Tag Archives: Northern California

PUC, A Beach Town?

By: Dana Negro

When you think of the Napa Valley, surrounded by beautiful vineyards and majestic forest beds, you don’t immediately think of the beach but you might be surprised. 

As someone born and raised in a beach town, the thought of spending my college years away from easy access to sand and waves was enough to give me pause. But what I came to find is PUC is in the PERFECT location—whether you love to hike the forest, ski the slopes, or yes, catch a wave—you’re just a short road trip away. And because I’m kind, I’ll spare you the googling and tell you five of the best beaches near PUC. You’re welcome!

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Dillon Beach (1 hour and 25 minutes from PUC)

Would you like to know the absolute best thing about Dillon Beach? It’s a dog beach! That’s right, there are puppies everywhere. Pack up your car with some blankets and friends, swing by Giugni’s for some sandwiches, and head off for an afternoon of relaxing and puppy-petting. Pro-tip: Official beach parking is $10 so unless you want to park in town and take a nice walk, you’ll need to bring some cash. Have everyone in the car chip in! 

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Goat Rock Beach (1 hour and 30 minutes from PUC)

Goat Rock is probably the beach most frequented by PUC students. Every year the Student Association, as well as multiple student clubs, have both church and vespers services here. Pro-tip: The area is a harbor seal birthing place between March and July so during those months we wouldn’t necessarily recommend going for a swim, BUT it’s a great spot to view incredible sea life and maybe catch a cute seal pup on camera. 

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Fort Point Beach (1 hour and 51 minutes from PUC)

Surfs up! While Fort Point isn’t the closest beach in the San Francisco area, it’s worth the extra drive simply for its beautiful location. Fort Point Beach lives right under the famous Golden Gate Bridge which guarantees a great view and great photo opportunities! Head towards the city, grab a board, and hang ten. Pro-tip: If you’re not from around here, it’s important to note: you’ll want to bring a jacket and if you’re surfing, a wetsuit! 

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Capitola Beach (2 hours and 49 minutes from PUC)

Located in the heart of the quintessential beach in Santa Cruz County, Capitola is by far not only my favorite beach but also my favorite place on earth. Take a break from the ocean by wandering in and out of the cute little village shops, grab a slice from the famous Pizza My Heart’s original location, or treat yourself to some local ice cream. You really can’t go wrong. And if you’re looking for that perfect photo opportunity, you don’t have to look far, with a row of brightly colored buildings locals refer to as “The Venetians” right on the water’s edge, you really can’t take a bad shot. Pro-tip: Wait till sunset for even more stunning photos.

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Glass Beach (2 hours and 50 minutes from PUC)

Do love collecting sea glass? Spending time looking for that bright cobalt blue color? Or maybe just looking at and taking photos of it? Glass Beach is pretty famous for its coastline covered in colorful glass pieces smoothed from years in the sea. The glass makes up about half the shore and mixed with the dark-colored sand, is a pretty remarkable sight. Pro-tip: It’s actually illegal to remove any cultural or natural features from a state beach so be sure to take lots of photos and selfies! 

Well, there you have it, folks! Five fantastic beaches for when you really need some ocean therapy and time away from campus. For more information about life in Northern California, visit our NorCal page on the PUC website! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Essential Items for Northern California Living

Welcome to life in NorCal, where the climate is quick to change, and you can easily straddle the line between being active in nature while still enjoying all the benefits of the culture and sites of city life. You’ll want to be prepared for everything, and you’ll want to look good doing it! Here is a list of ten items we think will help make your years here in Northern California that much better.

(Note: The links provided below are not affiliate links. We do not receive a commission if you purchase a product through any of these links. These are just our recommendations!)

A Good Coat

Perhaps the most essential item on this list, it’s imperative that you have a good coat to help get you through the winter months in Northern California. You should consider investing in a waterproof jacket too, for those rainy or misty days.

Staff Pick: The quality of North Face is simply unbeatable.

The Right Pair of Shoes

Having the right shoes is so important since you’re on your feet a lot, walking to class, around town, in the city, or out in nature. Whether it be a great sandal, cool sneakers, classic running shoes, or boots for various weather, remember comfort is key. If you know you’re going to be on your feet a lot (like if you’re a nursing student!), consider getting Dr. Scholl’s insoles for your shoes.

Staff Pick: For both guys and gals, Converse are great for everyday wear, and Reef sandals are a perfect on-the-go sandal option.

A Thick Beanie

While scientists have debunked the old wives’ tale that 50% of your body heat is lost through your head, you can still lose heat by having your head uncovered. It’s a good idea to have a nice, thick beanie you can grab when Karl the Fog starts rolling in.

Staff Pick: North Face also makes great beanies, or you can pick up a cheap one from Target.

A Nice Pair of Sunglasses

Whether you’re mountain biking in PUC’s forested Back 40 or sight-seeing in the city, you’ll want to have a pair of sunglasses nearby. Make sure you’re buying a pair that will block 100 percent of UV rays to keep your eyes protected.

Staff Pick: Ray-Bans are a great investment (they’re unisex too!).

Good Quality Sunscreen

Even if it’s an overcast day, remember to put on sunscreen! Up to 87 percent of the sun’s rays can penetrate through clouds, fog, and even mist, so sunscreen is something you’ll want to have on hand constantly.

Staff Pick: Anything from Sun Bum Sunscreen (trust us, it’s worth it!).

A Durable Backpack You Can Carry All Day

These days, a backpack is for so much more than carrying your textbooks around. You can pack one for the beach, for a museum day in the city, or for a concert on Treasure Island.

Staff Pick: A bag from either Herschel Supply Co. or Fjallraven are both great options.

A Reusable Water Bottle

Northern Californians are all about being green and being as environmentally friendly as possible, which is why many of us have reusable water bottles. Carrying one around can also help you reach your daily water intake needs!

Staff Pick: If you can swing it, a Hydro Flask is a great investment; otherwise consider something from Klean Kanteen or Sip.

A Rechargeable External Battery

Never be disconnected unless you want to be! There are plenty of reasons people love their cell phones: Talking to loved ones, browsing the internet, and keeping up-to-date on social media. You don’t need to worry about your battery percentage if you have a portable charger with you, so Instagram away and remember to tag @PUCNow in your campus photos for a chance to be reposted!  

Staff Pick: They’re a bit pricey, but Anker portable chargers are awesome.

A Blanket You Don’t Mind Getting Dirty

Keep a big blanket in the trunk of your car for unexpected beach trips and impromptu picnics at the park. You never know when you’ll end up at Goat Rock for a Sabbath afternoon or simply reading your biology textbook at Crane Park.

Staff Pick: Anything from Tribe & True.

A Hammock

Hammocking is all the rage, and at any given time you’ll see students relaxing in hammocks all over campus here, even back in the PUC forest. If all the school hammocks are rented out, don’t miss outbring your own! Then you’ll be set for relaxation anytime, anywhere!

Staff Pick: ENO hammocks are portable and affordable.

We love living in Northern California, and we know you’re going to love living here too. Get ready for your best year yet!