In a recent blog post about California’s hot vacation spots, a student asked if there are any parks such as state or national parks with mountains and beaches. I surveyed the list of nine National Parks in California, my best bet for finding this type of geology and landform, and guess what? I realized that though the “mountains” at these beaches are somewhat small (in fact they call them islands), you could consider several of the Channel Islands National Parks somewhat mountainous as their cliffs drop to the sea, with hardly a beach. One that specifically comes to mind is Anacapa Island, the Galapagos of the Pacific. To mount this majestic, island with scant beaches, you must depart a boat and climb a near vertical set of stairs leading to the plateau where seagulls find a nesting home. Tourists with strong stomachs (the hour-long boat ride gets a little bumpy and can make you sick if you aren’t prepared), have daily opportunities to visit this gem from Oxnard, the other Hollywood, as we see it. And though you can rough it and camp overnight on this small island (ideal for kayakers and explorers, but not so great for pampered travelers with kids), our very favorite beach resort in all of California, Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach, offers sand beaches, views of the islands, made-to-order all inclusive breakfasts, swimming, sand volleball, rentals bikes and paradise.