28 Best Beaches in California In 2023

28 Best Beaches in California In 2023


California’s Pacific Coast boasts 840 miles of shoreline making it the right place for a highway journey to get pleasure from its infinite stretches of sand. While many individuals can title just a few of its extra well-known seashores like Venice Beach, San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, or San Diego’s Coronado Beach, a few of the finest seashores in California are usually not actually recognized and subsequently much less busy.

So, to introduce you to some locations you could not know, here’s a round-up of the very best California Beaches that you simply already know and love, and a few lesser-known gems across the state.

Best California Beaches

best beaches in california

Beaches in California are nature’s unspoiled treasures they usually supply nice alternatives for solitude, wildlife watching, and gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean. We’ve lived in California for a 12 months, so we had sufficient time to find not solely the well-known touristy locations however some hidden gems, too. (This submit was initially written by Csaba & Bea of Our Wanders and has been up to date by The Planet D staff for 2023.)

1. Venice Beach – Los Angeles

best beaches in california venice beach

Venice Beach is positioned in Los Angeles County and is a kind of locations that’s recognized extra for its bohemian really feel than for the seaside itself.

Most individuals who go to Venice Beach stroll alongside the Venice Beach Boardwalk, taking in the road performers, watching the bodybuilders raise weights, and witnessing the numerous artists plying their commerce alongside this well-known stretch.

Venice Beach itself is beautiful so it’s no marvel it’s a favourite among the many locals in the world. Just a few of the issues that make it one in every of our favourite California seashores are the cool little retailers, nice cafes, and a few of the hippest espresso locations in L.A.

2. Manhattan Beach – Los Angeles

Best Beaches in California Manhattan Beach

There is a purpose that Manhattan Beach is likely one of the costliest locations to reside in Los Angeles. Situated completely on the Pacific Ocean, the large sandy seaside is comfortable and dotted with stunning homes, upscale eating places, stylish boutiques, and a few very costly lodges.

Weekends convey out crowds of individuals together with some fairly good seaside volleyball gamers. Manhattan Beach looks like an odd title for a seaside in California, but it surely was named after actual property developer Stewart Merrill who was from Manhattan New York.

It’s becoming that it’s named after a developer as a result of the true property alongside Manhattan Beach is spectacular with house promoting for as much as $36 million {dollars}

Being positioned so near downtown LA it’s a nice add-on to your day of visiting Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, or the Sunset Strip. Manhattan Beach is certainly one in every of our favourite southern California seashores. Read extra: 37 Best Things To Do In Los Angeles In 2023 – By A Local

3. Malibu

Best California Beaches Zuma beach Malibu

Zuma Beach

Malibu has a few of the most stunning seashores in California. Most individuals shall be aware of Zuma Beach, with its large sandy seaside that stretches for two miles. Dotted with seaside volleyball nets, lifeguard stands, and many services it’s no marvel this seaside is so in style.

Other seashores in the world like Paradise Beach, Point Dume State Beach, and Puerco Beach are smaller and supply a extra household ambiance than Zuma Beach.

If you’re up for one thing distinctive, ensure that to take a look at the Malibu Beach Inn which provides you the prospect to spend a night on the “Billionaires Beach” stretch of the coast. It might not be low cost but it surely offers you a glimpse into how the opposite half lives. Read extra about Malibu: 20 Best Things To Do In Malibu In 2023 By A Local

4. Huntington Beach – Orange County

Beaches in California Huntington Beach

Huntington State Beach has turn into fairly the vacation spot these days and for good purpose. Located in the town of Huntington Beach (nicknamed Surf City) it boasts a fantastic 2-mile-long sandy seaside that stretches from Beach Boulevard to the Santa Ana River Channel.

This seaside has some nice breaks for surfers. The Huntington Beach Pier is a superb place for leisurely stroll in addition to to attempt your hand at fishing.

Make certain to get to the tip and take a look at Ruby’s Surf City Diner for some nice views and good meals.

Make certain to go to downtown which has an important number of bars, fabulous eating places, ice cream retailers, and boutiques. Huntington Beach is a kind of locations that was made for a trip.

5. Newport Beach – Orange County

Beaches in California Newport Beach

With a whopping 10 miles of shoreline, Newport Beach is positioned in the well-known playground of the wealthy and delightful, Orange Country.

