This page contains affiliate links and is a member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase using one of these Amazon links, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. See my Disclosure Policy for more information.

Our Favorite Hidden Beaches In Northern California

A California beach trip needn’t be hectic. It can involve some of the hidden spots providing you with access to a quieter vacation experience, lesser-crowded options throughout the state give you the peace of mind you desire while spending time by the sea. If you’re looking to get away from it all, you’ll be able to easily by picking the right destination for rest and relaxation from this secluded beaches in Northern California top list!

Anett Victoria - Author of SeaSpiration

Written by Anett Victoria

When it comes to a beach vacation, Anett is the person who certainly has tips on where to go and what to do no matter it is a luxury tropical holiday, a romantic seaside getaway, or a fun family trip to the ocean. As a world traveler with years of experience in exploring tropical countries and a water sports fan, she creates this inspiring site where she writes travel guides, reviews and recommends beach gear, and gives travel tips to make planning your trip quicker and easier! Are you curious about where She wanders now? Follow her adventures on IG too!

Centerville Beach County Park

One of the best hidden beaches in Northern California, Centerville Beach, offers plenty of uncrowded space to explore, fly kites, and beachcomb. If you’re looking for a place to visit that allows you to walk along the shoreline without interruption, you’ll find it at these 9-mile long stretch of sand.

Centerville beach county park

You can make your way to the mouth of the Eel River if you’re ambitious enough to journey that far. The beach is also a short drive from the hills, where you can enjoy the magnificent view of the shoreline and may even get the chance to see whales migrating if you happen to be here during April and May.

Keep in mind that this secluded beach doesn’t have trash cans, so pack out what you carry in with you. Also, there are no restrooms, so that could be a problem if you’re not traveling by RV. Still, if you want to enjoy a day by the ocean without interruption, you’ll love having the opportunity to do so at Centerville Beach.

Glass Beach

Offering brilliantly colored sea glass polished smooth by the ocean, Glass Beach in Fort Bragg is an incredible place to visit. It’s a place that makes its way onto many travel sites because of its stark beauty and the amount of glass present on its shores, but still remains one of those quiet, not crowded California beaches that are worth visiting.

Glass beach

Keep in mind that the climb down is very steep and not handicap accessible. There is no real pathway from the parking lot to the shoreline, so wear comfortable footwear and watch your step. If you want to see larger pieces of glass, be at the beach during low tide. It’s an incredible place to visit that is rich with history.

Don’t forget your camera at home because you won’t want to miss capturing the treasures provided to you by the sea. Although it may be tempting to take home buckets of the glistening sea treasures, better just to admire the glass all you want but leave them so other people can enjoy it for years.

Black Point Beach

Black Point doesn’t feature the white sands you might be used to at some popular beaches in California. The sand here is dark, and its surrounded by rocky cliffs. It’s also a place where strong rip currents are present, so you don’t want to take your chance swimming there.

Although, Black Point Beach does offer a non-crowded glimpse into the area, but don’t think that there is nothing interesting here. Complete with the Black Point Grill at Sea Ranch Lodge, a restaurant that uses seasonal ingredients to make its menu items, this spot, as one of the must-visit hidden beaches in Northern California, won’t disappoint any beachgoer!

Black point beach

If you’re staying in the area and want some time alone to listen to the ocean’s waves or catch up on the novel you’ve wanted to read, it’s an excellent option for you to consider.

Goat Rock Beach

Near the town of Jenner, Goat Rock Point and Russian River, there is Goat Rock Beach. It’s a place where marine life flourishes, and appearances of seals are frequent. Taking photos of them is permitted, but you must stay at least 50 feet back for your safety.

Jenner goat rock beach

The exquisite beach is excellent for beachcombing but not for swimming because the tide makes it very dangerous to be in the water without a lifeguard. Picking up shells and driftwood can be an easy-going activity for the whole family to enjoy at most secret beaches in Northern California, but this spot is excellent for such hobbies!

