Few coves on the California coast can boast as much beauty as Muir Beach (just south of the town of Muir Beach , www.nps.gov/goga , daily sunrise–sunset). From the overlook above Highway 1 to the edge of the ocean beyond the dunes, Muir Beach is a haven for both wildlife and beachcombers.
In the wintertime, beach-goers bundle up against the chill and walk the sands of the cove or along the many trails that spread out from the beach. If you’re lucky, you might find a Monterey pine tree filled with sleepy monarch butterflies, here to overwinter before making their long migration back north in the spring.
Springtime brings rare rays of sunshine to Muir Cove, and as the air grows (a little bit) warmer in summer, the north end of the cove attracts another breed of beach life: nudists. If the clothing-optional California lifestyle makes you uncomfortable, stick to the south side, the brackish Redwood Creek lagoon, and the wind-swept picnic grounds.