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Top 20 Runs on the California Coast

As the weather cools in other parts of the United States, it has us thinking about the perpetual sunshine of the California Coast. From our coverage of California, there are some 100 routes along the water — from pristine beaches, to festive boardwalks, and city streets with killer views of marinas and bays. The common theme is that the route has something to to with the Pacific Ocean: along it or a view of it. This list pulls from our guides from north to south: San Francisco, Oakland/East Bay, Silicon Valley, Monterey/Carmel/Big Sur, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego. We’ve also added a few routes that are off the beaten path, but worth a visit on any tour of the coast. The list below is our Top 20 Runs On the California Coast, while we also put together a list of all our California Coastal routes. The Map below is a compendium of all our California coastal routes.

All California Coast Runs

NOTE: Click ‘Page Back’ Button to get back from a route to this list. On Map, click box on top right for full page view or slider on left for routes by from north to south in the state.

Berkeley Marina

Oakland/Berkeley (East Bay), CA

Wonderful running in this area, 2 miles west of downtown Berkeley. A series of three parks and 8+ miles waterside trails along shores, tidal marshes, and beaches, with views out to SF Bay, the Berkeley Yacht Harbor, and South Sailing Basin.

Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail

Silicon Valley, CA

Worth a detour. Half Moon Bay is an idyllic coastal town about 20 min. off the highway. Home to Mavericks, the famous surfing beach. A 4+ mile coastal trail makes for a fantastic run, with great views to the beach, surf, and cliffs to the north. Cute town, too.

Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail

The Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail, which spans the coast of Monterey between Pacific Grove and Castroville, is a beautiful 18 mile former railway, which is now a two lane path leading to some of the most notable tourist attractions in the area.

Andrew Molera State Park

Big Sur is one of the most spectacular gems of the California Coast, and the views are at their best from the Panorama Trail in Andrew Molera State Park, 22 miles south of Carmel.

Morro Bay

California Coast: All Routes

The San Luis Obispo area, though not as popular among tourists as its surrounding cities, is a fantastic destination for a beach run. The favored route follows the 6 mile course of the Brian Waterbury Memorial Rock to Pier Run.

Long Beach Waterfront

Long Beach, CA

A wonderful series of paved paths along the water, running from the Aquarium in Long Beach for 7+ miles south to the Peninsula in Belmont Shore. Great water views, passing Shoreline Village, Marina Green, Junipero Beach, & more. Beach also runnable.

Crystal Cove State Park

Orange County, CA

Run a beach and a canyon all in one run! Fantastic state park has a 2.5+ mile paved coastal trail and 10+ miles of backcountry trails in Moro Canyon. You can enjoy the promenade, with great views, or do a more strenuous trail run with 2,000 feet elevation gain!

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