What Would California Be Without Sand?


By C. MacDonald

Many of nature's best gifts are free. One of the least recognized of these is beach sand. These loose granules can provide the utmost entertainment for both people and animals. Not only is sand fun to walk over while barefoot but it sometimes stays with you longer than expected. For weeks after a day at the beach, you can usually find sand in pant cuffs and shoes, prompting fond memories.

Sand, that's the happy stuff which can bring an unexpected crunch to the hamburger you cooked on the beach. And what better way to occupy children's attention than to get them started building sandcastles. Such activity shows a child's creativity, encourages the coordination of both hand and mind and links generations.

Unlike other playthings, sand does not usually pose a litter or obstruction problem. It also always has some neat things on or in it. Things like driftwood, shells, starfish, polished stones, tiny animals and even seaweed fascinate young and old for hours on end.

Sand often plays an unsung role in a lot of special things in life—like the joy of lovers walking hand and hand over it or standing on it, watching the sinking sun slurp beneath the horizon or gazing at the dream-like distant lights of a city.

And what could be more significant to two friends than the simple act of carving hearts, names and love letters in the sand?

Think of the enjoyment your dog gets when you fling a Frisbee far, watching him race with all his might, splashing across the sand into the surf, trying not to let you down.

For people lucky enough to live in California, sand is often not far away. So the next time someone tells you to “Go pound sand!” don't get upset. Thank him for the suggestion and go do it.

 It's the Sand that Makes California. Places to enjoy and experience sand in California include:

  • Sand City in Monterey Bay, named after the massive dunes that line the bay.
  • Halcyon, a little town on the Central Coast where "dunites" once flocked to benefit from the healing effects of sand.
  • Imperial County – Algodones Sand Dunes at Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, the largest sand dunes in California, which extends more than 40 miles along the eastern edge of the Imperial Valley agricultural region.
  • Oceano Dunes State Beach where you can camp, build a bonfire and ride an All Terrain Vehicle on the sand. It also contains a protected dune area for the endangered birds.

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