Just about every dirt road heading west from Todos Santos  ends at the beach. But few of them are paved or signed, which means you may be in for an adventure when you try to find a particular spot along the coast. Ask for directions before you set out and remember that routes often shift a little with each successive season of rain—and with ongoing road construction.
With the exception of Los Cerritos near El Pescadero and sometimes Playa Las Palmas/San Pedrito , beaches near Todos Santos are not swimmable because of strong currents, heavy surf, and rocky bottoms. (The exception may be in summer, when the swell subsides for long periods of time.) Plan to sunbathe, fish, stroll the beach, or surf, but save the splashing around for the pool.
Starting south of town, local fishing boats launch out of Punta Lobos, marked by a rocky point and sea lion colony on the south side of a sandy cove. The pangas return to shore around 3 P.M.; watch the captains time the waves so that they can safely run the boats onto the beach. You can often buy fresh catch directly from the pangueros. If you walk north along the beach, past the lighthouse, you’ll reach Playa Las Pocitas and Playa La Cachora.
The signed access road to Punta Lobos leaves Mexico 19 about two kilometers south of Todos Santos at Km. 54. As you near the beach, you’ll see the ruins of an old turtle cannery. To walk to Punta Lobos from town (20–30 minutes each way), follow Calle Pedrajo southwest one long block to a wide dirt road. Turn left and follow this road until you can see the lighthouse on your right; take the next dirt road west to Punta Lobos.
Between Punta Lobos and Playa San Pedrito, an old port bound by cliffs was used in the early 20th century to ship fresh produce, sugarcane, and canned fish. Climb (carefully) out to the old pier or to the summit above it for some of the most memorable views. You can swim here, but pay attention to currents and tides.
The access road to this secluded bay is rough and steep in parts. Turn off Mexico 19 toward Punta Lobos and turn left when you pass the cannery ruins (before the beach). You probably won’t be able to make it all the way to the port. Alternatively, leave your car at Punta Lobos; it will take about an hour to get there by foot.
Local outfitters, including Todos Santos Eco Adventures and La Sirena Eco-Adventures, sometimes lead cliff walks here if you prefer to have a guide.
Bird-watchers rejoice in this freshwater lagoon located west of the huerta and south of La Cachora road—and just beyond the tide line. With dunes in front and palms behind, La Poza provides ideal habitat for a long list of birds, including pelicans, herons, egrets, gulls, frigate birds, ibis, ducks, cormorants, sandpipers, and stilts. The beach in front of the lagoon is called Playa Las Pocitas, and it meets Playa La Cachora to the north, where La Cachora road meets the coast.
A word of warning: The lagoon appears to be shallow but is in fact very deep. Most of the time it is separated from the ocean by a high sand dune; however, the dune occasionally breaks in large swells, and when this happens, a trickle of water out of the lagoon can turn into a towering wall of water almost instantly. Unsuspecting visitors have drowned in these situations. Stay back from the water’s edge and monitor the wave patterns at all times.
To reach the beaches and the lagoon from downtown, start on Calle Topete near the Galería de Todos Santos and follow it north, down a small hill and around to the west, across the orchard. Turn left at the first sand road, which comes immediately before a low rock wall. If you start going uphill and pass La Esquina restaurant on your left, you’ve gone too far. La Cachora road heads west to the beach, passing a few homes and an inn or two along the way.
A steep and rocky path also skirts to La Poza to the south. Turn southwest off Degollado (Mexico 19) onto Calle Olachea or Calle Carrillo and follow the blue and white signs to Posada La Poza. Park along the road (not in the spots that are reserved for guests of the inn) and walk to the end of the road, where the short trail begins.
If you skip the turnoff to La Cachora and drive past the rock wall up the small hill, you’ll find yourself in the otro lado (other side) of Todos Santos, with yet more beaches at the end of unnamed dirt roads and a few housing developments in various states of completion. Follow this coastal road about 5.6 kilometers farther northwest to a wide arroyo that leads to a sandy beach. Resist the urge to drive all the way up onto the sand to check the surf from your car. Chances are you will get stuck. The break is a right point in a northwest swell and occasionally also a beach break in a south swell.
If you’re up for some serious off-road exploration, continue north along the coastal road. After Playa La Pastora, the road veers east and reaches a T, from which you can turn right to get back to Mexico 19 or turn left to continue northwest more or less parallel to the coast. At Rancho los Inocentes (57 km from La Pastora), you can once again head inland (straight) to rejoin Mexico 1 north of La Paz (29 km from Rancho los Inocentes) or turn left to stay on the coast. This road eventually reaches Punta Márquez (24 km north of Rancho el Tomate) and Punta Conejo (18 km north of Punta Márquez), two well-known points for surfing. This entire stretch of the Pacific coast is lined with sandy beaches and, in winter, surfable breaks on a succession of reefs and points. You can camp anywhere along the shore—just be sure to bring all your supplies, as the nearest commercial outposts are a long drive away.