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Summer on the Sand

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Posted: Friday, July 11, 2008 10:00 pm

Northern California Beaches - distance from Lodi: 120 miles

When 106-degree days get to be too much, you can bet the condo that valley-dwellers will pack up and head to the northern coast, where dewy mornings and gloomy 65-degree afternoons are welcomed. Along the coast, places like Bodega Bay are popular, but there are also the beaches that not-too-many people know about.

Doran Park: Just south of Bodega Bay, Doran Park is on a split separating the bay from the ocean. It offers access to scenic cliffs, sandy coves and observation points where you'll likely spot whales. Doran Park has picnic and camping areas (with bathrooms and hot showers), a nature study area, boat launch, coastal access for fishing, clamming, surfing and on-the-beach horseback riding. Because the beach is facing south, it is often shielded from wind. Information: (707) 875-3540, Distance from Lodi: 119 miles.

Chicken Ranch Beach: Located north of Inverness, this three acre beach is a secretive, small beach that sits where the Third Valley Creek enters Tomales Bay. The park is tucked away from the main road and located along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. The beach is often protected from wind and is a popular spot for kayaking, beach activities and geological study. Information: Distance from Lodi: 121 miles.

Bay Area Beaches - distance from Lodi: 84 miles

When the sea beckons, the San Francisco Bay offers the nearest ocean fix. About 84 miles from Lodi, San Francisco's beaches are great for sight-seeing, having a bonfire and going nude (however, camping on most beaches is out).

Ocean Beach: On the western shore, Ocean Beach is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation area. Though this beach can stay foggy all day, it is the evening bonfires that make this beach popular. Bonfires are allowed for groups of 25 people or fewer, between Lincoln Way and Fulton Street. To get to Ocean Beach, take Geary Boulevard west to Great Highway. Information:

China Beach in San Francisco is one of the city's most popular beaches. (Courtesy photo)

China Beach: This large cove is perfect for a day's trip to the ocean. It's secluded feel is great for sunbathing and photographing the views. Beware if you venture toward the Golden Gate Bridge - you may end up catching a Frisbee thrown by a nudist playing on that half of the shore. Information: Distance from Lodi: 170 miles.

Monterey and Carmel Beaches - distance from Lodi: 170 miles

Monterey County has 99 miles of spectacular coastline, but most of the coastline is rocky, dangerous and unsuitable for swimming. However, the beach spots that invite visitors in are worth it.

Carmel Beach: At the end of downtown Carmel's Ocean Street, Carmel Beach is long and curvy and lined with forests of trees. At this beach, dogs are allowed to run off the beach. Bonfires are allowed south of 10th Avenue, but they must be out by 10 p.m. Also, alcohol is allowed on the beach, but not in the parking lot. There is no camping, but there are plenty of inns that are great for a splurge. Information: (831) 624-2522.

Point Lobos near Carmel is a premier beach, popular for its scuba diving and tide pools. (Courtesy photo)

Point Lobos State Reserve: This rocky beach littered with tide pools has been called the crown jewel of the state parks system. There are rare plant communities, endangered archeological sites and unique geological formations. The entrance is located three miles south of Carmel on Highway 1. Information: $10 parking per car; (831) 624-4909, Distance from Lodi: 170 miles.

Central Coast Beaches - distance from Lodi: 260 - 360 miles

The best way to experience the California coastline is to follow Highway 1 and stop wherever you see a beautiful beach. Here are two great beaches you might run into.

Pismo Beach is a quaint town where beach goers surf and discover coves. (Courtesy photo)

Pismo Beach: Just seven miles south of San Luis Obispo is Pismo Beach, the quaint beach town where visitors shop, eat, golf, bike, walk through a monarch butterfly cove, play tennis, Scuba dive, bowl, hike and explore tide pools, coves and caves. The beach is mostly sandy with rocky coves. Camping is located on the south side of Pismo Beach. Information: (805) 773-4657. Distance from Lodi: 268 miles.

Butterfly Beach in Montecito: This is a hangout for Santa Barbara natives. It's a long, sandy beach, where dogs can run off the leash. Butterfly Beach is across the street from the Four Seasons Biltmore. Take Highway 101 to Olive Mill Road and follow it to the ocean. Information: Distance from Lodi: 360 miles.

The World's Most Luxurious Beach Resorts

So maybe camping isn't your thing, but perhaps you'd like to treat yourself to a night in one of these beach resorts that are some of the most luxurious in the world.
Burj Al Arab

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

At 1,053 feet tall, this elegant hotel is the tallest in the world and surrounded by the crystal blue ocean. It boasts murals of fire and water at night and each guest is chauffered around in a Rolls Royce. This grand escape can set you back $1,500 a night. Source:

Little Palm Island Resort and Spa

Little Torch Key, Flo.

An island of white beaches, elegant huts and sun, Little Palm Island is the kind of place that, if you visit, you'll never want to leave. Only accessible by boat or plane, Little Torch Key is alive with hidden treasure. Crushed seashell paths wind through lush gardens and thatched-roof bungalows, which serve as guest quarters. Extra spacious, each suite and grand suite has romantic touches such as a king-size bed draped in butterfly netting, verandahs with ocean views and private outdoor showers and jetted tubs. You can find deals that start at $650 a night. Source:

Peter Island Villas

Peter Island, Virgin Islands

Sugary sand beaches. Whispering breezes. Turquoise waters. Those are just a few of the luxuries this private island paradise offers. In addition to plush suites and amenities, they offer a day spa, boutique and activities that highlight the natural wonder of Caribbean Peter Island Beach. If you want a large villa, expect to pay up to $20,000 for your stay. Source:

Beach Movie Trivia

1. What beach did Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello dance on in 1963's "Beach Party?"
A. Paradise Cove in Malibu
B. Barney's Beach in Bedrock
C. Virginia Beach, Va.

2. In 1953's "From Here to Eternity," on what beach was the intense make out scene between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr filmed?
A. Phi Phi Le in Thailand
B. Waikiki Beach in Honolulu
C. Oahu, Hawaii

3. On what beach was parts of the movie, "The Goonies" filmed?
A. Lake Michigan
B. Richmond Beach in Seattle
C. Cannon Beach in Oregon

4. Name one beach that was a filming location for the 2004 film, "Troy."
A. Maundays Beach, Anguilla
B. Golden Sands Beach in Malta
C. Setai Beach, Fla.

1. (A) Paradise Cove in Malibu
2. (B) Waikiki Beach in Honolulu
3. (C) Cannon Beach in Oregon
4. (D) Golden Sands Beach in Malta

Source: Internet Movie Database



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