Leo Carrillo State Beach, California with MommyHiker.com

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The sun, sand and sea are rare for me and my tots. We spend our days in the cool mountains of Utah most of the time, but once a year I find myself craving the sound of waves hitting the beach, salty sea air on my face and a long stretch of sand for me and my kids to play in.

And no summer vacation would be complete without friends to share it with. On this excursion to Leo Carrillo State Beach in California I met up with Jennifer Fontaine, blogger and editor at MommyHiker.com and her lovely daughter, V.  I’m a fan of her blog, a follower of hers on twitter and facebook, but actually meeting face to face – chasing our kids in the water and looking for hermit crabs – helped me realize that all those words on a screen actually came from a human being, a great one at that.

It’s great to get to know the locals whenever you go, but even better when you have something in common. Jennifer’s commitment to having the outdoors part of her family life inspires me to do the same, to take time to explore through the eyes of a child and enjoy what nature has to provide.

And Leo Carrillo State Beach in Southern California has plenty of things to explore. V and Big E hopped from rock to rock chasing seagulls and searching the tide pools for crabs, I watched pelicans soar overhead, while little g contentedly made sand cupcakes. 


Located 28 miles northwest of Santa Monica, Leo Carrillo State Beach is unique with a protected cove toward the north and rocky tide pools that can be explored at almost any time of day (low tide obviously allows for more wildlife). It’s a great family beach and with the Leo Carillo State Beach Campground just a stroll away, it can also be a great place to stay. The parking and campground area is located just under the highway, accessed by a pedestrian tunnel decorated with all sorts of amazing sea life.

My one complaint of Leo Carillo State Beach would be the scarcity of good boogie board space, but with nature you can’t be choosy.

All in all, the beach was great, the sun warm and company stellar. It was so fun to enjoy a day in the sun with MommyHiker.com, I may just need to plan a visit to the ocean more than once a year.

Leo Carrillo State Beach Info
How to get there: Take Hwy 1 in California 28 miles northwest of Santa Monica
Features: Tide Pools, Protected Cove, Beach Combing, Surfing further off shore
Tips: If you want to camp at Leo Carrillo Beach Campground make your reservations early!

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Author: Mountain Mom

Hi! I'm Mountain Mom. I live with my husband and three young kids in the mountains near Sundance, Utah. When we're not hiking, biking, skiing and camping, I spend my time doing Mom stuff and reading. Summer of 2016 we traveled over 7,000 miles along the US National Park to Park Highway.

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