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Sacramento might be smack dab in the middle of the California Central Valley, but it’s not that far from the coast. And while there are some parks and beaches in and around Sacramento on nearby lakes and the Sacramento River, it’s nice to enjoy a sandy beach on the ocean even though it takes more time and effort to get there. The capital of California being an inland city has the advantage of having many options of coastal towns to visit. Within two and a half hours of Sacramento there are several options.

  • The closest beaches are on San Francisco Bay near the city of San Rafael or on the East Bay (1.5 hours). But if you have committed to driving this far, it’s worth driving farther to more epic Pacific beaches.
  • Marin County has these world-renowned ocean beaches. This includes famous beaches in the small funky beach towns of Muir Beach and Stinson Beach (around 2 hour drive).
  • North of these Marin beach towns are more options in Dillon Beach, Bodega Bay, and even the quiet little town of Jenner in Sonoma County which is just a 2.5 hour drive from Sacramento depending on traffic.
  • The city of San Francisco has some beaches near downtown that are on the bay with stunning views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge (1.75 hours), but it’s the oceanside beaches of San Francisco that really stand out.
  • South of San Francisco you’ll find many incredible beaches along the San Mateo County coastline. This includes some fine beaches near Half Moon Bay, Montara, and San Gregorio (2.25 hour drive).
  • Farther south, but still just a 2.5 hour drive, are the beaches of Santa Cruz County.

With so many options, it was hard for us to come up with a top list of beaches near Sacramento, but here is a list of our favorites from north to south.


Beaches on this list

  • Goat Rock Beach

    Goat Rock Beach is located between Goat Rock Point and the Russian River along the Sonoma County shore near the town of Jenner. It’s a beautiful beach There are two […]

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  • Wrights Beach

    Wrights Beach is the largest sandy beach between Bodega Bay and the Russian River in Sonoma County. It’s a great destination for day or overnight use. There is a campground […]

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  • North Salmon Creek Beach

    North Salmon Creek Beach is right off Coast Highway 1 just north of Bodega Bay. A large parking lot is available, but it can fill up in the summer so […]

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  • Bodega Dunes

    Bodega Dunes is a large state park campground and coastal dunes structure in the town of Bodega Bay. The beach at Bodega Dunes is vast and remote so beachcombers will […]

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  • Dillon Beach

    Dillon Beach on Bodega Bay is privately-owned by the Dillon Beach Resort, but for a small fee anyone can enjoy this beautiful beach. The beach is located in the small […]

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  • Stinson Beach

    Stinson Beach (the beach) is a large public beach within Golden Gate National Recreation Area located in the town of Stinson Beach, California. It’s a popular getaway about an hour […]

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  • Muir Beach

    Muir Beach (the beach) is part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area and located in the small town of Muir Beach, California. Redwood Creek flows down to the ocean here, […]

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  • Ocean Beach

    Ocean Beach is a long beach spanning the entire Sunset District of San Francisco from Cliff House south to Sloat Boulevard. It’s also a wide beach especially when compared to […]

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  • Montara State Beach

    Montara State Beach is a wide mile-long beach just north of Montara along the San Mateo County Coast. Behind the beach there are stunning sculpted sandstone cliffs making this a […]

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  • Venice Beach – Half Moon Bay State Beach

    Venice Beach is the middle beach of five within Half Moon Bay State Beach. The large parking area is at the west end of Venice Boulevard which turns off Highway […]

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  • Pomponio State Beach

    Pomponio State Beach protects about two miles of the California coast about 20 minutes south of Half Moon Bay. Much of the beach in Pomponio is difficult to access from […]

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  • Laguna Creek Beach

    Laguna Creek Beach, near Santa Cruz, is a remote and wide sandy beach with a creek, wetlands, unique rocks, and wild waves. It is located just north of the infamous […]

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  • Santa Cruz Main Beach

    Santa Cruz Main Beach is known as Boardwalk Beach because of the popular boardwalk and amusement park at the beach on the Santa Cruz waterfront. Main Beach is a south-facing […]

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  • Seacliff State Beach

    Seacliff State Beach is a long sandy beach on the waterfront of Aptos, CA. This is a great place for sunbathing or walking the sandy shores of Monterey Bay in […]

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