a little tricky! Google Maps won’t take you right to it (probably a ploy to keep it on the DL). Take the 17 to Highway 1 North in Davenport. Parking is 0.7 miles from Davenport, in a dirt pullout that is just north of the Bonny Doon Beach lot. Head down over the railroad tracks and the trailhead is just ahead past the sign that tells you everything you're not allowed to bring (no vehicles, apparently). The walk down is narrow and steep but manageable.


45 min without traffic.



#2 Natural Bridges State Park

So this one isn’t exactly hidden, but those of us who don’t get out much may not know about it so we’ll roll with it anyway. If you’re in the mood for some crazy people watching, a cool breeze, local eateries, and a tame but decent swell, this is the place for your next Saturday evening.


2531 W Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
If you get as easily frustrated by Google Maps as we do, simply follow this route: 280 South, to 85 West, to 17 South, to 1 North. Right on Mission Street, left on Swift, right on Delaware, left on Swanton, left on Cliff and VOILA! The wacky walks of life and purple hues of sunset await.


Around an hour and a half.

#3 Sutro Baths, Point Lobos

Built in 1896, the Sutro Baths were a large, privately owned public saltwater swimming pool complex in the Lands End area. The facility burnt down in 1967 and is now a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, just below Lands End trail and the Golden Gate. This is a great place to venture to if you have a bit more time and want to see more or the San Francisco area. Stop by to check out the pools before setting off on Lands End Trail where you’ll find a breathtaking view of the bridge and the “Labyrinth.”


Take 280 North to 1 South, and follow Skyline Blvd to Point Lobos Avenue. You’ll see a big parking lot right above the baths and the starting point to Lands End Trail.


Roughly an hour, depending on traffic.

#4 Mount Tamalpais, Marin County

With its scenic drive of windy road, ancient oak trees, rolling hills, grandiose view of Stinston Beach, and flossy skies, Mount Tam is just the escape that can save you from the stress of Stanford life. Pack a picnic, and go find your favorite spot. Part of the magic about this place is that every view is unique and equally wonderful, and the best way to experience it is to explore each without direction. You can’t go wrong with this one.


3801 Panoramic Highway, Mill Valley, CA 94941. Take 280 North to 101 North to Ca-1… and follow the 1 to the very top!


A little over an hour, depending on traffic.


#5 Julia Pfeiffer State Park, Big Sur

Julia Pfeiffer. Arguably the most Instagrammed beach of all time, and for good reason. This one will take a bit more commitment, a little more planning, but the incomparable views of crystal clear water and mosaic cliffs are absolutely worth it. So go rent out some tents from the Outdoor center (by the new gym -- they're really cheap!), stock up on snacks at Munger Market, and hit the road with some friends for the weekend. Every bend in the road will make you want to stop the car and snap a photo.


101 South to 156  West, and continue on the 1 South right into dreamland


Just over 2 hours (but that’s not counting all the stops you WILL take)

By: Ashley Watson
Photography by: Ashley Watson and Yoojin Rhee