21 Best Beaches in California

The Golden State has more than 800 miles of coastline, so there is certainly no shortage of beautiful beaches.

California offers a wide variety of beaches to please all different beachgoers, from the wild to the surfer-friendly and manicured.

And by highlighting the top beaches in California, we are assisting you in having a rocking seaside vacation right here.

  1. Malibu

This Los Angeles County city is well-known for its celebrity residents and 21-mile stretch, making it the ideal destination for sun-seeking tourists.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Some of California’s top beaches are present in Malibu.

Malibu ensures to satisfy your craving for the beach, whether you are looking for sunny thrills or a peaceful getaway.

Visit Zuma Beach, Puerco Beach, and Point Dume State Beach for a beautiful ocean trip in Malibu.

Expert Tip

The best seasons to visit Malibu are fall and spring, with little chance of heavy rain and clear skies.

Meanwhile, the best months for surfing are September to November.

  1. Laguna Beach

This beachfront resort city in south Orange County draws tourists with its blooming arts scene and lovely beaches.

Why We Recommend This Beach

There is no doubt that Laguna Beach will mesmerize you with its beautiful coves.

This city, though relatively small, offers some captivating beaches, including Victoria Beach, Thousand Steps Beach, and Victoria Beach.

In addition, the city is home to numerous outstanding hotels and artistic exhibits.

Expert Tip

Use the city’s trolley to save on the cost of transport.

This trolley will take you to the city’s eight beaches and coastal parks at everyone’s favorite price of zero dollars.

It is open every day during the summer and on weekends.

  1. Pfeiffer Beach

You will find the striking purple sand and this hidden gem in Big Sur.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Are you looking for Instagram-worthy California beaches?

Put this beach at the top of your list to experience amazing things in California as a favor to yourself.

This beach has a long beachfront covered with gorgeous rock formations, towering cliffs, and full of breathtaking scenery.

Did we also mention that Pfeiffer Keyhole Rock, a popular photo location, is located there?

Expert Tip

Sunset viewing at Pfeiffer Keyhole Rock will leave you enthralled.

Remember to bring a jacket because it might get windy at the beach.

  1. Coronado Beach

This expansive stretch of beach near San Diego stretches for 1.5 miles with dazzling golden sands.

Why We Recommend This Beach

One of California’s most well-liked and ideal beaches for families is Coronado.

It is the area’s safest beach for children due to its calm seas and low waves.

Additionally, the beach is home to outstanding sunset views and dazzling sands.

Expert Tip

Reserving the historic Hotel del Coronado can make your beach vacation more memorable.

This resort, located right on the gorgeous shore, combines splendor from the Golden Age with idyllic charm.

  1. Crystal Cove State Park

This 3,936-acre state park has been open since 1979 and has 3 miles of outstanding beaches.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Crystal Cove State Park provides a beautiful natural getaway with its many beaches and tide pools.

Additionally, the park has more than 17 miles of great hiking paths.

Expert Tip

Visit Pelican Point and Moro Beach to enjoy the best beaches in the park.

  1. Carmel Beach

This mile-long retreat, located on the state’s Central Coast, is excellent for playing and relaxing.

Why We Recommend This Beach

This stretch of coastline is among California’s most beautiful due to its turquoise waves and white sand beachfront.

After admiring the shore’s beauty, you can travel to Carmel town to explore its shops and local restaurants.

Expert Tip

A gorgeous spot to visit at night is the Carmel.

So, stay till evening to witness its magnificent sunset.

  1. Natural Bridges State Beach

This 65-acre state park in Santa Cruz will inspire your inner photographer with its scenic natural beauty.

Why We Recommend This Beach

A fantastic must-see in California is Natural Bridges State Beach.

This beach will make you feel good with its breathtaking geological structures and pleasant atmosphere.

Also, it has a preserve that serves as a monarch butterfly sanctuary.

Expert Tip

Do not miss the chance to observe its beautiful and famous arch rock.

