Panther Beach, Santa Cruz California
Tired of summer fog and gloom? Then perhaps you should visit picturesque Panther, some 10 miles north of Santa Cruz. By afternoon, it's often so sunny here that naturists erect umbrellas to keep their bare bodies from burning. Other popular activities include reading, picnicking, rock climbing, bird watching, swimming, exploring the shore, or -- a personal favorite -- simply giving in to "sand gravity" by doing nothing at all. You can even watch whales as they pass the shoreline, which has tall rock towers, natural arching bridges, and a wall of rocks with caves, on the south end. Bring good walking shoes for the trail to this small but gorgeous beach
Panther Beach is located between mileposts 26.86 and 26.4 on Highway 1, some 10.6 miles north of the junction of Highway 1 and 17 in Santa Cruz and 40.7 miles south of the intersection of Highways 1 and 92 in Half Moon Bay. Drive slowly so you can make a sharp right turn onto a small dirt road on the west side of the highway, which is difficult to see when approaching from the north. The road leads to a rutted parking area that lies on a ridge between the highway and some railroad tracks. From the north end of the lot, cross the tracks and, while watching for poison oak, follow the steep, sloping, somewhat crumbly path to the sand.
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