Scott Creek Beach

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Rating: B

Scott Creek is a fun place, where surfers of many stripes -- ranging from board riders to windsurfers to kite surfers -- share the sand and water of pristine Scott Creek Beach near Davenport with both nature lovers (who explore its lagoon for birds and nearby Ano Nuevo State Reserve for elephant seals) and naturists. The surfers usually leave their towels on the north side of the beach, from October to May. But before you swim, check for possible riptides just offshore.

 

County land.

 

How to find it:

Scott Creek is three miles north of Davenport, off Highway 1, and 15.5 miles north of the junction of Highways 1 and 17, in Santa Cruz. It's also 35.8 miles south of the intersection of Highways 1 and 92 in Half Moon Bay. Check for Swanton Road, shown on some maps. There are two turnouts for parking. You can walk to the beach from either north or south of the bridge.

 

The beach:

Frequently deserted, half-mile-long Scott Creek Beach is at the bottom of a small bluff. At the north end, a submerged reef creates one of the finest surfing spots in northern California.

 

The crowd:

The beach is usually quiet, but the two turnouts, which hold 60-to-100 cars between them, fill up quickly on peak summer days.

 

Problems:

Wind; undertow; cold water; a pipeline offshore detracts from the view

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