17 Best Beaches in Southern California

If you’re looking for a beach with some heart, look no further than Southern California. The beaches are just as beautiful as the weather in this country, and plenty of public spots offer amenities like showers and bathrooms. If you’re unsure what’s up next once you get there, we’ve got the 17 best beaches in Southern California for your next getaway!

  1. El Matador Beach — Malibu

El Matador Beach is a great beach to visit in Malibu. It’s a beautiful, secluded area of the ocean that offers its visitors plenty of opportunities for relaxation and recreation. It’s also a trendy spot for surfing, so you can expect to see tons of people on the waves—but don’t let this deter you from enjoying your time at this beautiful public beach!

El Matador Beach has everything from hiking trails along its cliffs to picnic areas with blankets (and even fire pits) where you can enjoy some shaded food & drink while watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

  1. Santa Monica Beach — Santa Monica

Santa Monica Beach is famous for swimming, surfing, and other beach activities in California. The beach is known for its vibrant atmosphere and many attractions. It’s popular destination for locals and tourists, who come here to enjoy the beautiful scenery and weather.

The beach is also known for its beautiful sunsets and views. There are many restaurants and amusement parks nearby where visitors can dine and enjoy the idea of the ocean. The beach is very popular with locals, who come here to surf and bodyboard. Lifeguards are on duty from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., so swimmers can feel safe when enjoying the water.

  1. Zuma Beach — Malibu

Zuma Beach is a famous beach on the Pacific Coast in Malibu, California, United States. Zuma Beach is renowned for surfing, swimming, and other water sports.

Zuma has been called “the best surfing spot on Earth” by Surfer Magazine and “the Mecca for surfers” by Robert Rodriguez’s production company El Rey Network.

It sits within Santa Monica Bay at an elevation of 3 feet (1 m), making it accessible from land via hiking trails or staircases connecting to sandy points along its length. The beach is often called as “one of the best places to catch waves off Southern California”.

  1. La Jolla Cove — San Diego

La Jolla Cove is a famous beach in San Diego. It’s a great place to swim, picnic, scuba dive, and walk. You can find La Jolla Cove at the southern end of Mission Bay Park, which is accessible by car or public transportation.

The cove is home to sea lions, often seen basking in the sun on the rocks near the water. You can also catch boats and other marine life in the water. To get to the cove, park in the lot near the corner of Calumet and La Jolla Cove Drive. Cross through a tunnel and walk down a paved path lined with trees until it opens onto the beach.

  1. Manhattan State Beach — Manhattan Beach

Manhattan State Beach is a public beach located in Manhattan Beach, California. The beach has been described as the “best-kept” on the southern California coast by popular travel websites such as TripAdvisor. The sandy beach is at the end of Pacific Coast Highway, which also serves as its main entry point for visitors driving down from Los Angeles or Long Beach to get there.

The park offers lifeguards during the summer months and has restrooms, parking lots, and showers, picnic tables along with grills that you can use if you want to cook up some food while enjoying your day at this gorgeous spot!

  1. Coronado Beach — Coronado

Coronado Beach is located in Coronado, CA, and is one of the most popular beaches in California. The public beach has been known for its beautiful views since the mid-1800s.

The beach extends over five miles along a peninsula that juts into San Diego Bay. It’s also home to some great sandstone cliffs that make it worth visiting if you’re looking for somewhere quiet with stunning views over San Diego Bay or up towards Point Loma (where there are several historical ships). There are plenty of other activities available, from camping at nearby Camp Pendleton Marine Base Campground to surfing right on the shore!

  1. 1000 Steps Beach — Laguna

If you’re longing for a great spot to go for a hike, picnic, or swim in Laguna Beach, then 1000 Steps Beach Laguna is worth visiting. This beach is one of the fantastic beaches on the Southern California coast and has many amenities, including:

  • Hiking trails are accessible from both sides of the beach (there are also several parking spots available near each trailhead)
  • A concession stand with snacks and drinks
  • Changing rooms with showers and restrooms


  1. Venice Beach — Los Angeles

Venice Beach is known to everyone in Los Angeles, and it’s easy to see why. The city’s largest park has been transformed into a vibrant hub of activity with dozens of restaurants, shops and even an art gallery.

If you love street performers like in New York City or London, Venice Beach is the place for you! You’ll find musicians playing on the boardwalk while people watch from their chairs or blankets—and if they get too busy with their acts, they might join in themselves!

Venice Beach also offers excellent opportunities like skateboarding or rollerblading along its shoreline, biking and rollerblading around town (although there are restrictions regarding these activities).

  1. Newport Beach — Newport

Newport Beach is the place to go if you’re looking for a famous beach with tourists. The city is in the territories of Orange County and is known for its beautiful beaches, great weather and surfing culture.

Newport Beach has several public parks where you can swim or play volleyball with friends or family. You can get kayaks for rent or stand-up paddleboards from several companies at these parks! For those who want more adventure on their trip, plenty of activities are available, like surfing or diving lessons!

  1. Windansea Beach — San Diego

Windansea Beach is located in La Jolla, California and is a popular surfing spot. This beach attracts surfers from all over the world because it has excellent waves and consistent surf conditions.

