Family Friendly Beach in Southern California with a Beach Elevator.
Miles of hiking trails.
Funicular access hours: 6 am to 8 pm Memorial Day to Labor Day (summer season); 7 am to 5 pm weekends and holidays (non-summer season). The funicular is closed Monday through Friday during the non-summer hours.
We had never been, nor heard, of the Strand Beach in all our 13 years living in Orange County until we met a new friend from Trekaroo. So, we finally made the drive down to Dana Point and were thrilled with this great beach.
Near the top of my list for finding a good beach is finding good parking. This beach has a very large parking lot that was barely filled on a weekday morning and best of all it was free. We loaded our gear onto our backs and made the trek down the stairs. My kids were fascinated by the funicular train that parallels the stairs but I made them wait to ride it until we were coming back up. We thought we could make it down the stairs faster than it could, but we weren't even close.
We found a great spot on the sand after walking south along the boardwalk for quite a ways and enjoyed our day. Next time we come to this beach, which hopefully will be soon, I think I'll plan on setting up "camp" closer to the bathroom at the bottom of the funicular. I had to make quite a trek for my 3 year old who had to do his business... only to find his potty anxiety strike again and the trek was then pointless. Oh well, I got some exercise.
The kids were delighted with the ride up the hill in the funicular, and I was very thankful to not be lugging our stuff up. Even though we had to wait a full cycle for the funicular because of several groups of kids who filled up the small carriage before us, it was a great ride.
To note: taking a stroller to this beach is a good option if you need it but you will need to ride the funicular down and up. Make sure you are going when it is running. There is a bathroom and shower at the bottom and top of the funicular. At the bottom of the funicular is another steep hill down to the beach. A boardwalk and cement walk to the north provide access to a swimming beach area which is about 2 "blocks" down. If you decide to not take the boardwalk, there is a swimming beach to the south but it may be a bit crowded. Enjoy!
Looking for a Family Friendly Beach in Southern California?
A few weekends ago we decided to take a trip to the The Strand Beach at Dana Point. I've been wanting to visit the Strand since hearing about it from a friend. It was a glorious afternoon at the beach. We picked up some sandwiches and drinks at the nearby Gelson's Market and made our way down to the Strand Beach.
The Strand is located near Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point and offers miles of trails and parks overlooking the picturesque Pacific Ocean. One of the highlights is the Funicular (an inclined Beach Elevator). It takes about four minutes to ride down from the parking lot to the beach. The Funicular was a big hit with my two year old little girl. There's also a stairway leading down to the beach.
Upon arriving at the beach, we enjoyed our yummy sandwiches, played in the sand and took walk along one of the trails. It was a fabulous afternoon! The gently sloping shores make this a great beach for families with younger children. You'll definitely want to add this to your "must see" list of beaches in the South OC!
Take PCH in Dana Point to Selva Road and head South towards the ocean. There's a free parking lot titled “Salt Creek Beach Park."
While you're at the Stand beach you may want to pay a visit to the new Dana Point Headlands Preserve Nature Trail.