Visit it around sunset for even more picturesque views.

  1. La Jolla

This hilly, beachside area is found in San Diego and stretches 7 miles along the Pacific Ocean coast.

Why We Recommend This Beach

San Diego’s most attractive neighborhood offers a beautiful coastline and a variety of adventurous things.

With its warm, pristine, and peaceful seas, La Jolla Shores, the region’s main beach, is also the best beach for swimming in California.

Expert Tip

By hiking the paths of the Torrey Pines Gliderport or Torrey Pines State Park, you can add some spice to your beach vacation.

  1. Point Reyes National Seashore

This park preserve, located on the Point Reyes Peninsula, has 71,028 acres and was established in 1962.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Point Reyes is a top destination for outdoor adventures with its secluded scenery, diverse wildlife, and beautiful paths.

Of course, it has fantastic beaches like Drakes Beach and Great Beach with stunning views of cliffs and bluffs.

Expert Tip

In this area, you do not allow to swim due to the persistent rip currents and the icy cold waters.

But there are lots of ways the park can keep you entertained.

For instance, you can take in its natural magnificence, participate in a program guided by a ranger, and explore its picture-perfect paths.

  1. Hermosa Beach

This seaside Los Angeles County community is a jewel of California because it is home to approximately 90 acres of public beaches.

Why We Recommend This Beach

All types of beachgoers will indeed be satisfied at Hermosa.

This city offers seaside bliss whether you are in the mood for surfing, relaxing, or touring.

These beaches also have many facilities, including volleyball courts, showers, and restrooms.

Expert Tip

Visit the Strand, the city’s coastal boardwalk, and the 1,140-foot-long Hermosa Beach Pier.

These locations are lively and full of amenities, offering spectacular sunset views.

  1. East Beach

East Beach is Santa Barbara’s best oceanfront, with free parking and spotless sands.

Why We Recommend This Beach

The undeniable star of Santa Barbara’s glamorous beaches is East Beach.

The beach is an excellent destination for families with younger children due to its calm waters and expansive shore.

Also, it provides a variety of activities, such as beach volleyball.

Expert Tip

After a day of swimming and tanning nonstop, relax in the adjacent seaside park.

Then, go to Stearns Wharf to take in the breathtaking views of the beaches and mountains surrounding it.

  1. Manhattan Beach

This South Bay city is a haven for shopping, sunbathing, and surfing, located 20 miles from Los Angeles.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Manhattan is an easy option if you want to avoid the crowds at Santa Monica and Venice Beach.

Not to mention, the beaches there have sands that are just as soft as Hawaiian beaches.

The best part is that several water sports are available, such as paddle boarding, kayaking, and surfing.

Expert Tip

Make your way to the city’s lovely downtown to take a break from the salty and sunny fun.

When you arrive, take a pleasant long stroll through the area and stop at Nick’s Manhattan Beach or Fishing With Dynamite for a meal.

  1. Santa Monica Beach

Despite being only three miles long, this favorite state beach is a pack of activities for everyone.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Without this world-famous strip, no list of the best beaches in California is complete.

This sunny stretch of California has attracted tourists for years because of its legendary sunsets, vivid beach, and classy pier.

Expert Tip

You can cycle the area’s bike paths and feel the lively atmosphere of the beach.

Surfing, tanning, and beach volleyball are among the activities with which you might engage.

Then, ride the roller coaster on the pier and enjoy the stunning sunset to round off a great day.

  1. Pismo Beach

This waterfront city, situated between Los Angeles and San Francisco, amazes visitors with its fascinating surrounding landscape.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Pismo Beach is the perfect medicine for your hectic lifestyle.

Even though there is not much to do here, the peaceful atmosphere and beautiful scenery will refresh your spirit.

From jagged seaside cliffs to dunes, this city will leave you in awe of its natural wonders.

Expert Tip

Take advantage of the area’s ideal weather by pitching a tent at a lovely campground.

Furthermore, camping is a great alternative to avoid the high bills of hotels.

