Panther Beach, CA – Plan your trip today !

Ever since I moved to California from DC metro area, Santa Cruz has been the most frequented place for all the fun reasons. Santa Cruz Triathlon and swimming around the wharf at Cowell beach are one of the top reasons why I end up in Santa Cruz. I have ridden by bike through this dramatic landscape 100s of times and it’s been long pending to stop and enjoy Panther Beach for a change.

After all Panther beach is known for the sandy beach north of Santa Cruz near Davenport, CA.

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Panther Beach, CA – Plan your trip today !

Panther Beach is part of the Coast Dairies State Park. During the low tide another beach called Hole-In-The-Wall becomes accessible through an opening in the rock wall on the south end of Beach. Hole in the wall beach is known for being “Clothing Optional” beach, even Panther beach for that matter.

Panther Beach, CA

Panther Beach Address

It’s basically located right off of Hwy 1 near Davenport, CA. Here is the exact point on the map.

How to get down to panther beach ?

Once you reach the spot as mentioned in the map above, park your car along the edge of the parking lot and walk down to the railroad tracks. You will see a Coast Dairies State Park sign. And the sign to Panther beach trailhead marked that takes you down to the beach.

This is a narrow and steep trail to go down and back up. So, be careful and watch your steps.

Panther beach high tide and low tide

To access some sections of the beach, you would want to go there during the low tide times. Plan ahead by reading the tide timings.

Panther Beach, CA

Can you swim at Panther beach ?

Not if you don’t want to risk your life. Seriously though, the current here is really strong with big surf and the last thing you want is to swim here. If you are looking for other places to swim, check out the less intimidating Cowell Beach at Santa Cruz only 10-miles south of Panther.

Can you camp in Panther beach ?

Nope and Don’t. Beach camping here is definitely not a good idea and not allowed, as the cops often patrol the area. Also high tides are guaranteed to dampen your tent and all your belongings.

More legit options for camping near Panther beach are New Brighton beach in Capitola or Davenport landing beach for a real deal beach camping experience.

Panther Beach, CA

Is alcohol allowed at Panther Beach ?

Absolutely NO.

Is bonfire allowed at Panther Beach ?

Nope. Don’t bother attempting as the cops are around because of UCSC students attempting to do such things.

Is Panther beach dog friendly ?

Dogs are not allowed at this beach. It is really unsafe for your dogs to be around in the areas of potential high and rip currents. Why even bother risking ? Plus it’s illegal to take your fido to this beach. If you are looking for legitimate dog friendly beaches, check out Half Moon Bay. 

Panther Beach Bouldering and climbing

One of the common activities to do in Panther beach is bouldering and climbing on the arches and cliffs. These are some of the very beginner friendly bouldering activities to do with friends and family.

Learn about Panther beach bouldering and other bay area bouldering here.

Panther Beach, CA

Panther beach Hole in the Wall

During the low tide time, through the arch, one can reach this twin beach Hole in the Wall. Both the beaches Panther and Hold in the Wall are Optional Clothing / nude beaches.

Panther Beach Tunnel

Yellow Bank Creek that curves through the sand and the man-made tunnel through the bluff wall. The creek enters the cove through this tunnel.

Panther Beach, CA

Panther Beach Surfing

Well, I have to admit, I am not a surfer. So, I have no clue on if it’s a great spot to surf or not. However, when I visited, I have seen people surfing. Here is a thread on what people think about Panther beach surfing. 

Things to know about Panther beach and Hole in the Wall beach

  • There are no facilities at these beaches such as rest room or drinking water access.
  • It can be really hot during a hot summer day and there is no natural shade besides some rock formation holes and the arch. So, plan accordingly and take an umbrella.
  • Don’t be deceived by the sunny weather. It can become foggy very quickly, especially in the mornings in the summer.  Check the weather conditions before you go.
  • Respect people’s clothing choices

Panther Beach, CA

Panther beach view is pretty cool from the top of the ridges too. Park the car near the railway track and just walk along the ridge to pick your favorite view point.

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