One of the advantages of living in Southern California is close proximity to the beach. From the Silver Strand in San Diego, to Leo Carrillo in North Los Angeles, the region is full of excellent sandy spots to explore. As there are a plethora of beaches for locals and visitors to explore alike, it’s not a surprise that the go-to shoe in Southern California is a sandal for days on the beach, and nights on the town.
While there are plenty of complicated hikes in California that require more intense hiking gear, there are also tons of great micro-adventures in and around Southern California that require not much more than sandals and casual wear. Here’s a list of five great adventures that you can take on with as little as your t-shirt, shorts and sandals.
All you need
- Comfortable Shorts
- Active Sandals - Keen Uneeks are a great choice.
Torrey Pines State Beach, San Diego
Stretching from La Jolla to Del Mar, Torrey Pines State Beach is a picturesque expanse of sand, rocks, and eroded cliffs that date back several thousand years. This beach is a great spot for a hike, walk or jog. One of the most popular hikes begins at the Pacific Coast Highway parking area, and heads south along the coast for one and a half miles. At this point, hikers can turn back and walk back to their car, keep heading south to the infamous Black’s Beach (clothing optional), or explore Bathtub Rock, which has a distinctive rectangle cut into its center. More adventurous hikers can also head up into Torrey Pines State Reserve on the sandy trails from this point, and loop back around to the parking area on the park road, which used to be the old Pacific Coast Highway.
Bridge to Nowhere, Azusa
The Last Adventurer
Southern California is more than just beach walks and hikes – it also has mountain hikes that involve numerous river and stream crossings. Case in point is the infamous Bridge to Nowhere hike in the San Gabriel mountains. The hike is a relatively flat out-and-back trail that midpoints at an old 1930’s bridge that has been abandoned to vehicle traffic for over eighty years. The hike begins on a fire road, before descending into a river valley, whereupon the trail crosses – and re-crosses the East San Gabriel river numerous times. At the mid-point, hikers can marvel at the abandoned bridge – or jump off of it through the bungee jumping company that operates there, before heading back through the forest and through the river.
Bluff and Tidepool Trail, Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego
The Last Adventurer
Feel like taking in the ocean while casually exploring the beach? One of the best spots to spend part of a day seeing the many unique features on a Southern California beach, along with the tidepools that dot the coast is the Bluff and Tidepool Trail. This trail is located near the park entrance at the end of Point Loma. The best time to do this hike is low tide, when the tidepools are exposed. At this time, visitors can walk around the eroded cliffs while marveling at the many sea creatures present in the shallows. In addition to the many interesting features in the tidepools, low tide in this area also exposes a number of interesting geologic features hidden in the rocks. Finally, during the winter months, this spot is also a good spot to watch for Grey Whales, as they migrate to Baja California.
Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles
Nothing says California, or Southern California like the famous Hollywood Sign. If you’re in the Los Angeles basin, this is a popular hike that everyone must attempt at least once in their life. While there are many ways to reach the sign, all are accessible with a pair of solid sandals. The most challenging – and adventurous is the route that leaves from the end of Wonder View Drive. This route ascends to the ridgeline above the city of Los Angeles, and also crosses three “peaks” - Burbank Peak, Cahuenga Peak, and Mount Lee over the course of three and a quarter miles. While this is an iconic hike in the greater Los Angeles area, and quite popular, hikers should be sure to bring plenty of water to stay cool in the Southern California sun.
The Slot, Anza-Borrego Desert
The Last Adventurer
While casual wear is great at the beach, sandals, shorts, and a t-shirt also make for comfortable desert exploration. One of the best – and most unique spots is “the Slot” in the middle of the Anza-Borrego desert. While the Anza-Borrego desert has many canyons, none are like “the Slot”. “The slot” is a finely carved canyon with high reaching walls that seem to stretch an impossible distance upward. While the route through “the slot” is only one and a half miles one way, it makes the hiker feel like they are on another planet, or in another time, and is an excellent spot for photographic opportunities.
Brought to you by Keen Uneek Footwear
There's unique... And then there's "UNEEK unique." It's a little bit of "I'll try anything" and a whole 'lotta "how you doing?" It's an open air footwear movement. So go ahead, step outta your comfort zone... comfortably.