Cerezo Bluffs

Beaches


California

,

Carlsbad

Why go A great place to relax and listen to the waves, especially if you like viewing the beach from up high. A lot of variety in experiences and views make each visit unique.
Why pass There’s bigger and longer stretches of beaches out there. If it’s really crowded, you can’t park.
Cost Free
Parking Free and it’s usually not hard to find a spot
Data No Wi-Fi but there is spotty 4G service
Bathrooms None nearby
Scenic Rating
GPS 33.128176, -117.333220

The Cerezo Bluffs are well known by surfers. On a good day, you’ll see about two dozen surfers on the ocean. But is it worth checking out if you aren’t a surfer? At first glance, I was not impressed with the bluffs at all. The beach was tiny, which I normally don’t mind, and I assumed there wouldn’t be much to explore either above or below. It just seemed like there should be more to it. And there certainly is. So much more in fact, that it ended up becoming one of my most favorite spots.

You can stay at the beach or you can enjoy the view from the bluffs. If venture up the bluffs, you can go up on either side. The left side is far longer than the right. But there is a multitude of spots you can relax at, each with a different view. In certain spots, you can hear the waves recede over rocks depending on the location of the rocks and the tide. Be prepared to walk snugly against the wall of the bluff and make small jumps at certain spots. You can also walk along the top of the bluffs. It’s less exciting but the view is just as good.

No two visits will ever be the same. Over time the cliffs will become eroded and rocks will be randomly placed on the beach and be taken away later.

The tide will fluctuate between two feet from the stairs to about 70 feet from the stairs. Those values aren’t during high or low tide either. I would say it normally is around 30 feet. If you plan on walking on the beach, you can venture quite far in either direction assuming the tide is low. There’s even a small cave or two to go inside.

When the water level is high, usually from a storm, and it’s high tide, you’re in for a totally different experience. The beach will be almost nonexistent but you can still reach the bluffs. From the bluffs, you’ll enjoy the sights and sounds of the waves crashing off them. Those nothing like the sight and sound of a big wave bouncing off the side of the bluff. Some of the really large waves will make you wet, depending on where you are, if you aren’t careful. Unless you don’t mind being wet, you’ll want to stay away from the ledges and get as close to the bluff walls as you can.

You can even watch the ocean from an even higher level. To the left of the stairs is a small opening by the fence where you can sit about 30 feet high. The highest level generally has the fewest people and it too stretches for awhile. Technically, you aren’t supposed to be there but I’ve never seen anyone get in trouble.

Overall, there are generally people here but it is never crowded. During the day there are more people obviously. I generally go to watch the sunset. Most evenings there will only be a handful of people within eyesight. Parking is a mixed bag. If it’s almost empty or only mildly busy there, you’ll be fine. If it’s really busy, which it sometimes is, then you might as well go somewhere else as parking is limited. Unless you really enjoy walking from where you parked carrying all your belongings. But even then you don’t have many parking options along the entrance. Your best bet it if it is really crowded is to park in the neighborhood across the street. You’ll have to cross at the light but it’s actually quicker.

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