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Friday, January 19, 2007

Top California Beaches with FREE Wifi - Google Maps Mashup

Yesterday, I read a post on Geek About "Top 10 Beaches with WiFi access" which was a slightly different spin on a Wired article by Marty Graham from earlier this month. While I found the information somewhat interesting, it was not particularly all that useful to me for a couple of reasons.

  1. No actual or approximate locations were given where the WiFi access could be found. Cities such as Buenos Aires, Argentina are what I would call rather expansive.
  2. No mention on whether the WiFi access was free. Especially important if you are either a) cheap, like me or b) never know which provider you will run into.

I can related to both authors, as I always have my laptop with me while traveling -- if for nothing else to capture my pictures from my Canon Powershot G7 and send a couple of photos to family and friends.

That being said, I present a more targeted Google Mashup (sorry for the iFrame) of the Top California Beaches with FREE WiFi access and the approximate locations in those beach cities where you should be able to get the access close to the water. Do not forget your Panasonic Toughbook, else sand and laptops may not mix. For a larger map, without the embed -- please click here.

And finally, yes the list is central and southern California heavy -- no bias intended.

Avila Beach, CA
Avila Beach lies in a bay formed by Point San Luis, which leads to a pleasant climate and warmer ocean compared to other beaches on the Central Coast. Average temperatures vary little during the year, ranging from the 40s to 60s Fahrenheit from November through April, and from the 50s to 70s from May through September. Average annual rainfall is 18 inches. Along with much of the California coast, winter is the wet season, with more than 70% of the yearly rain falling from December through March, while summer brings drought conditions.
WiFi: Mr. Ricks, On the Boardwalk

Hermosa Beach, CA
Hermosa means beautiful and that it is—flat, sandy, miles long—ideal for sunbathing, volleyball and surfing. Hermosa has one-and-a-half miles of the prettiest, cleanest beach in Southern California. It’s only 15 blocks from east to west and 40 blocks from north to south with the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH to the locals) running down the middle. Situated right on the Pacific Ocean, Hermosa's average temperature is 70 degrees in the summer and 55 degrees in the winter. Gentle westerly sea breezes take the edge off what can be high summertime temperatures in Los Angeles and elsewhere in the county. The same breezes help keep the smog away 360 days of the year.
WiFi: On the beach

Huntington Beach, CA
It is known for its long 14 km (8.5 miles) beach, mild climate, and excellent surfing. The waves are a unique natural effect caused by edge-diffraction of ocean swells by the island of Catalina, and waves from distant hurricanes. Because of the curve of the coastline at Huntington Beach, the local beach actually faces southwest. In summer, the southwest-facing beach often has very strong surf from hurricanes off the Mexican coast.
WiFi: Irby Park

Laguna Beach, CA
Located on the beautiful California Riviera in South Orange County, California, Laguna Beach is a picturesque seaside city with a village atmosphere. An artist colony, Laguna’s many art gallery’s and art festivals attract visitors year round and make Laguna a wonderful place to work and do business. The World renown Pageant of the Masters, Festival of the Arts, Art-A-Fair and Sawdust Festival not only showcase fine art but are the heartbeat of Laguna as the canyon, the historic town’s restaurants, shops and gallery’s and it’s Main Beach bustle with excitement.
WiFi: Diedrich Coffee - 180 N Coast Hwy

Long Beach, CA
Downtown Long Beach (as seen to the right) has been showcasing Long Beach as a First Class City within California. The R.M.S. Queen Mary has been located in Long Beach since her retirement in 1967 and now serves as a hotel, convention center, and tourist attraction. The Aquarium of the Pacific, a world-class research facility, is a popular tourist destination. Long Beach also has the largest municipally owned marina in the country with 3,400 slips. Downtown Long Beach also offers cruises to Catalina Island, restaurant and club nightlife, promenade development, and festival entertainment.
WiFi: Pine Ave, beginning at Ocean Blvd.

Malibu, CA
The City of Malibu is a 27-mile strip of Pacific coastline; a beachfront community famous for its warm, sandy beaches, and for being the home of countless movie stars and others associated with the Southern California entertainment industries. Most Malibu residents live within a few hundred yards of Pacific Coast Highway (California State Route 1), which traverses the city; the city is also bounded (more or less) by Topanga Canyon to the east, the Santa Monica Mountains to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the south, and Ventura County to the west. Its beaches include Surfrider Beach, Zuma Beach, Malibu State Beach and Topanga State Beach; its neighboring parks include Malibu Creek State Park and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
WiFi: Malibu Lagoon, Malibu State Park

Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach, incorporated in 1906, is a city in Orange County, California, 10 miles south of downtown Santa Ana. The Current OMB metropolitan designation for Newport Beach and the Orange County Area is Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 70,032. The area code for Newport Beach is 949. The city is home to several well known communities and recent annexations including Balboa Island, Corona del Mar, San Joaquin Hills, and Newport Coast.
WiFi: Newport Beach Walk, 2214 West Ocean Front

Oceanside, CA
Welcome to Oceanside! The Oceanside Chamber of Commerce cordially invites you to step inside our spectacular beachfront community. Centrally located in the heart of the beautiful Southern California coastline, Oceanside is among the region's best places to escape the hustle and bustle of the crowded cities. Considered the gateway between metropolitan San Diego and Los Angeles, our near-perfect climate invites visitors to revel and relax at the 3.5 miles of white sandy beaches Oceanside offers. Step back in time by visiting the historic Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, the "King of the Missions", and Heritage Park. Whatever your preference, recreational opportunities in Oceanside compliment every lifestyle.
WiFi: Oceanside Public Library - S Coast Highway at Pier View Way

Pismo Beach, CA
Pismo offers long white beaches for a pleasant stroll or for just enjoying the spectacular views of the Pismo Beach sunset. Prefer a more active vacation? You can golf, hit the dunes for four-wheeling ATV's, horseback riding, surfing, body boarding, or fishing from our 1200-foot pier. Watch spectacular sunsets from our award-winning boardwalk adjacent to the pier. Shop at the Pismo Beach Prime Outlets.
WiFi: Pismo Coast Village RV, Pismo Galleria and Pierside Seafood Coverage over all of Pismo Beach, the Pier, and most of down town.

Redondo Beach, CA
The city's primary attraction is its Municipal Pier, which is claimed to be one of the longest piers in North America. Its nicknames are the "Endless Pier" and "Horseshoe Pier" and is moderately popular with both tourists and fishermen. However, the pier's length is possible only because of its unusual shape (it does not go straight out to sea, but goes out diagonally and then returns to shore). The Redondo Beach Pier started as a reinforced concrete structure in 1914, then was replaced in 1928 with a timber pier. In 1988, the pier was severely battered by storms and later that year burned to the waterline (the fire was so large that a SigAlert was announced for the San Diego Freeway several miles away). The pier's modern reinforced concrete version was completed in 1996, and has brought back the appeal to Redondo Beach's business district ever since.
WiFi: Redondo Beach Public Library - 303 N Pacific Coast Hwy

Seal Beach, CA
The second-longest pier in California is located in Seal Beach and is used for fishing and sightseeing. There is also a restaurant (Ruby's) at the end of the pier. The pier has periodically suffered severe damage due to storms and other mishaps, requiring extensive reconstruction. A plaque at the pier's entrance memorializes Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, 1938, Project No. Calif. 1723-F, a rebuilding necessitated by storms in 1935. Another plaque honors the individuals, businesses, and groups who helped rebuild the pier after a storm on March 2, 1983, tore away several sections. Most prominent was a "Save the Pier" group formed in response to an initial vote by the City Council not to repair the pier. The ensuing outcry of dismay among residents caused the City Council to reverse its stance while claiming the city lacked the necessary funds. Residents mobilized and eventually raised $2.3 million from private and public donors to rebuild the pier.
WiFi: Main Street Hot Zone

Credits: Wikipedia, Chamber of Commerce Sites,

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keith said...

Nice idea - it's a shame the map isn't bigger and easier to use. I was wondering why all these spots are only in Southern California.

Ken Hanscom said...

both are very good points. In terms of the map, still dealing with blogger integration issues, but you're right. Secondly, the research I did -- I could not find any free WiFi location in northern California locations near the beach. This included locations like Santa Cruz and Monterey among others!

Anonymous said...

I am currently in Oceanside staying at a condo right on the beach. i booted up my latop and viola, a free wifi connection. the ssid is "Free Public WiFi".

Unfortunately, after connecting, i launched by browser and it would not connect to the internet. if anyone can explain why, please post here.

some info on the connection:
IP Address:
Speed: 11.0 Mbps
MAC addr: 00:18:DE:38:04:D7
supported data rates: 1,2, 5.5, 11
radio freq: 2.457 GHz
channel no. 10
Network Authentication: Open
Data Encryption: None
802.11 Authentication Type: None
801.11 Authentication Protocol: None
CCX Version: 4.0.0
Manadatory Access Point: None

please send me an email to if you have any ideas. i'd like to connect without going over to the library.

Randy Johnson

Anonymous said...

Joe Momma's Coffee )http:// in Avila Beach also has free Wi-Fi (as well as fabulous espresso and breathtaking views of the ocean.)