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Stockton is located in the heart of California’s vast Central Valley where sandy beaches are far from top of mind. However the Pacific Coast beaches aren’t really that far away, especially if you avoid rush hour traffic in the San Francisco Bay Area.

There are several areas that should be considered. On the south end there is Santa Cruz which has many diverse beaches and is about a two hour drive without traffic. Then working north there is Half Moon Bay, the ocean and bay beaches of San Francisco, and the beaches of the Marin Headlands. All of these other destinations are less than a two-hour drive if you avoid high traffic times.

Below is a list of the best beaches near Stockton, California.