The great thing about hidden beaches is also the trouble with hidden beaches—they’re hard to find! So remember these five words: Hole in the Wall Beach. About 10 miles north of Santa Cruz, this golden stretch of sand, backed by 30-foot cliffs, has several small enclaves for some R&R. Getting there requires a scramble down a well-worn path to Panther Beach. Then look south toward the giant (12 feet across!) hole in the rock wall, and stroll through this natural tunnel to the beach. As with most hidden beaches, the area is sometimes inhabited by the clothing-optional crowd. And it’s accessible only at low tide, so when you see the ocean rising, head back to the hole.
Low tides: March 15, 12:58 p.m. (-.5); March 16, 1:56 p.m. (-.6). For information on more upcoming low tides, click here. Directions: Just south of Davenport on Highway 1, start watching the mile marker signs. Between mile markers 26.86 and 26.40, about a half-mile south of Fambrini’s Farm Fresh Produce, there’s a dirt pullout on the west side of the highway. Coming from the north, take a sharp right turn at the pullout. Park—leave no valuables in the car—cross the railroad tracks, and scramble down the rocks to the beach. Swimming isn’t advised because of strong riptides. Dog-friendly!