California is one of the most beautiful states, offering ocean views that can create the ultimate running experience. Runners flock to the coastline to enjoy rich scenery and the opportunity to run alongside the ocean. With ample trails, bike paths, and pristine weather, it's a one-of-a-kind spot that’s perfect for year-round running. Plan your next trip to the Golden State and put one of these 10 unique running spots on your list of things to do for a blissful on-foot adventure.
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San Francisco is full of runners, and with good reason. With lower temperatures, an ample amount of trails, and frequent visits by Karl the Fog, it’s perfect for running. A great place to start is Golden Gate Park. Its mixed-pavement course takes you on a scenic loop featuring lakes, ponds, and a flower conservatory. Another great location is the Golden Gate Bridge, of course. The adjoining Crissy Field offers a great starting point and you can actually run across the entire Golden Gate Bridge and back.
This town is a sleepy gem with a boardwalk located right on the sand. The Long Beach Bike Path is often overlooked, but it offers an incredible on-the-beach option and stretches over eight miles out and back. With sunny weather even in the winter, it’s a great place to get in a long run. The bike path is cement and there is ample room for both runners and bikers. Another great spot for running nearby is El Dorado Park, which features both a nature trail and two large shaded parks.
With scenic views no matter which way you run, this is one of the prime running spots along the California coast. The 17-mile drive offers some of the most beautiful views, and jagged rocks meet you as you feel like you are literally on the edge of the world. A great route is the Asilomar Beach to Bird Rock Run, which is a 10-mile out-and-back run. Another amazing perk of this route? You’re almost always running along the ocean!
You may spot your favorite celebrity along this Los Angeles route. This coastal bike path is always chock-full of runners, bikers, and skaters, so stay alert to those around you. Stop by the famous Muscle Beach for a break and folks working out. Want to travel some of the same route as the LA Marathon? Head out to San Vicente Blvd, a 10-mile round-trip run on the grassy median or sidewalk that many runners enjoy.
San Luis Obispo
Another jewel just 15 minutes from the coast, this town offers the best of both worlds with mountains and ocean views on almost every trail you run on. The Headlands Trail in Harmony Headlands State Park offers a coastal feel that heads towards ocean bluffs. With benches along the way, it’s good for both intermediate and advanced runners.
The entire Carmel area seems like a fairytale, with views and cottages dotting a coastline that has inspired artists for years. With natural beauty everywhere you look, this area is full of serene running paths that overlook white, sandy beaches. With the ocean lapping along the shore, this small town is a great location for a long, relaxing run.
A bit of a different view than the miles of coastline, Napa can offer beautiful views of vineyards, hillsides, and, of course, wineries! Check out The Silverado Trail to run past well-known wineries and rows and rows of grapes. You’ll be running along the shoulder of the road so be alert to cars passing by.
With perfect weather and great views no matter where you turn, San Diego makes for another scenic running location. Mission Bay offers a meandering shoreline with an easily accessible bike path perfect for any mileage you would like to put in. With the entire 12 miles being flat, you can go as far as you want and not have to worry about cars. Another great location with many running trails is Balboa Park, which offers 16 incredibly unique gardens.
Another sleepy seaside town, Santa Barbara offers incredible views and amazing homes along the coast. Want to head to a place that’s a little different? Take a run to the unique Gaviota Wind Caves in Gaviota State Park. These caves are located a mile from the ocean and offer both mountain and ocean views. An interesting sandstone feature, the run is 2.5 miles round-trip, has a slight elevation gain, and the trail is usually empty.
Griffith Park offers thousands of acres for those located in Los Angeles, with areas for picnics, running, and hiking. With over 53 miles of roads, dirt trails, and paths, this area is great for all types of runners and hikers. Get more information on all the trails located in this huge park at the ranger station.