Beach Vacations

Photo Friday: The Magic of the California Coast

Sunset at Terranea

I never stop appreciating the rugged beauty of the California Coast. We’ve had a few excursions over the past few months that were pure magic.  Spring is a wonderful time of year for a California beach vacation — days can be warm with crisp with bright blue skies versus the summer months when fog may be an issue.

We spent spring break at Montage Laguna Beach and Terranea Resort in Southern California. Both properties are oceanfront with mesmerizing views. Favorite moments from the trip include the photo above of sunset at Terranea. Their super-casual Nelson’s Restaurant has a perfect sunset view with outdoor tables and firepits to keep everyone toasty.

The bluffs and beach in front of Montage are more developed and manicured than around Terranea, but equally as beautiful.

The flowers in and around the bluffs are incredible.

This past weekend we had an overnight in Carmel-by-the-Sea. WOW.  I’m still shaking my head in wonder as I think back to how turquoise and clear the water was at the beach … I grew up going to Carmel and I guess I’ve never been there when the weather and water were so bright. I thought I was in the Caribbean minus palm trees and rum drinks.

Another shot of the beach in Carmel. If you are thinking about things to do in Carmel with kids, be sure and check out Dana’s post highlighting the fun. It’s a special place — perhaps more dog-centric than kid-centric, but it is a great family weekend getaway (plus, Monterey and the Monterey Bay Aquarium are an easy drive).

Finally, for a bit of Ireland-meets-California, a visit to the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay is in order. There is is a wide array of things to do in this area — check out Experience Half Moon Bay for details.

Walking South on the Coastside Trail.

A glorious view captivates all ages.

For more Photo Friday posts, visit Delicious Baby.

Relevant Links:

United States family travel guide

San Diego family vacations

Favorite San Francisco attractions with kids

San Francisco with kids, carousels and kids’ museums

Visiting Carmel with kids

Monterey with kids

Sleep over at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Santa Barbara with kids

Kid-friendly things to do in Los Angeles

Orange County with kids

Start a Discussion

  • I absolutely love living on the California Coast. I was in San Diego for 6 years before moving to Monterey. We road-tripped it to our new home. There is so much to see and do. I especially love this time of year when the wildflowers are in full bloom. Breathtaking.

  • Gorgeous pics of a stunning coastline….we have done several different trips along the California coast and it never fails to amaze me with the stunning scenery and dramatic changes that can occur in fairly short distances. But those shots of Carmel by the Sea are really something else…I have never seen the water there looking so blue before. Beautiful.

  • OK, now you’re just making me jealous and homesick!!! I will be up on the Central Coast this summer and now a beach visit to Carmel is on my must do list.
    The properties you stayed at sound amazing!

  • Those photos are gorgeous. Carmel looks like Mexico — I had no idea that any part of the U.S. had such vivid turquoise water and pale sand!

  • Amazing photos! I especially like the beach in Carmel. The last time when I was in California, it was such a short stay and I couldn’t really enjoy the beautiful coast line. I am definitely going to make some time on my next business trip and enjoy these unbelievable scenery.

  • The California coast truly does have so much to offer. I saw an earlier post you wrote about camping at El Capitan in Santa Barbara…where else would you suggest staying with kids? Santa Barbara can get pretty pricey and my husband and I normally stay at The Sandman Inn ( on State Street because it’s good for travelers on a budget and has two pools for the kids to play around in. Do you have any other suggestions? Until finding the Sandman I felt like my luck in Santa Barbara was hit or miss

  • These are great photos! They really capture California and all of its glory! You should try traveling to Santa Barbara. Gorgeous beach town with a whole lot more to do than Laguna. Rich in culture and wine, it’s a wonderful time and experience. I recently just got back and had a great time! we went surfing, hiking, wine tasting, shopping, and it just goes on. We stayed at the Sandman Inn ( Really affordable (especially for SB!) and the location was supreme. Just a tip!

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