The California coastline is beautiful. It is rugged and rocky in the north and smooth sandy beaches in the south. A few weekends ago, I decided to take a mental health day and a drive down the coast to Asilomar State Beach. I packed a gluten-free lunch, stopped to buy an iced coffee, and I was on my way.
Asilomar is “a state park is located on 107 acres of state beach and conference grounds, within the quaint and scenic town of Pacific Grove, California.” I was in a beach mood, so I only explored the coastline and not the conference center or the dune trails.
The rugged coastline and low tide made for a perfect day of tide pool exploration. These little pools are teeming with sea creatures from crabs to mollusks to anemones. I felt like a little kid as I hopped pool to pool looking for life.
The lack of surfers (too rocky near the coast) and the rugged terrain made parts of the beach look deserted which is my favorite way to explore. At times, I felt like an explorer on a faraway, oceanic planet. No one for miles but me. (Not really, but a girl can pretend!)
After a few hours of exploring, I pulled up on to a quiet part of the beach for a picnic. I had packed a sandwich made on Franz gluten-free bread and brought some chips to crunch on after lunch. If you go to Pacific Grove but forget to pack lunch, there is a Trader Joe’s (1170 Forest Ave. Pacific Grove) right on the way to the beach. They have a lot of pre-made salads that are completely gluten-free as well as plenty of other gluten-free items like meats, cheeses, and fruits that can easily be made into a beach-side lunch.
After lunch, I decided to walk along the 2-mile Coast Trail before hopping back into the car. One important thing to remember when walking and exploring at Asilomar is that it a Marine Reserve. This means “All marine resources, animals and features (including shells and rocks) are protected. No collecting or fishing is allowed.” Please look but leave all critters and gorgeous shells behind!
If you are looking to grab some grub before or after your day at the beach, I would recommend making the short drive to nearby Monterey to eat and shop. Just follow the coastline and you will weave your way past Lover’s Point and then finally wind up in Monterey.
If you are a seafood lover, you will be in heaven here! My gluten-free recommendations are to come. In the meantime, I would recommend using FindMeGlutenFree or Yelp to look for gluten-free recommendations in Pacific Grove and Monterey. Do you, dear readers, have any gluten-free food recommendations? I would love to read your comments below.