As a child my family spent many days escaping the Ojai summer heat at Rincon Beach. Rincon beach is one of the few beaches along our coastline that has wide sandy beaches with a feeling of seclusion as they back up to a cliffy hillside. Whether you take the long winding stairs or gradual ramp down, it can be a bit of a trek with beach gear in tow. The effort is well worth while. There have been few times that I have been at this beach that I have felt crowded as there is seemingly endless amounts of sand to spread out on.
A trail to the north of this beach winds along the bluffs overlooking the Santa Barbara Channel of the mighty Pacific Ocean. From this trail, one is able to look down on the Carpinteria Harbor Seal preserve where a steward spends their days monitoring the seals and seal disturbances while kindly and directly asking visitors to avoid disturbing these resting pinnipeds. On a clear day, looking past the offshore oil rigs you may spot several of the Channel Islands from this trail. Those visible will include Anacapa, Santa Cruz, and Santa Rosa. To the south of Rincon beach is a popular surf break as well as the beginning of a bike trail that will take you for a leisurely ride to Ventura or a more strenuous up-hill ride to Ojai.
Our summer trips to the beach during my childhood involved many hours playing in the waves and building sand castles. Depending on the timing of the high and low tide, we would almost always spend an hour or two exploring the tide pools at the south point of Rincon Beach just above the surf break. Here we would see a multitude of ocean life including sea stars, sea anemone, crabs, octopus, juvenile leopard shark, sea snails, small fish, various bivalves, and birds awaiting an easy bite to eat.
It was days like these and experiencing the ocean in this up-close and personal way that piqued my childhood imagination and wonder giving me a thirst to learn more about the natural world. To this day, this is still my favorite beach to visit in southern California.