California Beaches


Guadalupe Beach, Guadalupe, California

Guadalupe Beach & Dunes requires an easy, mostly flat hike down a dirt path, onto a bridge, then onto a trail made of dirt and sand. Arriving at the beach, you can stand on the bluff and look down at the sandy beach and Pacific Ocean where there usually is at least a person, family or handful of individuals enjoying the beach.

Guadalupe Beach is approx. a mile from a parking lot where you leave your car parked and walk to the beach. Sometimes you'll see people backpacking in their food for a light picnic, combing the sand for seashells, or reading a book. On warm days you'll see children and adults going waste-deep into the water, where the currents can be chilly, thanks to the Alaskan current influence that eventually diminishes approx. 100 miles south of this beach around Point Conception near Santa Barbara.

Like most Central Coast California beaches, Guadalupe is not known for its swimming and sunbathing, though the beaches along the region are quite popular for water sports such as surfing.

As you enter the parking lot to walk along the beach trail, several posted signs offer information and warnings about construction activities involving remediation and decommissioning of the neighboring Unocal Oil Field, that the sign says will not affect access or activities at the beach. The last time we saw these signs was several years ago, however.

Further down the tree-shaded path to the walk bridge are warnings that mountain lions may frequent the area. Hikers are advised to never walk alone and are encouraged to make noise when walking.

Things to see include:

Dunes Discovery Center, 951 Guadalupe Street, (Hwy 1), (805) 343-2455, Open Fri. 2 pm - 4 pm., Sat. and Sun. Noon to 4 pm. Information and displays about the history of the dunes and plant and animal life which thrive in the protected region.

Where to Stay: When visiting Guadalupe Beach & Dunes, Pismo Beach is considered the premier beach destination for sandy, ocean view accommodations. The Cliffs offers ocean views and beach strolls via a set of steps. Next to Pismo Beach Pier is Sandcastle Inn. Budget options include Holiday Inn in Arroyo Grande, while the closest, most affordable city for hotel stays near the Guadalupe beach and dunes is Santa Maria. Located approx. 8 miles from the beach, the largest city on the Central Coast offers more hotels in the affordable range.