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Looking for a quiet, idyllic piece of ocean? Smith River, California, just south of the Oregon border is the place.

Smith River is a beach generally overlooked and bypassed as people head for the more popular ones in Oregon. Take advantage of that, as this stretch of sand is isolated most of the time.

This beach is gorgeous with a beautiful mixture of white sand and fabulously colored rocks. Rock hounds may find it impossible to watch waves, when so many uniquely shaped and brightly hued stones are underfoot. It is hard to leave them on the beach; inspections make one want more knowledge of geology.

But, when the visitor does look up from the rock temptations, the beach takes your breath away. It goes for uninterrupted miles. It is possible to walk into the neighboring state several miles away.

Weathered driftwood litters the sand in all sizes and forms. One particular log has been shaped by tides into a nearly perfect bench. From this perch, a picnic seems mandatory.

The water changes throughout the day from gray to crystalline green turquoise. As part of the “banana belt” it is pleasantly warm and perfect for wading.

Rocky Beach

Rocky Beach at Smith River


Best of all, it is usually deserted, save the occasional local resident.

Smith River enjoys a Mediterranean climate. Summer months are predictably warm, sunny and dry. Winter brings enormous amounts of rain and wind and winter storms are legendary in this area. Many people flock to watch nature’s mighty power. Again, the majority of storm watchers head to the bigger towns with more tourist amenities, leaving this beach alone with the elements.

There are several campgrounds for both RV’s and tents along Smith River beach. Prices vary from site to site. The little hamlet of Smith River, CA has one ocean front hotel, the Ship to Shore, with an adjoining restaurant.

Seagull at Smith River

Seagull at Smith River

This is an unhurried, laid back community that is used to traffic passing through. For the traveler wanting to slow down and enjoy the surroundings, it does not get better than Smith River.

This area of paradise is found on Highway 101 just south of the Oregon border. It’s the best possible place for a lazy, relaxing getaway.