Sandy beach
Hike-in Required
Snorkeling / SCUBA
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Short Beach is a wonderfully secluded and serene cove that is nestled near the idyllic seaside community of Oceanside, just north of Three Arches National Wildlife Refuge. The beach is named for Short Creek, which has a mouth at the south end; while not expansive, Short Beach isn't named for its size, either. After making your way down the eclectic, locally-built wooden staircase, enjoy all of what this secluded beach has to offer. Hunt for sea shells, fly a kite, relax with a picnic on the beach’s sandy shore, or break out the binoculars for a glimpse of the seabirds at Three Arches. Also, consider wading to look for marine life on the rock outcroppings, home to the giant green anemone, purple starfish, California mussels, acorn barnacles, ribbed limpets and goose barnacles.

Note:  The sandy shore at Short Beach isn't exposed until low tide, so if you are visiting at high tide, prepare for a pebbly beach.

Logistics + Planning



Parking Pass

Not Required


Relatively secluded beach. Great tidepools.


Only a small, pebbly shore at high tide.


Tide pools
Tide pools



Picturesque and secluded beach. Had greater success agate hunting at Oceanside beach, but was here at high tide. Heavy runoff from recent storms made "waterfall" from drainage spout very impressive, but crossing the stream below was a bit tricky.
Short Sands and the Oceanside area can make for a great coast trip with dramatic weather.
This short (haha) beach seems almost tucked away in a nook on a seemingly lesser traveled stretch of coast. But it's still beautiful!
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