This southern California seaside group boasts 5 miles of golden sand reaching out from the Newport Pier.

Not solely do you’ve the lengthy sandy stretch of Newport Beach, however there are additionally loads of points of interest for the entire household together with Balboa Fun Zone amusement park, Lido Marina Village purchasing middle, and nice browsing.

6. Santa Monica Beach

Santa Monica best beaches in California

Santa Monica Beach is a spot for enjoyable in the solar. With the well-known Santa Monica Pier, Pacific Park amusement park and its Ferris wheel, and historic carousel, that is a kind of seashores in California that’s enjoyable for the entire household.

This California seaside group is house to the wealthy and well-known.

Head out to the Beach to benefit from the sand and solar, but in addition to discover the Santa Monica State Beach Park, mountaineering trails, purchasing alongside the Third Beach Preomenad, or biking alongside Marvin Braude Beach Trail.

Santa Monica Beach can also be house to wonderful browsing similar to so many seashores in California.

7. Santa Barbara

Best Beaches in California Santa Barbara
Sailing in Santa Barbara – East Beach

We by no means thought we’d have the chance to go to Santa Barbara however whereas working with California tourism on their advisory board, we had the prospect to spend a few days exploring the world.

Located on the Pacific Coast, there are many seashores to discover in Santa Barbara however it’s East Beach positioned proper in city that makes it particular.

Santa Barbara has many seashores. Known as The American Riviera, you’ll really feel like a millionaire strolling alongside its sandy shores as palm timber sway in the Pacific wind.

Visit Summerland Beach for horseback using, take a crusing journey, get pleasure from some kayaking alongside its shores or take in the gorgeous sundown at Hendry’s Beach.

8. Pfeiffer Beach – Big Sur

Best Beaches in California Pfeiffer Beach Big Sur

Located alongside the Pacific Coast Highway, Pfeiffer Beach is likely one of the most stunning settings in California.

Famous for its keyhole arch positioned offshore in the Pacific Ocean, Pfeiffer Beach is a fantastic lengthy sandy seaside recognized for its purple sand.

It’s slightly off the crushed path making it some of the secluded seashores in California. To get to Pfeiffer Beach, from Highway 1, take the second flip one mile south of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. It isn’t part of the State Park. drive down

There are tide swimming pools to be explored at low tide, excessive lookouts to view the infinite ocean, and rocks and bluffs. Read extra concerning the Pacific Coast Highway at Big Sur Road Trip – The Best Viewpoints

9. Coronado Beach – San Diego

Top Beaches in California Coronado Beach

Coronado Beach homes the Silver Strand with seven miles of glowing sandy seaside. It is positioned simply throughout the bay from downtown San Diego and makes the record as one of many high seashores in California.

The iconic Hotel Del Coronado on the beachfront of San Diego Coronado Island was the setting for the film Some Like It Hot. It’s an important place to cease for lunch in case you are not able to splurge on an evening.

This seaside is a hub for tide swimming pools the place you’ll have the ability to see ocean life comparable to starfish, crabs, and barnacles.

Swing by Del’s beachside café for fish tacos or head as much as the swank outside bar for sundown cocktails with a view. For extra on San Diego learn: A Local’s Guide to the Best Things to Do in San Diego

10. La Jolla Shores Beach – San Diego

best beaches in california la jolla shores Beach
La Jolla Shores Beach San Diego

La Jolla Shores is positioned in stunning San Diego. This seaside is great for exploring tide swimming pools and basking in the solar. It can also be one of many wildest stretches of the Southern California coast housing the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

If you like seashores, you’re going to additionally love La Jolla Cove the place sea lions bask in the solar. La Jolla Cove can also be a wonderful place for kayaking to La Jolla Sea Caves to discover the coastal formations.

11. Main Beach – Santa Cruz

best beaches in california - santa cruz
Santa Cruz Main Beach

Hit up Main Beach of Santa Cruz to get pleasure from this California seaside that is only one hour from San Francisco. Take a stroll alongside the mile-long Santa Cruz seaside boardwalk or go to the historic amusement park.

Santa Cruz Park is the oldest surviving amusement park in California. There are loads of seaside actions together with seaside volleyball courts, browsing, and kayaking. You’ll see sea lions, sea otters, dolphins, and even whales offshore.