  1. Catalina Island

This hideaway is located about 21 miles off the coast of Southern California and is a part of the Channel Islands.

Why We Recommend This Beach

This island is ideal for seclusion and solitude because it can only be approachable by high-speed ferry or private plane.

This island will give you an unforgettable trip because of its spectacular sunsets, white sand beaches, and swaying palm trees.

Expert Tip

Visit Descanso Beach for a paddle boarding or kayaking activity to add adventure to your trip.

You might also visit the Catalina Island Conservancy for a thrilling jeep trip.

  1. Monterey

Monterey Bay’s southern end, this city on the central coast, was first founded in 1770.

Why We Recommend This Beach

There aren’t many swimming holes and shorelines in Monterey.

But guess what?

It has jaw-droppingly beautiful seaside scenery.

Fort Ord Dunes State Park, offering 4 miles of peaceful beaches and breathtaking, towering dunes, is a must-visit in this area.

Expert Tip

Drive the 17-mile Drive or Ocean View Boulevard for a lovely road trip.

Along these roads, you will pass by small beaches whose stunning beauty will take your breath away.

The Lovers Point Park and Beach are one of our favorites in this area.

  1. Huntington Beach

“Surf City,” located between the Pacific and Highway One, is often chosen as one of America’s top beach destinations.

Why We Recommend This Beach

With its sandy shores, classic boardwalk, and million-dollar views, Huntington Beach offers an unforgettable coastal experience in Southern California.

The beach offers active tourists plenty of surfing, swimming, and beach sports options.

Expert Tip

Enjoy a hearty and tasty breakfast at Sugar Shack Cafe to get your day off to the perfect start.

This family-run restaurant, which is downtown, will satisfy your appetite with its French toast and breakfast burritos.

  1. Half Moon Bay

This coastal city, 25 miles from San Francisco, has many exceptional beaches.

Why We Recommend This Beach

You can find the large and magnificent beaches in Half Moon Bay, which will captivate tourists of all types.

You can spend weeks exploring fantastic hideaways in Half Moon Bay, including Francis Beach, Dunes Beach, Tunitas Creek, Martins, and Cowell Ranch.

Expert Tip

Do you want to take in the area’s countless gorgeous views?

Go on a hiking adventure along the California Coastal Trail for yourself.

  1. El Matador State Beach

This state beach is Malibu’s best-kept secret and is home to stunning rocks, birds, and sea caves.

Why We Recommend This Beach

This state beach feels utterly different from Malibu’s luxurious hotels because of its rugged coastline and low-key atmosphere.

The gorgeous seaside caverns, numerous tide pools, and hidden beauty of this beach will enchant you as you explore it.

Expert Tip

El Matador is a section of the Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach situated along the Pacific Coast Highway.

Also, you will find two more pocket beaches and lovely shorelines if you drive a little further away from the beach.

  1. Santa Cruz

This beautiful coastal city, located in west-central California, has 29 miles of magnificent beaches.

Why We Recommend This Beach

With its relaxed and beautiful beaches, Santa Cruz attracts tourists looking for sun and photographers.

Experience the city like a local by taking things slow and visiting famous beaches like Main Beach and Pleasant Point for a relaxing getaway.

Expert Tip

The Seymour Marine Discovery Center offers close-up views of marine life for a small fee.

But at Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf, you may see some wildlife—like sea lions and birds—without spending a thing.

  1. Newport Beach

This coastal city is well-known for its constant surf and top-notch beaches and stretches for 10 miles along Orange County’s coastline.

Why We Recommend This Beach

Some of California’s top beaches are present in Newport.

Its popular beachfront locations, such as Newport Municipal Beach and Corona del Mar State Beach, attract millions of tourists yearly.

You will love the Wedge in Newport Beach if you are a professional surfer.

Expert Tip

Avoid staying in coastal lodgings and stay inland to save money on accommodations.

However, a beachfront hotel’s oceanfront views are magnificent, but it will be costly.