I lived in California for nineteen years, about two thirds of it in So Cal. I lived walking distance from a nice beach for five years. Yet I didn’t go that often.
“Eh, no need to go today. There will be plenty of other chances.”
Then those chances were gone. I moved east to where it was a real burden to get to the ocean. (And, I’m sorry, the Atlantic doesn’t qualify as an ocean. Well, except maybe the parts that abut the Caribbean.) Nearly all my vacations involved getting on a plane to a place with salt water and sunshine. “Bargain fares to Europe in winter? No thanks. I’d rather pay through the nose to go to the Caribbean or Mexico in high season.”
So, when I was in the California desert the other day, I thought, “What am I doing out here when the ocean is just down the highway a bit? Go west, old man, until you get wet.”
Today I’m at Carpinteria Beach. One of many that I’d never been to. It’s a classic Southern California beach. And the weather was actually rather nice this afternoon.
As far as campground prices go, the California State Beaches aren’t cheap. But they’re a steal compared to beachfront hotels. Purist van dwellers will refuse to stay anywhere that charges. Free camping only. I’m obviously not a purist. I’m an ex-Californian.