12. Natural Bridges State Beach – Santa Cruz

best beaches in California Natural Bridges State Beach

Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz is one other must-visit seaside in California. The stone formation is one thing you’ll anticipate to see off the coast of Portugal.

Natural Bridges State Beach is known as for precisely what you assume it’s, the pure bridge that’s positioned offshore. There are mountaineering trails, and tide swimming pools to discover at low tide.

Plus there’s a boardwalk and it is a crucial sanctuary for Monarch Butterflies migrating by the world from October to January. The panorama alone makes this among the best seashores in California.

13. Pismo Beach – San Luis Obispo

Best Beaches in California Pismo Beach

I’ll always remember watching Clueless in the Nineties and questioning the place Pismo Beach was. Cher donated her ski gear to the Pismo Beach Disaster. I had at all times needed to go there ever since.

We had our likelihood when exploring the wine area of Santa Maria. Located midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on the Pacific Coast Highway, it is a stunning sandy seaside.

There are loads of issues to do round this small seaside city and whereas it is likely one of the finest seashores for browsing, we hit the sand dunes for a critical dune buggy journey.

If you aren’t up for an journey, take a stroll alongside the boardwalk and pier, discover the close by wineries or take a selfie in entrance of the Pismo Beach signal.

14. El Matador State Beach, Malibu

Best Beaches in California El Matador State Beach

El Matador Beach is certainly among the best seashores in California and it’s simply a few minutes’ drive from Malibu. This slender seaside is in the shade of giant cliffs and stairs led us down there from the parking zone.

We have been amazed by the fascinating rock formations on the shore and in the water, and likewise by the right ocean sundown this seaside provides. It’s not likely a seaside for swimming or browsing, but it surely’s a photographer’s and {couples}’ favourite due to its wild and romantic ambiance.

15. Beach at Alamere Falls, Point Reyes National Seashore

Beaches in California Alamere Falls

A seaside with a waterfall – how does that sound? No, we aren’t speaking of Big Sur’s in style and magical McWay Falls this time, it’s one other one: Alamere Falls at Point Reyes National Seashore.

We are usually not certain if this seaside has a reputation, really, it even ceases to exist at excessive tide, after which Alamere Falls flows straight into the ocean. But it undoubtedly exists at low tide and there’s a steep path main right down to it close to the highest of the falls.

However, this distinctive seaside requires some mountaineering, as a result of it might probably solely be accessed through Coast Trail from Palomarin Trailhead. This means an 8 miles reasonable roundtrip which has simply turn into a day hike for us as we spent a lot time chilling out on the seaside.

If you like these try extra Unique Beaches from Around the world.

16. Rodeo Beach, Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Best California Beaches Rodeo Beach

Golden Gate National Recreation Area is simply north of San Francisco and it provides a number of good coastal hikes, some with a surprising panorama of Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Bay.

Rodeo Beach is a superb seaside for hikers as it’s the place to begin of a number of shorter and longer hikes and likewise a pleasant seaside itself bounded by a lagoon. Its darkish, pebbly sand is exclusive in California.

It’s a well-liked browsing seaside, however swimming is harmful due to the robust currents. We loved strolling on the seaside, doing a few of the coastal hikes, and getting amazed by the wild ocean.

17. Laguna Beach, Orange County

Best Beaches in California Laguna Beach Orange County

Laguna Beach is a neighborhood’s favourite in Orange County. And our favourite, too! With its clear and calm water is alleged to be among the best swimming seashores and there may be additionally scuba diving in the world. But we warn you the water is much from heat even in the summer time – simply as wherever else alongside the coast.

It was a pleasant refreshing cease although in South California’s sizzling summer time. There are loads of seaside actions right here at Laguna Beach nicely together with seaside volleyball courts, a motorcycle path, and basketball courts.

18. Pescadero State Beach – San Mateo County

Beaches in California Pescadero State Beach

Pescadero is an extended, quiet, wild seaside in Central California with nice wildlife-watching alternatives. We’ve seen tons of harbor seals resting on the cliffs close to the shore and Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve is correct behind the seaside.

There are a number of shorter trails in the marsh and they’re wonderful for bird-watching. Pescadero State Beach additionally has stunning (although normally windy and chilly) sunsets. Read extra: Things to do in San Mateo, California

19. Half Moon Bay State Beach – San Francisco

Best beaches in California Half moon Bay State Beach in California

Located a few half-hour from San Francisco is the group of Half Moon and is a well-liked California seaside escape from the town. It homes Half Moon Bay State Beach, Dunes Beach, and Francis Beach.

