Driftwood on California Beaches

by Lidwina
(Redondo Beach, CA)

Question: Where are the best beaches to find driftwood? We live in Redondo Beach but will be going up to San Francisco, San Luis Obispo and Santa Cruz and would love to see if any of those places have good driftwood beaches nearby. If not, where is the best beach for driftwood in CA? How about sand dollars?

Answer: The best places to find driftwood are on Northern California beaches such as these. However, you should be able to find plenty in the Bay Area and on the Central Coast.

Keep in mind that driftwood gets washed downstream from forested areas then tossed around on the coast. So you're more likely to find it where there are forests nearby, and near areas where streams and rivers meet the sea. That's why there's so much driftwood in Northern California and so little in Southern California.

There are redwood forests in Marin County, around Santa Cruz, and around the Big Sur area, so they should provide a decent amount of nice driftwood. I don't know specifically which beaches would be best.

As for sand dollars, you might try Stinson Beach north of San Francisco or Cayucos State Beach north of Morro Bay. I'm sure there are other beaches as well, since sand dollars aren't rare creatures. They live on the sandy sea floor, so your chances of finding them are best on sandy beaches, as opposed to rocky or pebbly ones.

Timing is everything; your luck with beachcombing depends on how many people have gotten there before you. Early morning, low tide and anytime during the off-season are your best bets.

Hope this helps.


Comments for Driftwood on California Beaches

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Sep 24, 2015
Sand Dollars
by: Anonymous

Every year I go to Pismo Beach. Two miles down from Pismo Pier is Grover Beach. It is loaded with Sand Dollars and you can drive on the beach.
Check the tides before you go out. Only go at Low Tide as you won't find anything at High Tide. If you try to drive the beach at high tide you will probably get stuck in the sand.

Happy hunting!

Jun 09, 2015
sand dollars
by: Anonymous

oceanside harbor beach has a lot of sand dollars usually in the fall months

Apr 26, 2014
by: Anonymous

San Leandro Marina is a good place to find driftwood.

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Ask A Question About the California Coast.