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Old 03-02-2010, 08:13 AM
 
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I have relatives in the Scottsdale/Mesa area, and have been to Arizona a few times. (I also have friends that live in a more remote part of Arizona a bit closer to New Mexico, but thats besides the point).

I was wondering: I know the California coast is quite a hike relatively speaking from the Phoenix area. I know its around 6 hours or so to San Diego or L.A., but I was thinking of visiting later this year, and I'm thinking of taking a side trip to a nice section of California coast.

My relatives go to Oceanside about once a year. I'm looking not for a resort places by anymeans, but I'm also not necessarily looking for something that is "hidden" Although I know one can pay to take the ferry to Channel Islands N.P. All I would be looking for is a stretch of undeveloped/protected shoreline. I know that during the week, National seashores and lakeshores (I'm from the Chicago area) that are close to urban areas are always crowded.

DO you have any suggestions as to a nice place to go? I was thinking of Santa Monica mountains rec area (between Malibu and Ventura/Oxnard) From google earth, it looks relatively quiet. What do you think?
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Old 03-02-2010, 09:07 AM
 
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As far as closest, straight shot beaches, either Newport Beach or Huntington Beach in Orange County, or Mission Beach, Pacific Beach in San Diego County. If you want something a little nicer with more of a resort feel and fine dining in abundance, check out Laguna Beach, which is a little south of Newport on the PCH. There's also La Jolla, with its cliffs and high end establishments (La Jolla Shores Hotel is extremely kid friendly). Coronado Island is also a decent option, but I don't care for the location. I have friends that go there all the time that swear by it. My in-laws live in Newport Beach (Corona del Mar), which is an extremely beautiful area, but there are not too many hotels actually on the beach in that area. It takes me about 5 hours to get to either Newport or Mission Beach, depending on border patrol checkpoints, traffic accidents, etc.

I am from Orange County, so I don't know a whole lot about the beaches and hotels in Ventura County, but I do know that you have to drive through LA to get there, and I would imagine add 60-90 minutes or more to your drive.
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Old 03-02-2010, 09:13 AM
 
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Also, if you are in the Newport Beach area, check out the Newport Harbor cruise, which takes you around the harbor showing the houses that celebrities owned, and then takes you to the buoy in the mouth of the ocean that usually has otters around it. Probably a 90 minute ride. I would consider staying in Laguna Beach, and driving up to Newport for the cruise and sight seeing. My favorite place to stay in Laguna is the Surf and Sand Resort, but it can be pricey. Right next door is the Capri Laguna hotel which is more affordable. The Aliso Viejo State Beach in Laguna is clean and usually not a lot of undesirable people around. Check out Sorrento Grill for a nice dinner in Laguna Beach, and Wahoo's Taco's for a great lunch.
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Old 03-02-2010, 09:14 AM
 
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I would say Huntington or Laguna, as well. If you want to drive down to Casa Grande first, I always like Point Loma and SD's beaches, a little better.
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Old 03-02-2010, 09:18 AM
 
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Thanks for the recommendations, although I was suggesting more undeveloped/protected areas. Like I mentioned the Santa Monica mtns rec area looks like it might be a good place to spend time. Closer to San Diego, Torrey Pines looks nice. I was thinking of places without the houses. I know they exist because I can see what they look like on google earth. I was just wondering if people had specific experience spending time in any places like that.
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Old 03-02-2010, 09:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tex?Il? View Post
Thanks for the recommendations, although I was suggesting more undeveloped/protected areas. Like I mentioned the Santa Monica mtns rec area looks like it might be a good place to spend time. Closer to San Diego, Torrey Pines looks nice. I was thinking of places without the houses. I know they exist because I can see what they look like on google earth. I was just wondering if people had specific experience spending time in any places like that.
Well, there's a protected area along the coast between Laguna and Newport, but beyond that I can't be of much help. Sounds like you're thinking more in Ventura County, which is not my area of expertise.
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Old 03-02-2010, 09:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tex?Il? View Post
Thanks for the recommendations, although I was suggesting more undeveloped/protected areas. Like I mentioned the Santa Monica mtns rec area looks like it might be a good place to spend time. Closer to San Diego, Torrey Pines looks nice. I was thinking of places without the houses. I know they exist because I can see what they look like on google earth. I was just wondering if people had specific experience spending time in any places like that.
If you want to get out and hike and enjoy being away from people Santa Monica Mtn Rec Area is an excellent choice.

So Cal is just soo built up it's hard to find spots nowadays that don't have houses.
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:26 AM
 
Location: Maple Lake, MN
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Maybe ask in the California forum?
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Old 03-02-2010, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Casa Grande, AZ (May 08)
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I ve driven the entire coast many times...the first real "undeveloped coast" is even north of Ventura....and that adds alot more time to the drive.

But as others have suggested, there are small pockets that are somewhat remote. Starting with Sunset Cliffs (near Pt Loma) in San Diego, Torrey Pines as you suggested, the stretch between Laguna and Newport is all State park land....and thats about it...everything through LA is all flat beach and very developed. Malibu is beautiful, but until you get to the north end of that area, there are houses all right on the beach (think "two and a half men" pictures).

Of course the most DRAMATIC cliff to coast stuff is north of San Luis Obispo and even further north...
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