Panther Beach, California

PANTHER BEACH is one of California’s most popular beaches with locals and tourists indulging in its golden sandy shores and beautiful waters.

Yet, it has seaside hotspot with many names, with its incredible rock formations seeing it become also known as Hole in the Wall Beach.

Californians and visitors to The Golden State tend to head to the coastal hubs between Los Angeles and San Diego including Long Beach and Laguna Beach.

Even Santa Cruz has its own popular shoreline with more than one million people heading there every year.

Panther Beach is a beautiful, secluded spot in the middle of Santa Cruz, San Francisco and San Jose (Shinglesware/Flickr)
Panther Beach is a beautiful, secluded spot in the middle of Santa Cruz, San Francisco and San Jose (Shinglesware/Flickr)

Yet, less ten miles along the coast sits Panther Beach, a tiny patch of sand, stretching less than half a mile along the West Coast.

Located within the Coast Dairies State Park, the tourist hotspot is an idyllic location for relaxing in hot sun, although rip currents make swimming dangerous.

Getting to the beach can be difficult, with a steep hill on tricky terrain separating the beach from the car park, situated just off of Cabrillo Highway.

But once down at sea level, the scenery is magnificent with the rocky structures adding its own uniqueness to the place.

This is confirmed by TripAdvisor reviewers, with I_love_SF remarking: “This beach is out of this world.

“The rock formation and the bluffs made this a destination. The sand is amazing also. The water is a bit rough and cold.

“The only thing is the climb down is short but a bit difficult. So it may be a bit hard for an older person to get down and up.

“A picture is worth a thousand word.”

The rock formations gives Panther Beach its own identity with visitors coming in from all over (Andrew/Flickr)
The rock formations gives Panther Beach its own identity with visitors coming in from all over (Andrew/Flickr)

Although parking is free and relatively direct route if you are coming from Santa Cruz, San Jose or San Francisco directions, there are downsides to Panther Beach.

Aside from the difficulty in getting down to the shore, it can be difficult for those staying the entire day with no restrooms available in the vicinity, while you would also need to bring your own food as there aren’t any cafes or restaurants nearby.

Meanwhile, dogs will have to remain at home or in the car, as they are forbidden from going onto the beach.