"Playa" is Spanish for beach and the city of Mazatlan, on Mexico's Pacific coast, is packed with fantastic sandy beaches to enjoy. The beaches range from peaceful, shallow water for families to excellent spots for surfing. This article takes a look at each of the area's beaches so that travelers can pick the ones that will make their vacation paradisiac.

More to know About Mazatlan

Mazatlan is in the province of Sinaloa. It is just across the Gulf of California from Cabo San Lucas, on the tip of Baja California. Getting to Mazatlan is easy--it's just a two-and-a-half-hour flight from LAX. In addition to some gorgeous beaches, the city also boasts the "malecón," one of the world's longest waterfront walkways (11 miles), a fantastic aquarium (where you can swim with sharks!!!), and a beautiful historic center. As if that weren't enough, Mazatlan has won the World Travel Award for "Leading City Destination" in Mexico and Central America in 2021, 2020, and 2019. Best of all, this Mexican beach destination is not expensive; according to Booking.com, a suite with a kitchenette for a family of four can cost as little as $300US for a week.

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Best Family Beaches In Mazatlan

Little ones know how to enjoy the beach--it must be programmed into them at birth. Kids love playing in the sand, making sandcastles, chasing waves, and looking for seashells at any beach. They let out squeals of joy when they see the strange creatures that live in tidepools like the ones at Playa Los Pinos. It's not always easy to find a good beach for kids to play in the water, though. Waves and undertows are dangerous. Mazatlan's Playa Isla De La Piedra (Stone Island) is a fantastic beach with shallow water for the whole family.

Playa Los Pinos

Los Pinos is a fun beach to visit with kids at low tide. The pools and puddles left by the ocean are thriving with life. Little ones will be thrilled to see crabs going about their business, prickly sea urchins, and starfish.

"The sea in that part is full of underwater rocks, where there are sea urchins, sea snakes, and other species," wrote Jorge Plaza in his Google review of Los Pinos.

Los Pinos has something for everyone. Beginning and intermediate surfers will find waves fitting their levels. Fishermen can easily cast off of the rocky outcroppings. Anyone there early in the morning can buy recently fished seafood. If they're not in the mood to cook it themselves, vendors also offer fish-on-a-stick which is one of Mazatlan's favorite street foods.

Playa Isla De La Piedra

Joaquin Rangel V. wrote this about Playa Isla De La Piedra in his Google review: "Quiet beach ideal for the whole family, you can eat in a variety of restaurants under the palapas facing the sea, there are street food vendors, a banana ride, good fresh fish and live band music. To get there you have to take the boat at the pier that is at the entrance of the lighthouse hill...Do not forget to try the zarandeado fish, very good."

What Rangel didn't mention were the gently sloping, sandy beaches that provide up to four meters of shallow water for kids to safely splash around in. This beach is widely considered Mazatlan's best since a tongue of land protects it from harsh waves and the open ocean. Often, Stone Island Beach is less crowded since beachgoers have to take a boat to get there.

Best Beaches For Surfing in mazatlan

Mazatlan is well known among surfers for its waves. Several agencies offer surfing lessons and rent surfboards to visitors. The most famous beaches for this aquatic sport are Playa Olas Altas and Playa Bruja.

Playa Olas Altas

The name of this beach translates to "high waves" and surfers love it. Even people who don't know how to surf love visiting this sandy stretch to sit down under one of the palapas to enjoy some seafood and watch surfers ride the waves.

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Playa Bruja and Cerritos

People say that the name of this beach, "bruja" or "witch" comes from rituals that female witchdoctors used to perform there. The truth of this legend is unknown, but surfers and bodyboarders flock here when the waves are high.

These beaches also have soft beautiful sand for laying down to get a suntan and it's not hard to find seashells there, but the water is too choppy to go swimming in.

Best Beaches For Seashells in Mazatlan

Mazatlan has some beautiful seashells that naturally wash up on its beaches. People can see the creatures that make these shells at the aquarium or visit "Museo de Conchas." This shell museum displays and sells an incredible range of treasures fished from the sea. Beachcombers looking for their own shells should head to the beach nearest the shell shop, called Playa Gaviotas, and its neighbor Playa Camarones. Both of these beaches are in the "Golden Zone" where most of the resorts and hotels are located.

Visitors who aren't sure which beach they want to visit should stroll along the Malecon or beachfront walkway. This will lead them past several beaches and they'll find top-notch restaurants lining the way. It's best to walk the Malecon early in the morning or in the evening when it's cooler. Imagine a warm evening stroll, the sound of waves gentling lapping in the background. Then, a stop at a colorful waterfront restaurant. Time slips by for the patrons seated outside, sipping their "cervezas" and eating shrimp. The sun begins to set and the sky turns scarlet and orange. This is a moment of unforgettable delight.

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