While ‘up north’ the land is firmly in winter’s grip, here in beautiful Puerto Peñasco the sun shines and the sea breezes caress the sand. Winter temperatures here are considered mild by most, “chilly” by some, but compared to, say, Flagstaff, we are balmy. Since only the hardy brave the waters swimming, paddling in kayaks or small boats, many winter visitors busy themselves with shopping, dining, golf, and other land-based opportunities.

If you have come to Peñasco to relax, don’t golf, are ‘shopped out’ or otherwise looking for something different to do, then I’d like to recommend beach combing. Strolling along our beaches has a rhythm all its own, and if you’re the type who likes solitude as well as tranquility then this is your happy place.  While walking Sandy Beach from condo tower to condo tower can be a great way to get some exercise, going farther out to some of the lesser known and traveled beaches and beach communities can bring the solitude and adventure you might seek.

Laguna del Mar, north of Sandy Beach, has a wide expanse of pristine beach just waiting to be explored. Or take a walk from Manny’s in either direction for a beach with a different look. Going south and east toward the estuaries and the beach communities of Las Conchas, Playa Encanto, Playa La Jolla, Playa Dorada, Play Miramar or even as far as Bahia San Jorge can be an exhilarating way to spend a day. Checking out the tidal estuaries is a different thing to do as well. Visiting the oyster farms and having some fresh, prepared oysters is a treat too!

While the beaches all have one thing in common (sand), the textures and shorelines carved by the Sea of Cortez tidal exchanges are different for each. The less traveled beaches offer up a wealth of shells and other treasures deposited by the restless sea. Although some detritus, washed ashore from the shrimp boats, will no doubt be found, it does not mar the beauty and tranquility to be found on these beaches.

At the very least, a day of beach combing any of the aforementioned beaches, will result in your having had great exercise and more than likely you’ll come back with a favorite seashell or two (or four…or…), a turtle shell (Bahia San Jorge), or some other keepsake.

If this sounds like a good way to relax here in our town, then make your plans before setting off. Be sure to bring a hat and the sunscreen, because even though the air temperature might seem cool, the sun is still shining. Also, pack some water and any snacks you might want (make sure you take the wrappers and debris with you when you leave, please). Remember too, that these beaches, while publicly accessible, are also home to many people. Please be respectful. So…welcome to the beach!