Cambrian: Opinion

Beaches offer adventure, relaxation, entertainment and fresh air

A family enjoys a picnic outing at Leffingwell Landing.
A family enjoys a picnic outing at Leffingwell Landing. Special to The Cambrian

As the inland temperatures persist in the triple digits, families gather their camping gear or pull out the credit card for a weeklong respite from the heat. I remember one day when I watched a large sedan roll up to the end of Pico Avenue in San Simeon. The doors burst open as three kids, two parents and a black Labrador retriever erupted from the interior. The youngest child opened his arms to the breeze and exhaled, “Aaah, it’s so COOOOL!” It’s nature’s air conditioning at its best.

Our beaches provide ample opportunities for fun and adventure. We actually have our very own kayak rental at San Simeon Cove that has kayaks and boogie boards for rent, as well as wetsuits. If a genuine fun and safe adventure is on your summer bucket list, go for it!

San Simeon Cove is also a great place for hanging out on the beach and playing in the waves. The parking areas include barbecue grills, the pier allows fishing without a license, and during the summer the Coastal Discovery Center invites everyone to its Discovery Saturday activities.

For weekend entertainment, Leffingwell Landing is better than television. It’s fascinating to watch the boaters back their trucks down the concrete slope to launch or retrieve small boats and inflatables. Kayak fishermen have their kayaks full with

fishing gear, small ice chests and often, a burlap bag wriggling with the catch of the day.

Just a short walk south is a viewing area for harbor seals that haul out on the rocks during low tide. You can use binoculars for an even better view – that way you won’t disturb the seals. Leffingwell Point is a reliable bird watching spot for cormorants, pelicans, gulls, land-based birds and the omnipresent ground squirrels. Picnic tables are in high demand, and are often occupied by large family gatherings throughout the day.

Moonstone Beach is famous for the murky agates that are its namesake. Questing for moonstones is one of my favorite pastimes and is very relaxing. First I find a pebbly spot (the best place to find the bigger moonstones), set down a towel and start sifting through the rocks with my hands. I always make a special pile for the beach glass.

Sometimes, as I finger the colored stones and listen to the soothing sounds of the ocean, my face moves ever lower until it rests on the towel I’ve been lying on. I wake up refreshed, with little round indentations on my cheek, a fistful of moonstones in my grasp.

Children love the beach, with its constant sound of waves, glistening water and fresh air. Building sandcastles, squishing wet sand between the toes, and warming up on a dry towel are activities that form happy memories. It is easy to forget that others may spend their entire vacation budget to be here, while we who live on the coast are fortunate to have regular access to these wonderful places — our beaches.

Michele Roest’s column appears on the second Thursday each month and is special to The Cambrian.