Coastal California

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Map of counties commonly seen as constituting coastal California. Coastal California Map.svg
Map of counties commonly seen as constituting coastal California.

Coastal California, also known as the California Coastline and the Golden Coast, refers to the coastal regions of the U.S. state of California. The term is not primarily geographical as it also describes an area distinguished by cultural, economic and political attributes.



The Three Arch Bay gated community along the coastline of Laguna Beach, Orange County Three Arch Bay Photo Taken by pilot D Ramey Logan.jpg
The Three Arch Bay gated community along the coastline of Laguna Beach, Orange County

The area includes the North Coast, San Francisco Bay Area, Central Coast, and South Coast. The coastline is slowly eroding due to natural processes and potentially accelerated by climate change, though much more slowly in other places in the United States. In the last 100 years, the water line has risen less than 6 in (150 mm) along the coast of California. In the next 100 years, the water is expected to surge as much as 9 ft (2.7 m), bringing into question the fate of the many million dollar homes settled right on the edge of the sea. [1] [2]


Coastal California is heavily influenced by east–west distances to the cold California Current (dominated by it) and microclimates due to hills and coast ranges, having strong ecological effects, summer and winter temperatures other than occasional heat waves are heavily moderated by ocean currents and fog with strong Seasonal lags compared to interior valleys as little as 10 mi (16 km) away. Point Conception tends to divide the Coastal region by mid-summer into warmer (south and east) and cooler zones (north). Peak and often intense heat tends to arrive in September much later than the rest of the nation or state. Over time, droughts and wildfires have increased in frequency and become less seasonal and more year-round, further straining the region's water security. [3] [4] [5]


Refugio State Beach near Gaviota, Santa Barbara County Surfers south of Gaviota, California.jpg
Refugio State Beach near Gaviota, Santa Barbara County
Monterey Bay shoreline, Pacific Grove, Monterey County Monterey Bay Seascape.jpg
Monterey Bay shoreline, Pacific Grove, Monterey County
Ocean Beach, San Francisco Ocean Beach San Francisco aerial view.jpg
Ocean Beach, San Francisco

The counties commonly seen as constituting coastal California are:

South Coast
Central Coast
San Francisco Bay Area
North Coast


During the 2000 Census, roughly a third of households had incomes exceeding $75,000, compared to 17.6% in the Central Valley [6] and 22.5% at the national average. [7] While the area has always been relatively expensive, when compared to inland regions and the national average, the recent[ when? ] real estate boom has left it as the most expensive housing market in the nation. An October 2004 CNN Money publication found that a 2,200-square-foot (200 m2) home in a "middle management neighborhood" would cost an average of $1.8 million. [8]

See also

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">California</span> U.S. state

California is a state in the Western United States. California borders Oregon to the north, Nevada and Arizona to the east, the Mexican state of Baja California to the south; and has a coastline along the Pacific Ocean to the west. With nearly 39.2 million residents across a total area of approximately 163,696 square miles (423,970 km2), it is the most populous and the third-largest U.S. state by area. It is also the most populated subnational entity in North America and the 34th most populous in the world. The Greater Los Angeles area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions respectively, with the former having more than 18.7 million residents and the latter having over 9.6 million. Sacramento is the state's capital, while Los Angeles is the most populous city in the state and the second most populous city in the country. Los Angeles County is the country's most populous, while San Bernardino County is the largest county by area in the country. San Francisco, which is both a city and a county, is the second most densely populated major city in the country and the fifth most densely populated county in the country.

San Francisco Peninsula Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area

The San Francisco Peninsula is a peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area that separates San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. On its northern tip is the City and County of San Francisco. Its southern base is in northern Santa Clara County, including the cities of Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, Mountain View, and Los Altos. Most of the Peninsula is occupied by San Mateo County, between San Francisco and Santa Clara counties, and including the cities and towns of Atherton, Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Colma, Daly City, East Palo Alto, El Granada, Foster City, Hillsborough, Half Moon Bay, La Honda, Loma Mar, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Mountain View, Pacifica, Palo Alto, Pescadero, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco, Sunnyvale, and Woodside.

