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Top 5 Beaches Near McKinleyville, California

Top 5 Beaches Near McKinleyville, California

Northern California has several great underrated beaches to visit. Here's our guide to the best beaches near McKinleyville. Team


2 min read

August 22, 2023

**The 5 Best Beaches Near McKinleyville, California**

Nestled along the picturesque coastline of Northern California, McKinleyville is a haven for nature enthusiasts. While the region is home to towering redwoods and verdant landscapes, it's the beaches that often capture the most attention. With a rugged coastline punctuated by hidden coves, sandy stretches, and dramatic sea cliffs, the beaches near McKinleyville are nothing short of mesmerizing. Here, we uncover the five best beaches within proximity of this charming town.

1. Clam Beach County Park

Located just a few minutes south of McKinleyville, Clam Beach is one of the area’s most popular beaches. Known for its wide expanse of sandy shores and gentle waves, this beach is ideal for families, picnickers, and those looking for a leisurely day by the sea. During low tide, the beach reveals tide pools brimming with marine life. If you're lucky, you might also catch a glimpse of horseback riders enjoying a trot along the shore.

2. Mad River Beach County Park

This picturesque beach is located at the mouth of the Mad River. It's a favorite spot for beachcombing, kite flying, and picnicking. The river's mouth often attracts local birdwatchers, as it is a habitat for a variety of bird species. Plus, the nearby sand dunes provide a scenic backdrop and an adventurous terrain for exploration. If you're there during the evening, be sure to stay for the sunset – the views are enchanting.

3. Moonstone Beach

A bit south of McKinleyville lies Moonstone Beach, which is part of the larger Trinidad State Beach. This beach is a mosaic of rocky outcroppings, tide pools, and sandy shores. It's named for the polished, moonstone-like rocks that can sometimes be found among its pebbles. Beyond its beauty, Moonstone Beach is renowned for its surfing opportunities, particularly for those who enjoy riding longboards.

4. Luffenholtz Beach

Luffenholtz Beach offers a mix of sandy shoreline and rugged cliffs. The viewpoint from the parking area provides sweeping views of the Pacific, making it a popular spot for photographers and nature enthusiasts alike. The path leading down to the beach can be steep, but the journey is well worth it. The cove is relatively sheltered, making it a serene spot to relax and soak in the coastal beauty.

5. Big Lagoon County Park

While not a traditional beach in the sense of sandy shores and crashing waves, Big Lagoon deserves a special mention. Situated between the ocean and a freshwater lagoon, this area offers a unique blend of environments. Kayaking and canoeing are popular activities on the lagoon, while the beachfront provides a great spot for fishing and beachcombing.

In conclusion, the area surrounding McKinleyville is a treasure trove for beach lovers. Whether you're looking for a quiet spot to read a book, an adventurous hike down sea cliffs, or the perfect wave to ride, the beaches near McKinleyville have something for everyone. Each beach has its unique charm and personality, offering visitors a chance to connect with nature and find solace by the sea. So, pack your sun hat, grab a picnic, and explore these coastal gems the next time you're in Northern California.

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