Windansea Beach also offers swimming and sunbathing opportunities for its visitors. If you’re excited about something more relaxing than surfing or swimming, consider taking some time to enjoy the beautiful scenery around this beach. You can also relax on their large sand volleyball courts or bring your blanket to camp wherever you’d like! Windansea Beach is a great place for bird watching because there are numerous bird species that you can witness here year round!

  1. Huntington State Beach — Huntington

Huntington Beach is situated in Orange County, California, United States. It’s the most populous beach city in the territories of Orange County and the second most populous city in Orange County, behind Santa Ana. Huntington Beach is also home to Bolsa Chica State Beach, a popular spot for surfing and fishing. The Huntington Beach Pier hosts the annual Fourth of July fireworks show.

Huntington Beach is located on Main Street just south of Pacific Coast Highway (known locally as “PCH”) for its numerous surf shops and restaurants. In addition to its surfing popularity, Huntington Beach is famous for its nightlife, with bars such as The Hangar and Casablanca Club downtown. Here you will find many restaurants, such as Bennigan’s Irish Pub & Restaurant or Kuma’s Corner, serving traditional Japanese dishes such as teriyaki chicken breast over rice with miso soup.

CNN Money Magazine’s annual list of “Best Places to Live” ranked Huntington Beach as one of America’s best places to retire. This ranking is based on metrics such as weather, crime rates and quality of life factors like education opportunities available to residents and cost-of-living expenses associated with living there (e.g., food).

  1. Catalina Island — Santa Catalina

Catalina Island is an ideal place to go for a day trip or longer. There are many places to visit on the island, including Avalon Harbor and Paddle Board Ranch, but one of the favourite things about Catalinas is their beach. It’s not as sandy as some other beaches in Southern California, but it has charm! A must-have opportunity at this beach is to take one of their tours around the island that will give you more insight into how they used their land before tourism became popular.

Another recommendation while visiting Catalina Island is walking along its coastline with your friends or family (or even solo). If you are tired of the traffic and all kind of city noises, this place will be heaven for you. This place is less crowded than others, so you will get some quality peacetime here and enjoy yourself.

  1. Hermosa Beach — Hermosa

Hermosa Beach is a beach city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. It is located in the South Bay region of the greater Los Angeles area and is one of the three Beach Cities. The city’s beach is famous for surfing, paddle boarding, sunbathing, beach volleyball, and swimming.

The neighbourhood’s name comes from Hermosa—Spanish for beautiful—and means “beautiful”. It was first given this name by Spanish sailors who first discovered it in 1769 when they saw its beautiful violet waters that resembled those seen on other islands nearby, thus giving rise to its current name, “Hermosa.”

  1. Crystal Cove State Park — Laguna

Crystal Cove State Park Laguna is a protected state park in Newport Beach, California. The park features two beaches: Crystal Cove Beach and Aliso Beach. There are hiking trails and campsites available at this beachfront spot.

The crystal clear water of Crystal Cove makes it one of the most popular destinations for swimmers looking to enjoy themselves by swimming or snorkelling among marine life found there. It’s also one of the oldest beaches in California; construction began on what would become known as “Crystal Cove” in 1877! While you’re there don’t forget to bring along your camera!

  1. Arroyo Burro County Beach Park — Santa Barbara

Arroyo Burro County Beach Park is located in Santa Barbara, California. The park is at the edge of a cliff and has scenic views of the Pacific Ocean and nearby mountains. It’s also one of the famous beaches in town for whale watching during the winter months (January through March).

The park has a spacious & trouble-free parking lot, bathrooms, and picnic tables where you can enjoy some fun activities with your family or friends this summer! There are many things to do here: you can surf, fish, or relax by the oceanfront sandbar; there are also playgrounds for kids who want to play on land instead of water!

  1. Mission Bay — San Diego

Mission Bay is an excellent place for water sports, dogs and kids. It’s also a popular spot for fishing, surfing and walking.

Mission Bay has many picnic areas where you can enjoy the beach with family and friends. If you want more than sitting on the sand all day, there are plenty of activities at Mission Bay! Numerous parks within minutes’ distance have ball fields or playgrounds, so you can bring your children along to play while they run around in the sun without worrying about them getting burned by hot rays from above (or below).

  1. Torrey Pines State Natural Preserve — San Diego

Torrey Pines State Natural Preserve is a 1,500-acre park with a beautiful beach. It is in San Diego, California, and it has been the official California state park since 1916. The preserve offers visitors unparalleled views of the Pacific Ocean from its southern tip to its high cliffs at the northern end of La Jolla Shores.

Torrey Pines State Natural Preserve is also home to many native plants and animals, including bald eagles, black bears and bobcats, and many birds, including osprey. These birds can be observed during their migration northward each year on their way back from nesting grounds in Mexico or further south throughout Central America.

If you want some exercise while enjoying nature, then hiking trails through this beautiful park will do the trick! Several easy hikes start from various points along Torrey Pines Road, which connects Highway 101 just south of Del Mar Beach Park down towards La Jolla Shores — perfect for families who love picnics too!

If you’re looking for some of the best beaches in California, look no further than these 17 sites. Every place has something exciting & valuable to offer, so pick your favourite and enjoy the sun!