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Screenshot 2014-10-30 14.08.42Kids aren’t the only ones who love building sandcastles at the beach. Many professional sandcastle artists compete at annual events that allow them to show off their skills and creative talents. Amateurs and newcomers are welcomed at many of these contests to join in and challenge the pros. Attending one of these events will blow your mind if you haven’t been to one before. It’s amazing to see what can be created from nothing more than beach sand and water. Event dates change each year so consult their websites for current information. Here are the California beaches that host these sand sculpting events sorted from south to north.

Imperial Beach City Beach, Imperial Beach

  • Sun & Sea Festival – Kids N’ Kastles
  • A competition for teams of kids ages 5 to 12, usually in July
  • For the next festival dates and times visit the festival website

B Street Pier, San Diego

  • U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge & Dimensional Art Exposition
  • A serious competition of some of the world’s best sand sculptors
  • Labor Day Weekend every year, more info at their website

North Carlsbad State Beach, Carlsbad

  • Carlsbad Beach Fest
  • Professional sand-sculpting on display for all to see, usually in June
  • For upcoming dates and times visit the event website

Oceanside Pier View South Beach, Oceanside

  • Sand Art Contest
  • Newer annual event put on by the Oceanside Museum of Art
  • Held early September, see museum website for dates and times

San Clemente Pier Beach, San Clemente

  • San Clemente Ocean Festival Sand Sculpting Competition
  • Many different events, typically occurs in mid-July
  • For info on the event, team sizes, dates, registration see their website

Corona Del Mar State Beach, Newport Beach

  • Annual Corona Del Mar Sand Castle Contest
  • Usually held in early October
  • For this year’s date and times visit the event’s Facebook Page

Granada Beach, Long Beach

  • Long Beach Sand Sculpture Art & Music Festival
  • Pro sculptors creating sand art to be viewed by day and lit up at night
  • Usually in August, for details visit the Alfredo’s Beach Club website

Cabrillo Harbor Beach, San Pedro District, LA

  • Cabrillo Marine Aquarium’s Family Sandcastle Building Day
  • Low key, family-oriented event held in late July
  • For the next date and time visit the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium website

Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, and Torrance Beach

  • International Surf Festival Sandcastle Design Contest
  • Multi-day event held late July or early August
  • To see the host city, dates, and times visit the festival website

Carmel City Beach, Carmel-By-The-Sea

  • Annual Sandcastle Contest
  • Held early October on the City Beach south of 10th Street
  • See the city website for more info on the event and upcoming dates

Sharp Park Beach, Pacifica

  • Pacific Coast Fog Fest Sand Sculpture Magic
  • Annual event in late September, no contest, just pro sculptures on display
  • For dates and times of the event visit the event website

Ocean Beach, San Francisco

  • Leap Annual Sandcastle Contest
  • Long running event put on by Leap Arts in Education
  • Held in October, see the Leap website for details

Robert Crown Memorial State Beach, San Francisco Bay, Alameda

  • Annual Sand Castle & Sand Sculpture Contest
  • Held in early June on East Bay
  • For information on this long-running event see the city website

Drakes Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County

  • Point Reyes Annual Sand Sculpture Contest
  • A large event hosted for years by the NPS and non-profit association
  • September. Long drive so bring food and drinks. No dogs allowed.

Doran Beach, Bodega Bay

  • Castles and Kites Event
  • Annual celebration held early in the year
  • See the county parks website to view their events calendar

Manila Dunes Recreation Area Beach, near Eureka and Arcata

  • Sand Sculpture Festival
  • A fun amateur event typically in late July
  • For more info contact the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center at Friends of the Dunes Beach

Crescent City Harbor Beach, Crescent City

  • Sand Castles By The Sea
  • Held right on the harbor in late June or early July
  • To see dates and times for this event check the county website

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