Garbage, Sunset Cliffs
How to get there: Park in the lot at Ladera St and Cornish Dr and follow the worn path down the cliff, which follows the drainage pipe. There is a rope that helps people down the steep bluff, so make the walk carefully. There's also a staircase north of the parking lot, but that's way less fun than rappelling via the rope.
Garbage is perhaps the toughest place on here to get to, but it’s also one of the most scenic. It’s slightly protected by the kelp beds, so wind isn’t a major issue, and a nice channel makes for an easy paddle-out. It’s not that great on smaller days when there's some swell -- it draws a crowd quickly. As for the name? Very misleading, unless you count the hippie trash all over the bluffs.
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Ellen Wright is a freelancer at Thrillist who grew up surfing North County and hates a paddle battle as much as the next guy. Tweet her the beaches she missed: @PacificPolished.