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Big Sur Beaches Central

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Big Sur Beaches Central:
Mill Creek Picnic Area and Beach

A Northern California Beach by Suzi RosenbergA Northern California Beach
by Suzi Rosenberg

Mill Creek is an easily accessed rocky little beach at Highway Mark 18.5.

You'll find it where Mill Creek empties into the Pacific Ocean.

Located approximately 45 miles south of Carmel Highlands, it's operated by the Parks Management Company for the U.S. Forest Service.

It's a good place to break up your drive if you're traveling along the Big Sur Coast between Northern California and Southern California.

If you just want to stop for a bit of a picnic along the ocean, it's about half-way between Monterey and Cambria.

Four Things About Mill Creek Beach:

  • There are facilities here: restrooms and water, but no store for supplies
  • The beach is day use, but there's no fee
  • Swimming's not really advisable here, in my opinion
  • This is not a nude beach

Things To Do At Mill Creek

  • Picnicking near the parking lot or along the beach (there's a strip of sand just north of the lot that's a bit more comfy than the rocky part of the beach)
  • Surfing
  • Beachcombing
  • Photographing and enjoying the scenic vistas
  • Surf fishing (one more time - California Fishing License required)
  • Viewing wildlife

Big Sur Beaches Central:
Limekiln State Park

Limekiln State Park © Igor KaronLimekiln State Park; © Igor Karon

Located about two miles south of Lucia and around 60 miles south of Carmel Highlands, Limekiln is named after the one and only industry to have been developed here.

An Insider's Secret: In 1887 the Rockland Lime and Lumber Company was extracting lime from the area, processing it in four large lime kilns (using most of the surrounding redwood forest to fuel the necessary fires), and loading it onto ships for transport, to be used in concrete elsewhere.

Fortunately for the surrounding area, the lime ran out in about three years, and Limekiln was allowed to restore to its former natural glory. But you can still see what's left of the kilns along the West Fork of Limekiln Creek.

The beach at Limekiln isn't very big and it's a combination of rocky areas and rough sand, but there are kelp forests nearby, and sea otters sometimes visit!

Four Things About Limekiln Beach:

  • There are facilities here: restrooms, water, and a store for supplies (plus the little settlement of Lucia is just 2 miles north)
  • For non-campers, the beach is day use; there's a vehicle fee
  • For campers, some of the campsites run along Limekiln Creek and are very near the beach!
  • No nude beaches here

Things To Do At Limekiln Beach

  • Picnicking
  • Enjoying the scenic Views of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
  • Wildlife Viewing (along the ocean, in the air, and inland through the forests)
  • Witnessing the unusual sight of Coastal Redwoods (fog-loving trees) living nearly side-by-side with yucca (drought-tolerant succulents)
  • Camping
  • Hiking and backpacking - there's a lovely waterfall a little inland
  • Fishing (although the surf is often too rough) - Don't forget your California Fishing License!

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Do I have your attention? Good, because I have a few more Big Sur beaches for you to discover!

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Related Pages
Northern California Beaches

Beach Safety Tips

Big Sur Beaches
Nude Beaches