What makes California so great for sand sports is that you can practice sandboarding both on desert and beach locations within the state. There are plenty of opportunities for sandboarding the inland sand dunes of the Mojave Desert, but Southern California (SoCal) is where all the beach fun is. The Monterey county is home to some of the state’s tallest dunes and must-see destinations for sand surfing and related activities. Going further south, the popular Pismo Beach within the Oceano Dunes Recreation Area is today one of the best sandboarding destinations in the country.

Sandboarding in Monterey: Marina, Seaside and Sand City

Sandboarding Crater Beach, Sand City
The Pit near Crater Beach in Sand City

Marina State Beach and Dunes Preserve

Marina State Beach should be the first stop in your SoCal’s sandboarding trip. Located only a few miles north of Monterey, the beach boasts some of California’s tallest sand dunes as well as smaller, beginner-friendlier slopes. Both sandboarding and sand sledding can be practiced and it’s not uncommon to see families with small kids.

Seaside & Sand City

These two towns share their beach and sand dunes. Sand City has a vibrant artist community and is particularly memorable for its sand sculptures. North of Sand City beach you can find a natural sand depression, “The Crater”, which also happens to be a clothing-optional area. The perimeter of the Crater is formed by dunes with varying steepness where sandboarding and sand sledding can be practiced.

Sandboarding at Pismo Beach – Oceano, CA

Sandboarding Oceano Dunes, Pismo Beach
Oceano Sand Dunes near Pismo Beach. Photo courtesy of “Mike” Michael L. Baird.

Near Pismo Beach there is the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, where sand duning is widely practiced. The sand dunes are some of the most extensive in the country, surrounded by the town of Oceano on one side, and the actual ocean on the other, yet because of their size it’s easy to feel like you are in a desert. While you easily can rent a sandbuggy or offroad vehicle in both Oceano and Pismo Beach, it’s better if you bring your own sandboard.

Sandboarding in Los Angeles

Point Mugu is Malibu is the most noticeable sandboarding spot in Los Angeles. On top of that, there are a few beaches where you can practice sand sledding on artificial sand hills and berms during winter. They are generally not very steep and mostly suited for children, but can be a lot of fun nonetheless.

Malibu Sand Dunes

Sandboarding Point Mugu Malibu
PCH Sand Hill near Point Mugu, Photo Courtesy of Jacob Montgomery

Point Mugu, Malibu, CA

The Point Mugu Sand Dunes make an excellent spot for sandboarding and sand sledding, where you can also enjoy stunning views the Malibu sunset. There is a huge sand dune located on the east end of Thornhill Broome Beach. The slope ends very close to the highway, but the ride is slow and will spare you a trip back to your car.

Zuma Beach, Malibu, CA

Seasonal artificial sand berms are erected at Zuma Beach after Thanksgiving as a protection from winter storms and floods, while also becoming accessible for sand sledding.

Venice Sand Dunes

Venice Beach, Venice, CA

Possibly the most popular spot for sand sledding in LA, a vast sand berm located south of the Venice Beach Pier is constructed every year at the end of October.

L.A. Sand Dunes

Hermosa Beach, Los Angeles, CA

Another beach where artificial sand dunes are built in winter and are publicly accessible for sand sledding. Hermosa Beach is located in the outskirts of Los Angeles and its slopes are not very steep, making them ideal for young kids.

Next: Sandboarding in California’s Mojave Desert

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