Sunday, December 09, 2012

Oceano Sand Dunes

Images of Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area
The Oceano Sand Dunes is the second largest dune system in California, next to Glamis Sand Dunes. The Oceano Sand Dunes extend from South Luis Obispo County to North Santa Barbara County. We have not really explored very well this sand dune system in Oceano because of the weather on our first visit ( first day of our Big Sur thanksgiving vacation), and because of limited time on our second visit (last day of our vacation ). 
First day of our thanksgiving vacation, we drove North from San Diego to Morro Bay ( stop-over destination to avoid the longer drive to Big Sur and to explore places South of Big Sur that we often passed by but did not explore ). Before hitting Morro Bay, we stopped by the Oceano Sand Dunes which is South of Morro Bay. It was heavily raining during our drive, but we were lucky and blessed enough that rain stopped when we got to Oceano Sand Dunes. 
Boardwalk that Crosses Oso Flaco Lake to the Sand Dunes ( this photo by hubby )

I relied on the GPS for navigation, there were several options when I typed in Oceano Sand Dunes, and I chose the one which says "Oceano Dunes State Natural Reserve". The GPS led us to the Oso Flaco Lake trailhead's parking lot. Frankly, I was surprised when we got there, since this was the first sand dune we've been that is right next to a very green vegetation. I thought it would not be as interesting as the desert sand dunes we've been to, such as the Death Valley Sand Dunes, Kelso Sand Dunes, Glamis Sand Dunes and Coral Pink Sand Dunes ( I just realized I haven't written about Coral Pink Sand Dunes yet, I am so far behind in sharing our vacation experiences ). Despite we do not see the full beauty of sand dunes at the parking lot, we decided to take the 1 mile trail to the beach that passes by the sand dunes.
Oso Flaco Lake ( can you see the sand dune next to it? )
The trail started on a wooded area, and then, after a while, we had to take a left turn which led us to Oso Flaco lake (above picture). Oso Flaco lake was such a pleasant surprise for us, since we never know about it! :) We thought we are going to a sand dune next to the beach, but we did not know it is also next to a lake with a lot of birds! Because of very low light ( still stormy skies), and not having a zoom lens ( thinking we will be seeing only landscape scenery of the dunes ), we were not able to take pictures of wildlife in the lake. The lake was filled with so many different birds, it was such a sight seeing such diversity. I took a landscape picture instead of the lake with these birds and there were also a lot of them on the trees. Wish we had more time for bird watching and had brought the right lens with enough light to take them picture.  
Blue Sky and Ripples on the Sand
After crossing the lake, the tall trees disappeared giving way to short shrubs and a few tall trees. Luckily for us, when we reached the sand dunes part, the sky cleared giving way for a blue sky. I was not expecting anymore to see ripples on the sand because of heavy rain, as that was our experience with Coral Pink Sand Dunes. 
Smooth curves @ the dunes 
Sand Dune Next to the Sea ( and lake )
 Looking East
 Beach, Sand Dune, Mountain and a relaxed Wanderer
 That's Me :) ( this photo by hubby )
The Beach Below ( photo by hubby )
If it was too quiet at the sand dunes next to Oso Flaco Lake, with a feeling of having the beach and the sand dune all too ourselves, it was the opposite at the Northern part, which we very briefly explored on our last day of vacation, before driving back to San Diego. 
 A Biker @ the Beach
 If we were exploring on foot at the Oso Flaco Lake area, in the Northern part, we drove our car to the beach! Of course, we just did not drive deep enough to the sand dunes because that part is probably most appropriate for ATV's. 
In the picture above, it looks like the ATVs were that close to the beach, but actually, it is kind of deceiving since they weren't really that close because in this part of California, it seems people are abandoning the beach for the sand! :) See me below running towards the beach where it feels like no one else was there! :)

Me again :) ( photo by hubby )
For more information about Oceano Sand Dunes and how to get here, please visit the state park site at:
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  1. wow! i have never been to a sand dune. is it very hot there? and the sky is so clear. and you're running to the beach when people are heading to the sand? ;-)

  2. hahahaha weeeeeeee love that joyful photo of yours Betchai! never been to a sand dune too and wishing I could! love love love all the blue skies here and somehow I wish I could have seen the birds too :) love the collage and the boardwalk shot by Khai...:)

  3. That looks like a desert.

    I would like to see some camels.

  4. Your photos are so nice to see, and they make me want to plan for a vacation to just explore..Although I am in Santa Barbara, I haven't exploring much accept for areas closer to home.

  5. wow..what a fantastic place for vacation! I like it when there are few people around. Beautiful images by both of you!

  6. ✿✿°•.
    Fotos super lindas!
    Natureza é sempre linda!

    Bom domingo!
    Boa semana!

  7. We love to visit the sand dunes here in Florida. Some are protected though and you can't get close to them, others are not. Lovely pictures too!

  8. Very beautiful pictures. When my son was at Cal Poly, and my forensic nursing buddies and I were attending a conference at the Cliffs in Shell Beach, we went to Morro Bay for the weekend after. Didn't walk on the sand dunes but really enjoyed the beautiful scenery and good restaurants in the area.