Heart’s Desire Beach

Heart’s Desire is not only a hidden spot, but also one of the warmest beaches in Northern California where you can sunbathe, swim, and beach comb away from the smog of the city. This clean property with bathroom facilities is an excellent family friendly beach too. Locals have been visiting this spot for years because they know that it’s easy to get to and there are few crowds.

Hearts Desire Beach - California USA

There are picnic tables to dine on and nearby parking. The beach is surrounded by trees, making this spot even more private. If you don’t want your California beach trip being bothered by the noise of thousands of beachgoers, head to Heart’s Desire.

Muir Beach

Located off of Highway 101 sits Marin, the small town with access to another hidden beach in Northern California, Muir Beach. An area rich with Miwok and Portuguese tales, it’s as whimsical as it is historical.

Family with kite at muir beach

You’ll see wildlife galore in the area making it perfect for nature lovers. There are Monarch butterflies, salmon, fox, dear, and coyotes enjoying the natural setting, too. You may come across them while hiking or kayaking here.

To give you an idea of how secluded the area is, its residents don’t have access to cable TV. They also have a hard time getting the local pizzeria to deliver because of the winding roads. Still, there is a sense of well-being and community in Marin. If you want to leave the worries of the city behind, you can do it at this hidden Bay Area beach.

Gray Whale Cove State Beach

A treasure trove of exploration awaits you at Gray Whale Cove State Beach. As one of the best secluded beaches in Northern California, it provides you with the opportunity to soak up the sun but not being surrounded by large groups of people. Gray whales are visible from the shores, hence the name of the beach. Seeing one is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before!

Gray whale state cove beach

Paved trails and clean restrooms await you in an area surrounded by captivating cliffs. There is a clothing-optional part that opens up in the spring. It may be a better place to visit in the winter with kids. The loop trail above the beach provides outstanding views of the ocean.

Martin’s Beach

Well, there are some secluded beaches in Northern California that are less crowded for a reason and Martin’s Beach is one of them. This picturesque spot was never a busy place, but currently it can be visited only with permission (or illegally) since there is a dispute over the public access to Martin’s Beach.

There is only one road leading to the beach, Martin’s Beach Road that goes through a land owned by the billionaire Vinod Khosla (co-founder of Sun Microsystems) who closed it stating that it’s private property. The Friends of Martin’s Beach challenged the ruling because they feel that it’s unfair because according to California law, access to the coastline should always be free.

Couple walking on Martins Beach

If you want to visit this hidden gem, you’ll need to know a property owner in the area that can give you access to it. Otherwise, you’ll be trespassing.

People living in the area or visited Martin’s Beach lately claim that it is finally accessible, but you need to leave your car in in an unofficial paid parking (10USD) set up by the landowner. Fair or not fair, most people still say it is worth paying it to spend a day at such a hidden, and postcard-perfect place!

Scott Creek Beach

Located near the quiet California beach town of Davenport, Scott Creek Beach offers plenty of reasons to relax. There are low tide pools to explore and lots of wildlife. Kids love picking up shells in the area.

Scott creek beach davenport

A stop along the Pacific Coast Highway, Scott Creek, is windy, providing the perfect environment for windsurfers to catch a breeze. There are no bathrooms available, either, so be mindful when spending the day here. If you want to scope out area businesses, restaurants and wineries, make sure to go for a stroll in Davenport.

Natural Bridges State Beach

If you want to get close to nature and see most of the area’s wildlife and marine life, visiting Northern California less crowded beaches offer the perfect opportunity for it, so a trip to Natural Bridges State Beach needs to be on your things-to-do list.

Located near Santa Cruz, the area -that is often said to belong Central Cali, but according to the official separation that describes two partitions only, it is NoCal- is home to migrating whales, seals, otters, and shorebirds. You can also witness sea stars, shore crabs, and sea anemones during low tide at this hidden Santa Cruz beach.

Natural Bridges State Beach

If exploring the area without disruptions is on your schedule, go during the week when the local kids are in school. If you go from mid-October to mid-February, you can see the monarchs migrating.

The beach is surrounded by wildflowers and other vegetation, making it an ideal spot for photography. Be sure to “take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints” so other people can enjoy the area long into the future.

Inspired? Pin it!

Hidden beaches in Northern California