California Beaches


California Sandcastle Festival Guide

Billions of grains of sand make up our California Beaches. Nearly every day of the year on some beach in California people are making sandcastles. Nature's perfect sculpting material requires a few simple tools -- even your hands will do! A bit of water to moisten the sand and a creative mind can make the time pass, spark the imagination into new ideas, theories and possibilities, and create a concrete object that you and others can look at and enjoy. Limited only by your mind, California beaches provide a playground for humans as the participate in sandcastle building. You don't have to wait for a sandcastle festival to start working on your skills. Start today, or during your next visit to a beach. For those who are really serious, get a few bags of sand for your home and begin practicing. There are tools of the trade to help sculpt great castles--straws to blow sand clean, knives, trowels, shovels and buckets for water are a few you might want to begin with.

Here are Sandcastle (or Sand Castle) Festival 2012 - These events generally repeat annually.

ALAMEDA Sand Castle and Sand Sculpture Contest June 9, 2012, 9 a.m.

46th Annual Sand Castle and Sand Sculpture Contest Saturday, June 9, 2012, 9 a.m.

Robert Crown Memorial State Beach
Westline and Otis Drive
Alameda, CA

Co-sponsored by the Alameda Recreation and Park Department, East Bay Regional Park District, Bayview Women's Club and Alameda Youth Committee

Registration is from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. that morning at Robert Crown Beach. Viewing and judging of the masterpieces begin at 12 noon. Awards presented at 1 p.m.

Categories for Sand Castle and Sand Sculpture include:
Ages 12 and Under
Ages 13 and Over

CARLSBAD Beach Fest Sand Sculpture June 9, 2012

Carlsbad Beach Fest
Tamarack Beach

NOTE: This is not a sandcastle contest! Art Seaside: U.S. Open Champion Archisand continues to be the event's featured artisan group, returning to create another gigantic sand sculpture to reflect the day's theme. Other artists, from painters to authors, will display and demonstrate their works in support of the mission.

CARMEL 52nd Annual Sandcastle Sunday, September 9, 2012

Carmel Beach
Scenic, south of 10th
Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
(831) 620-2020

Annual Sandcastle contest held on Carmel Beach, Scenic south of 10th. Building starts at 8 a.m. Judging from 12 Noon to 2 p.m. Monterey Bay Chapter of the AIA is also involved,

CORONA DEL MAR Sandcastle Contest 51st annual October 7, 2012

Sandcastle Contest involves sandcastle building taken to a new level at the annual Corona del Mar Sandcastle Contest, where "seashore sculptors" have turned grains of wet sand into elaborate works of art for over 50 years. Thousands of sightseers descend on Corona del Mar State Beach to watch participants - ranging from novice to expert - construct more than 30 entries. View these creations for free as a spectator, or consider making your own for a minimal entrance fee. Join thousands of spectators as the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual Sandcastle Contest on the beach. Participants' skill levels range in a wide variety--from children to professional architects. Talented groups will compete for the winning title. Register online...fees are as little as $30 for the team, and winning teams will receive prizes. 45 teams of 8 individuals is the maximum allowed to compete.

HUNTINGTON BEACH Sand Sculpture Contest September 15-16, 2012
Family Activities, Sporting Challenges and Competitive Events that include a Sand Sculpture Contest.

LONG BEACH Great Sand Sculpture Contest August 11 -12, 2012

Granada Beach
1 Granada Ave.,
Long Beach, CA

80th Great Sand Sculpture Contest on Saturday, August 11th and Sunday, August 12th! You can build your own sculp­ture or just see the ones built by pro­fes­sion­als as well as cor­po­rate and com­mu­nity teams. There will be arts and crafts ven­dors, live music, and food on both days!

PACIFICA Fog Fest Sand Sculpture Contest September 29-30, 2012

Palmetto at Highway 1
Pacifica, CA
(650) 355-8200

Annual Sand Castle and Sand Sculpture Contest is a chance for your business, family, group or organization to use your creativity, have fun, enjoy the sun and build the sand castle of your dreams during the Pacific Coast Fog Fest. No experience is necessary and amateur teams are welcome. Family and friend teams, community organizations and school groups can enter the contest for a $25 donation. Business entries and sponsorships are $250 to $500 which will go to cover event expenses. The number of Entries will be restricted. Entries will be considered on a first come basis once your entry form has been received and if you are a business once your fee is received.
The contest starts at 11 am on Saturday and the structures must be finished by 5 p.m. that day. Winners are announced Sunday at 12pm Noon. The public can view the entries as they are being built and until the Fog Fest ends at 6 p.m. on Sunday when children are encouraged to take down the castles!

POINT REYES Sand Sculpture Contest at Drakes Beach September 2, 2012

Drakes Beach
Ken Patrick Visitor Center
Point Reyes National Seashore, CA
(415) 464-5140

31st Annual Sand Sculpture Contest at Drakes Beach on the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend goes from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

This family event invites the public to bring a picnic and spend the day! Prizes awarded in each of several age and group categories.
Free to participants and spectators.
Registration begins at 9 a.m. at the Ken Patrick Visitor Center.
Judging begins at 12 Noon. Prizes awarded at 3:30 p.m.
All ages at this free community event located at Drakes Beach. Categories include: Children (14 and under), Families, Adult Individuals, and Adult Groups. Three prizes will be awarded in each of those categories, along with prizes for the sculpture with the most recycled plastic included. Prizes donated by the Point Reyes National Seashore Association. Dogs are NOT allowed on this designated swimming beach, and there is NO lifeguard on duty.

SAN CLEMENTE Ocean Festival Sand Sculpting Contest July 22, 2012 (festival held July 21-22, 2012)

San Clemente Pier
Avenida del Mar
San Clemente, CA

Teams of up to 10 people each (20 spaces available) can compete in the following categories: Castles and Things, Creatures, Family or Open on Sunday. Grab your friends, family, co-workers & club members and come to the beach on Sunday. Parking for Ocean Festival:

SAN FRANCISCO Ocean Beach LEAP Sandcastle Contest October 2, 2012

Ocean Beach
San Francisco, CA
(415) 512-1899 or

LEAP 29th Annual Sandcastle Contest 2012 Leap Year (things that jump) Saturday, October 20, 2012, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Teams of architects, engineers, contractors, designers, corporations and local elementary school students work together to build giant sand sculptures. The funds raised by teams and sponsors make it possible for Leap to continue to provide arts programs to Bay Area schoolchildren. Thousands of people attend Leap's annual Sandcastle Contest, which is free to the community. Celebrity judges evaluate the works of art. More than 20 schools and 300 sponsors and advertisers participate. LEAP was created in response to severe budget cuts in arts programs in California schools. Programs place professional teaching artists in classrooms to work with grades K-8. Every year, these educational programs--in music, dance, theatre, creative writing, visual arts, and architecture serve thousands of students in elementary and middle schools throughout the Bay Area.

SAN PEDRO Family Sandcastle Building Day July 14, 2012

3720 Stephen M. White Drive
San Pedro, CA
(310) 548-7562

Family Sandcastle Building Day Saturday, July 14, 2012 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Pile some sand, add some water, do a little shaping and presto! Your very own sandcastle. Bring your little shovel, a bucket and come on down for some sand fun. This is a free event open to everyone. Just bring a bucket, a shovel and your imagination. Water is provide.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

More Info