If crowds at Seacliff and Rio Del Mar State Beach are getting you down, just continue down Beach Street to find the small and enjoyable Platforms Beach. The parking can be a challenge because the area is largely residential, though you may find free parking below some eucalyptus trees; otherwise, you'll have to pay to park in the designated area. The beach has clean restrooms and a foot shower. There are relatively few fire pits on the beach, so be sure to grab one early if you plan to enjoy a fire later in the day. A long stretch of beach extends to Rio Del Mar State Beach, so finding your own space is never an issue. The stretch of coast between Platforms and New Brighton State Beach is excellent for watching passing wildlife. You are almost guaranteed to see seagulls, pelicans, and sea lions throughout the year; however, the area is also a great bet for gray whale sightings during the spring and early summer migrations.