Oh, how I love the California coast…

There is something magical about living near the ocean. Knowing that I can drive a short distance and stare out at the open sea, well, that is one of the reasons I love living here. With everything going on in life, sometimes I just need to clear my head. Somehow staring out at the ocean gives me a sense of peace. It’s like meditating.

These are a few of my favorites from the California coast. We have Bodega Bay, Point Reyes, Muir Beach Outlook, and Stinson Beach. Can you tell which is which? (If not, you can just hover over the picture and a description will pop up.)

There are so many great places to take beautiful photographs here. Who knows what I’ll stumble upon next!

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Muir Beach Outlook and Stinson Beach

Meg has a J.D. in Urban, Land Use and Environmental Law. She focuses on maintaining the balance of community and environmental health, healthy lifestyles, and encouraging sustainable living.

As if our Saturday outing to Bodega Head was not adventurous enough, Jake and I decided to add another outing to our weekend. For our Sunday adventure, we went south on 101, cut through Mill Valley and Mt. Tamalpais to Hwy 1, past the Muir Beach outlook, and then on to Stinson Beach. What a way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon!

Our first stop along Hwy 1 was the Muir Beach outlook. I can’t remember exactly where the turnoff was, because it was an unplanned stop, but it was up the hill a mile or two from Muir Beach itself. We pulled into the parking lot, which wasn’t too horribly busy, parked the jeep, and walked over to the outlook. It was definitely worth the extra stop! With picnic tables and old military bunkers/lookouts, it doesn’t look like much at first. And then you see it….the magnificent view of the ocean, Muir Beach, the coast to the north, and even the Sunset District of San Francisco. I highly recommend making a pit stop at this place if you’re driving along Hwy 1!

Next, we made our way to our intended destination, the town of Stinson Beach. We decided to have a late lunch at a restaurant called the Sand Dollar. They had the most amazing crab cakes, and by far the best fish tacos I’ve ever had. Messy, but delicious. After lunch, we walked down to the beach and stood staring at the ocean. There were so many people there. Not so much that it felt crowded, just, lived-in. The weather was sunny, mid-60s, and it felt even warmer because we were somehow blocked from the wind.

As we drove north out of Stinson Beach on Hwy 1, we started discussing the different cultures we see just around the bay area. I’ve traveled quite a bit in my life, so I’m no stranger to culture shock, but I’ve never experienced so many different cultural norms in just a few hundred square miles. You have densely packed urban neighborhoods, expansive grazing fields, grape vines, small beach towns with 400 residents… Each pocket has a different experience to offer. And then you drive out of a small town along the highway, look to your left, and see a group of seals hanging out in the water. Of course, we’re not quite used to this yet, so we pulled over and took a picture, but to see all the different environments for both people and animals is quite spectacular.

Another adventure down, and yet another we’ll have to do again. California is just so remarkable, it may take us awhile to see it all.