Take a hike alongside the California Coastal Trail for panoramic views of the shoreline. Dreaming of an island getaway? Check out our record of The Most Beautiful Tropical Islands in the World

20. Andrew Molera State Beach, Big Sur

Best Beaches in California Andrew Molera Beach Big Sur
Andrew Molera Beach, Big Sur

Again, an adventurous seaside! It’s positioned in Andrew Molera State Park in Big Sur alongside the Pacific Coast Highway. Accessing Andrew Molera State Beach requires a brief stroll from the parking zone.

This scenic stretch of freeway is 2 hours and thirty minutes south of San Francisco and makes for one of many nice California Road Trips. The stroll features a river crossing as nicely if the seasonal bridge is eliminated.

The crystal clear river was not deep in any respect after we have been there, we may pleasantly stroll by it. Uhm… we may have finished it pleasantly if it wouldn’t have been so rattling chilly. But it was nonetheless enjoyable.

Andrew Molera Beach is on the mouth of Big Sur River, it’s an extended undeveloped seaside and we additionally liked mountaineering on the great bluff mountaineering trails above it. Read extra: A information to the very best campgrounds in Big Sur

21. Gold Bluffs Beach, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

Best Beaches in California Gold Bluffs Beach
Gold Bluffs Beach

Gold Bluffs Beach is a part of Northern California’s Redwood National and State Parks and the foggy redwoods in the background give a mystic ambiance to it. This places it proper up there as among the best seashores in California.

Usually, there are usually not many individuals on the seaside which is able to solely strengthen this ambiance.

One of essentially the most particular hikes in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is Fern Canyon Trail which took us again to Jurassic instances – really, some scenes of the Jurassic Park film have been filmed there.

It begins from Gold Bluffs Beach – or ends on the seaside in case you begin at James Irvine Trail as we did. The seaside itself can also be accessible by automotive and there’s a small campground on the parking zone. Read: 7 Epic Places to Visit in Northern California

22. Limantour Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore

Best seashores in California: Limantour Beach

This lengthy and excellent sandy seaside on a sand spit between Drakes Bay and the Limantour Estero estuary is one other gem of Point Reyes National Seashore.

Thanks to the close by wetlands there’s a excessive likelihood to identify seabirds. Harbor seals additionally just like the shallow water of Drakes Bay and they’re usually seen mendacity on the shore.

Limantour Beach is accessible by automotive and it has a pleasant massive parking zone. But in case you ask us it’s a lot nicer to park earlier alongside the highway and hike there by pine forests and wetlands. We’ve finished the Laguna Trail – Limantour Beach – Muddy Hollow Trail – Bayview Trail loop which was a fantastic numerous day hike.

23. Carmel Beach City Park, Carmel-By-The-Sea

Carmel City Beach in California

The group of lovely Carmel by the Sea additionally has among the best California seashores. Located proper on Central California’s Monterey Peninsula Carmel is a superb base for exploring the Pacific Coast Highway.

It’s a kind of typical Central California seashores with a beautiful strolling avenue, tons of eating places with or with out ocean panorama, and naturally, an extended, sandy seaside (that can also be canine pleasant.) Explore it extra at The Best Stops on 17 Mile Drive

We liked strolling on Carmel Beach and likewise on the scenic highway above the seaside. The seaside was filled with households having a picnic, youngsters swimming or enjoying in the water and canine operating round, and naturally, the seaside volleyball that California is so well-known for.

Carmel Beach is likely one of the few locations left on the California coast the place individuals can nonetheless collect round a fireplace to toast marshmallows and benefit from the ambiance of a seaside bonfire. Read extra: Things to do in Carmel by the Sea, California

24. Cowell Ranch Beach, Half Moon Bay

Best Beaches in California Cowell Ranch Beach

The most hidden seaside and among the best seashores in California is Cowell Ranch Beach. While driving south of Half Moon Bay State Beach on California 1 we have been on the lookout for a small parking zone by a yellow gate which indicated the trailhead for Cowell Ranch Beach.

It’s straightforward to overlook it, but it surely’s value on the lookout for, it rewarded us with a fantastic, barely recognized seaside. The seaside is accessible by a brief bluff path with wood stairs on the finish and it took us about quarter-hour to get there.

