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The beach may be a place to go for rest and relaxation, but it’s also a place to go for fun. Spring is an exciting season on the California Coast—the weather gets nicer, the Spring Break crowds start to line the sidewalks, and a host of events are set to entertain locals and visitors alike. If you’re planning a trip to the coast this season, here are a few events you may want to add to your calendar.

Santa Barbara Vintners Spring Weekend


If you enjoy wine (and wine near the beach), head to Santa Barbara in April for the annual Santa Barbara Vintners Spring Weekend celebration. Taste the new releases and attend fun events (like vineyard walks and wine and cheese pairing courses) while enjoying the beautiful scenery.

Newport Beach Film Festival, April

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The movie theaters of Newport Beach will host the annual celebration of cinema in late April, giving movie buffs a chance to see more than 350 films. The festival is known for spotlighting ethnic cinema and action sports films, so you’ll have a wide variety to choose from.

San Diego Maritime Museum Chocolate Festival

If you’re one of the millions of people who love chocolate, this festival is for you. The annual event will have over 15 vendors showcasing and sampling different types of chocolate. This event is for people of all ages, and there will be beer and chocolate and wine and chocolate pairings for the adults. Tickets are only $13-$20 if you buy them in advance.

Big Sur International Marathon


The Big Sur Marathon is considered one of the most scenic running events in the country. If you’re up for a challenge, it’s a great way to indulge in some post-marathon treats (and massages) guilt-free. But even if you’re not a distance runner, this is a fun time to visit Big Sur since you can cheer on the marathon runners while enjoying the live music and other accompanying events.

Carmel Art Festival

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The Carmel Art Festival will once again take over Devendorf Park and nearby side streets to display the work of artists from Carmel-by-the-Sea and the Carmel Beach area. This is a free event with live music, awards, and live and silent auctions.

Santa Cruz American Music Festival

Held at the beautiful Aptos Village Park near Santa Cruz, this festival offers the chance to hear some well known bands while listening to some up-and-coming artists. General admission for the two day festival costs $120, and single-day passes are also available.

Avila Beach Blues Festival

Avila Beach Golf Resort’s annual blues concert is typically in late May, and the lineup of talent is bigger than ever. This event is family-friendly and held near the beautiful beaches of Avila Beach, which is north of Pismo Beach. Ticket prices start at just $55.