Geography of California Overview of the geography of California

California is a U.S. state on the western coast of North America. Covering an area of 163,696 sq mi (423,970 km2), California is among the most geographically diverse states. The Sierra Nevada, the fertile farmlands of the Central Valley, and the arid Mojave Desert of the south are some of the major geographic features of this U.S. state. It is home to some of the world's most exceptional trees: the tallest, most massive, and oldest. It is also home to both the highest and lowest points in the 48 contiguous states. The state is generally divided into Northern and Southern California, although the boundary between the two is not well defined. San Francisco is decidedly a Northern California city and Los Angeles likewise a Southern California one, but areas in between do not often share their confidence in geographic identity. The US Geological Survey defines the geographic center of the state at a point near North Fork, California.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">California State Route 1</span> State highway in California, United States

State Route 1 (SR 1) is a major north–south state highway that runs along most of the Pacific coastline of the U.S. state of California. At a total of just over 656 miles (1,056 km), it is the longest state route in California, and the second-longest in the US after Montana Highway 200. SR 1 has several portions designated as either Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), Cabrillo Highway, Shoreline Highway, or Coast Highway. Its southern terminus is at Interstate 5 (I-5) near Dana Point in Orange County and its northern terminus is at U.S. Route 101 (US 101) near Leggett in Mendocino County. SR 1 also at times runs concurrently with US 101, most notably through a 54-mile (87 km) stretch in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, and across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Santa Ana winds Weather phenomenon in Southern California where warm, dry air from the interior is forced out to sea

The Santa Ana winds ) are strong, extremely dry downslope winds that originate inland and affect coastal Southern California and northern Baja California. They originate from cool, dry high-pressure air masses in the Great Basin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Greater Los Angeles</span> Large urban area centered around the city of Los Angeles in California, United States

Greater Los Angeles is the second-largest metropolitan region in the United States with a population of 18.5 million as of 2021, encompassing five counties in southern California extending from Ventura County in the west to San Bernardino County and Riverside County in the east, with Los Angeles County in the center and Orange County to the southeast. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Los Angeles–Anaheim–Riverside combined statistical area covers 33,954 square miles (87,940 km2), making it the largest metropolitan region in the United States by land area. Of this, the contiguous urban area is 2,281 square miles (5,910 km2), the remainder mostly consisting of mountain and desert areas. In addition to being the nexus of the global entertainment industry, Greater Los Angeles is also an important center of international trade, education, media, business, tourism, technology, and sports. It is the 3rd largest metropolitan area by nominal GDP in the world with an economy exceeding $1 trillion in output.

Santa Cruz County, California County in California, United States

Santa Cruz County, officially the County of Santa Cruz, is a county on the Pacific coast of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2020 census, the population was 270,861. The county seat is Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz County comprises the Santa Cruz–Watsonville, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area. The county is on the California Central Coast, south of the San Francisco Bay Area region. The county forms the northern coast of the Monterey Bay, with Monterey County forming the southern coast.

Northern California American geographic and cultural region

Northern California is a geographic and cultural region that generally comprises the northern portion of the U.S. state of California. Spanning the state's northernmost 48 counties, its main population centers include the San Francisco Bay Area, the Greater Sacramento area, the Redding, California area south of the Cascade Range, and the Metropolitan Fresno area. Northern California also contains redwood forests, along with most of the Sierra Nevada, including Yosemite Valley and part of Lake Tahoe, Mount Shasta, and most of the Central Valley, one of the world's most productive agricultural regions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Central Coast (California)</span> Region in California, United States

The Central Coast is an area of California, roughly spanning the coastal region between Point Mugu and Monterey Bay. It lies northwest of Los Angeles County and south of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, and includes the rugged, undeveloped stretch of coastline known as Big Sur. From south to north, there are six counties that make up the Central Coast: Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz.

Central California Region of California in the United States

Central California is generally thought of as the middle third of the state, north of Southern California, which includes Los Angeles, and south of Northern California, which includes San Francisco. It includes the northern portion of the San Joaquin Valley, part of the Central Coast, the central hills of the California Coast Ranges and the foothills and mountain areas of the central Sierra Nevada.

Economy of California Overview of the economy of the State of California

The economy of the State of California is the largest in the United States, with a $3.4 trillion gross state product (GSP) as of 2021. It is the largest sub-national economy in the world. If California were a sovereign nation (2022), it would rank as the world's fifth largest economy, behind Germany and ahead of India. Additionally, California's Silicon Valley is home to some of the world's most valuable technology companies, including Apple, Alphabet, and Meta Platforms. In total, over 10% of Fortune 1000 companies were based in California in 2018, the most of any state.

