Sandy beach
Hike-in Required
Snorkeling / SCUBA
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Located three miles west of Santa Cruz in Wilder Ranch State Park lies this aptly named secluded sandy beach. It’s a bit of a trek to get there, and it is typically accessed by hiking along the Ohlone Bluffs Trail. Because of the hike in, this beach remains one of the more secluded in the area, and it’s known for being clothing-optional. Currents are known to be very strong along these beaches, so use caution when venturing out into the water.

To ge there, park at the Three Mile Beach Trailhead near 3050 Coast Road off Highway 1, but because of the limited number of spaces, visitors can also get there by parking near Four Mile Beach and hiking in from the north. Regardless of the direction you come into Three Mile Beach, you'll want to keep an eye out for a small steep footpath off the Ohlone Bluffs trail that heads down to the beach. Beward of poison oak as it grows rampat along California's central coast.

Dolphins and migrating whales are often spotted offshore, and exploring the main part of Wilder Ranch is a worthy day trip for those interested in some local history. The park was formerly a dairy ranch throughout the 1800s, and many of the original structures have been preserved. Wilder Ranch also offers excellent mountain biking opportunities.

Logistics + Planning



Parking Pass

Not Required


Secluded beach. Access via state park trails.


Often foggy. Poison oak around. No dogs allowed.


Whale watching
Bird watching



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