There’s one other seaside south of the path which isn’t accessible as a result of it’s a seal protect. Binoculars are at all times a good suggestion on the California Central coast, however right here you’ve an particularly good likelihood to watch seals. On the opposite hand, Cowell Ranch Beach is going through completely west, so it’s a peaceable getaway for sundown lovers.

25. Crystal Cove State Park – Orange County

crystal cove state park

Crystal cove state park is a real gem with its stunning landscapes and scenic views. The park boasts a 3-mile shoreline one of many largest uninterrupted pure seashores in California. It additionally options a number of seashores, tide swimming pools, and an underwater park excellent for outside lovers.

An 18-mile mountaineering path can also be out there for all. While unleashed canine are usually not allowed on the seaside, they’re allowed on the path. Restaurants and rooftop lounges are additionally out there that will help you wind down after a day on the seaside with iconic views of the sundown.

26. Sand greenback seaside – Big Sur

best beaches in california - Sand dollar beach

Don’t let the steep stroll down the seaside deter you as you’ll be rewarded with some of the scenic seashores in California. A gorgeous shoreline with a rocky panorama enclosed in a cove-like formation.

While Sand Dollar Beach may not be finest for swimming, it’s an important picnic spot. The dramatic rock formation that encloses the seaside makes for an incredible place to chill out as you admire nature in all its glory.

It’s a favourite spot amongst surfers in Big Sur. Watch them journey waves all day. In low tide, you’ll be able to attempt your luck at catching some crabs or muscle tissues.

If you’re up for it, you can even go looking for jade stones. However, persist with rules on your security.

27. Glass seaside – Fort Bragg

glass beach

Located in Fort Bragg, the glass seaside is a real testomony to what nature can do. The seaside is stuffed with coloured stones that have been as soon as dumped items of glass choking the life out of the ocean. Mother nature in flip broke down the rubbish and turned it into stunning items of frosted glass, a course of that takes about 30 – 100 years to finish.

The fixed pounding of the ocean waves breaks and softens the glass turning it into totally different sizes and styles. Common colours you’ll discover embody clear, brown, and inexperienced.

Kids will particularly love visiting this seaside as they’re solely however just a few glass seashores in the world.

Years of tourists taking the glass stones has depleted the seaside and has resulted in the apply being declared unlawful. A strict measure that helps to make sure that there are glass stones left for future guests to get pleasure from.

Remember to maintain your flip flop on always as you stroll alongside the seaside as a few of the stones are sharp.

28. Marin County Stinson Beach

best beaches in california stinson beach

Stinson Beach is positioned alongside the scenic shoreline of Marin County, simply north of San Francisco. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the rugged slopes of Mount Tamalpais, the seaside is a high choose for its comfortable sand and crescent form.

Stinson Beach boasts a large expanse of sandy shoreline that stretches for about three and a half miles. The pure magnificence surrounding Stinson Beach is a serious draw for guests.

To the east, you’ll discover the majestic Mount Tamalpais State Park, which provides mountaineering and biking trails with breathtaking vistas. To the west, the Pacific Ocean gives a charming backdrop, full with rolling waves and scenic sunsets.

You can swim in the ocean (though the water might be chilly), surf, boogie board, or just chill out on the sand. The seaside can also be in style for beachcombing, birdwatching, and kite flying. Nearby Mount Tamalpais provides quite a few mountaineering and biking trails that showcase the world’s gorgeous coastal and forested landscapes.

Final Thoughts on the Beach Beaches in California

best beaches in california map

From Ocean Beach in San Fransico with the very best view of the Golden Gate Bridge to the Southernmost Beach in California – Imperial Beach close to San Diego, there are numerous seashores in California. You can also like these Best Beaches in Florida

We barely scratched the floor of all of the sandy locations in California. One factor is for certain, California is one in every of our favourite locations to go to in the United States.

About Our Wanders: Csaba and Bea are passionate vacationers, hikers, and pastime photographers. They left their small house nation, Hungary virtually 2 years in the past and moved to a a lot greater one, the US the place they’ve rapidly turn into hooked on nationwide parks, mountaineering, and highway journeys and began to consider that they’ll reside their goals. Read about their adventures on their weblog Our Wanders. Follow them additionally on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook!

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