The California State Coastal Conservancy is a state agency in California established in 1976 to enhance coastal resources and public access to the coast. The CSCC is part of the California Natural Resources Agency.

California Coast Ranges Mountain range

The Coast Ranges of California span 400 miles (644 km) from Del Norte or Humboldt County, California, south to Santa Barbara County. The other three coastal California mountain ranges are the Transverse Ranges, Peninsular Ranges and the Klamath Mountains.

California Coastal National Monument All islets, reefs and rock outcroppings

The California Coastal National Monument is located along the entire coastline of the U.S. state of California. This monument ensures the protection of all islets, reefs and rock outcroppings along the coast of California within 12 nautical miles (22 km) of shore along the entire 840-mile (1,350 km) long coastline. Conservative estimates are for at least 20,000 such outcroppings. The monument was created by Bill Clinton via Presidential proclamation on January 11, 2000, with the authority in section two of the Antiquities Act of 1906. As of 2014, the monument has expanded to 2,272 acres (919 ha). The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior that manages the monument, has developed gateways in cooperation with other agencies along the California coast to introduce the monument to the public. These include the Trinidad, Point Arena, Fort Bragg-Mendocino, Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Piedras Blancas State Marine Reserve and Marine Conservation Area, and the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Although being the most-viewed national monument in California, people are usually unaware that the entire coastline is a national monument.

2007 California wildfires

The 2007 California wildfire season saw at least 9,093 separate wildfires that charred 1,520,362 acres (6,152.69 km2) of land. Thirty of those wildfires were part of the Fall 2007 California firestorm, which burned approximately 972,147 acres of land from Santa Barbara County to the U.S.–Mexico border. At the peak of the wildfire activity in October 2007, the raging wildfires were visible from space.

2008 California wildfires

The 2008 California wildfire season was one of the most devastating since the turn of the 21st Century. While 6,255 fires occurred, about two-thirds as many as in 2007, the total area exceeded that of the previous years, far exceeding the total area of each year prior to 2007. Throughout the year, 1,593,690 acres (6,449.4 km2) of land were burned.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Climate of Los Angeles</span> Overview of the climate of Los Angeles

The climate of Los Angeles is mild to hot year-round, and mostly dry. It is classified as a Mediterranean climate, which is a type of dry subtropical climate. It is characterized by seasonal changes in rainfall—with a dry summer and a winter rainy season. Under the modified Köppen climate classification, the coastal areas are classified as Csb, and the inland areas as Csa.

California coastal sage and chaparral Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub ecoregion in Mexico and the United States

The California coastal sage and chaparral is a Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub ecoregion located in southwestern California and northwestern Baja California (Mexico). It is part of the larger California chaparral and woodlands ecoregion.

Geography of southern California Overview of the geography of southern California

The geography of southern California refers to the geography of southern California in the United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2022 California wildfires</span> An overview of major wildfires in California during the year 2022

The 2022 California wildfire season is an ongoing series of wildfires burning throughout the U.S. state of California. As of 28 August 2022, a total of 5,657 fires have been recorded, totaling approximately 198,797 acres (80,450 ha) across the state. The 2022 season follows the 2020 and 2021 California wildfire seasons, which had the highest and second-highest (respectively) numbers of acres burned in the historical record.


  1. Xia, Rosanna (July 7, 2019). "The California coast is disappearing under the rising sea. Our choices are grim" . Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  2. Milman, Oliver (October 11, 2018). "Sinking Santa Cruz: climate change threatens famed California beach town". The Guardian. Retrieved 2020-02-04.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. . Retrieved November 20, 2021.{{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. Boxall, Bettina; St. John, Paige (November 10, 2018). "California's most destructive wildfire should not have come as a surprise". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  5. "Advancing Drought Science and Preparedness across the Nation". National Integrated Drought Information System. Archived from the original on November 11, 2018. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  6. "Stanford University, income in California" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-14. Retrieved 2007-05-28.
  7. "US Census Bureau, US household income". Archived from the original on 2007-06-21. Retrieved 2007-05-28.
  8. "CNN Money, housing markets" . Retrieved 2007-05-28.

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