When people think of California, the first thing that comes to their mind are the beaches. It is easy to imagine people enjoying the sun along the beach and the glistening clear waters in their bathing suits. This is normal as California has a long coastline facing the Pacific Ocean.
California has over a hundred beaches. First-time visitors must check out some of the most beautiful beaches in California to enjoy the serene waters. Find out where to go in this article!
Crystal Cove State Park
Found in the Orange County, Crystal Cove State Park is one of the largest remaining seashores in the country. People can enjoy visiting its various beaches like Pelican Point and Moro Beach.
It is popular for its tide pools. Crystal Cove State Park is for people who love strolling along the beach as it has a wide and long coastline alongside its scenic view.
Carmel Beach is a must-see when visiting California. This beach is known for its white sand and clear blue water. Carmel Beach is also a great place for surfing, fishing, and kayaking.
Enjoy the cypress trees while taking a long and romantic stroll. Make sure to visit the adjacent town of Carmel to try the locally-owned boutiques and eateries.
Go back to Carmel Beach by the late afternoon and be struck with the beauty of the sunset there.
San Diego’s Coronado Beach is one of the most popular beaches in California, and it is easy to see why. With its wide expanse of sand, gentle waves, and views of one of the most iconic Calfornia hotels, Hotel del Coronado, this beach has something for everyone.
Coronado Beach is also great for swimming, surfing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.
Get mesmerized by the dreamy feel of the wide coastline of Coronado Beach, which is reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe’s classic “Some Like It Hot.”
Doheny State Beach
Another beautiful beach in California is Doheny State Beach, located in Dana Point. It is one of the busiest beaches in California, with over two million visitors annually. The beach has a long shoreline perfect for surfing, fishing, and swimming.
The best time to visit Doheny State Beach is from June to September when the water temperature is ideal for swimming. However, if you want to experience bigger waves, it is best to visit during wintertime.
This state beach is popular among people who wish to learn and enjoy surfing. Doheny State Beach also houses several aquariums in the visitor center. The Doheny State Beach is perfect for setting up picnic tables such as bonfire pits, BBQ areas, camping sites, etc.
East Beach should be on your list when visiting Santa Barbara. This beach is two miles long and is perfect for picnics, sunbathing, swimming, surfing, and paddleboarding.
There are also plenty of restaurants and bars in the area if you need a break from the sun. Make sure to visit during the summer when there are concerts held every Sunday right on the beach!
Enjoy the beach alongside a waterfront park and hotels where you can enjoy the view of the water and the surrounding mountains.
Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay is a California classic. This beach is located on the San Mateo Coast, about 30 minutes south of San Francisco. Half Moon Bay is a great place to surf, bodyboard, and paddleboard. The waves here can get pretty big, so it’s not the best place for swimming.
Interestingly, Half Moon Bay is famous for being so big that there are beaches within the beach. It is recommended to visit the Dunes Beach (at the northern end) and Francis Beach (at the southern end) to get soaked in water under the clear sky and warm sun rays.
People who visited Half Moon Bay recommended preparing your cameras in panorama mode when hiking the California Coastal Trail. Do not miss out on the following shores and beaches: Martins, Tunitas Creek, and Cowell Ranch.
Located in Los Angeles, Hermosa Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in California. The water here is clean and clear, making it perfect for swimming.
Hermosa Beach is also a great place for surfing. If you are looking for a challenge, try bodyboarding or boogie boarding. There are plenty of restaurants and shops near Hermosa Beach, so you can always find something to do when you are not in the water.
People flock to the beach in the afternoon because Hermosa beach is a great place for sightseers to enjoy the setting sun.
La Jolla is a small beach located in San Diego, California. It is known for its bright blue water and amazing sea life. Visitors can take a tour of the cove to learn more about the history and ecology of the area.
They say that the La Jolla Shores is a great place for families as it is safe. The water is calm almost all year and is patrolled by lifeguards. There is also a beachside park with playgrounds, which suits children.
When people snorkel, they will be greeted by leopard sharks at La Jolla Shores or garibaldi fish at La Jolla Cove. It is also a must to kayak in the sea caves along the coast. Lastly, enjoy watching the sunbathing seals at the Children’s Pool Beach.
One of the most popular beaches in California is Laguna Beach, known for its collection of cove beaches. It is unique because coves are not that prevalent in the southern side of California. Laguna Beach is located between two main cities of the state—San Diego and Los Angeles, making it easier to visit the two cities.
Laguna Beach is also a famous destination for artists and painters because of its scenic views. The best time to visit Laguna Beach is from June to September, when the water is warm and perfect for swimming.
Aside from swimming, it is also ideal for enjoying whale watching in Laguna Beach. People can also check out the rescue and rehabilitation headquarters for the Orange Country coast seal population. Besides water activities, people can enjoy checking wildflower-filled coastal parks like the preserved coastal canyons in Southern California.
Home to several small and big beaches, Malibu is a California classic. The beach city is also known as the “27 miles of scenic beauty”. Zuma Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Malibu and is usually crowded during summertime.
The point where Malibu Creek meets the sea is known as Surfrider Beach. This beach has been labeled one of California’s best shorelines worldwide. The Malibu Colony Beach and Puerco Beach overlook some of the astounding mansions that make up the amazing community.
Another beautiful beach located in Malibu is El Matador State Beach. Although small, this hidden gem offers a breathtaking view of rock formations and clear blue water. People can also spend time exploring the rock formations and mountains in Malibu to have that adventurous experience and eventually be greeted by the magnificent view of Malibu from above.
Monterey Beach is one of California’s top beaches. This beach is known for its dramatic cliffs, crashing waves, and scenic views. The best time to visit Monterey Beach is from mid-July to early September when the water is warm, and the waves are perfect for surfing.
While at Monterey Beach, take a walk on the famous 17-Mile Drive. This drive will take you past some of California’s most beautiful scenery. Do not forget to stop at the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium while in town.
Check out the Fort Ord Dunes State Park, as it offers sky-high dunes with a jaw-dropping view of the Monterey Peninsula.
Pfeiffer Beach is one of California’s most beautiful beaches, and it is also one of the least crowded. The beach is located in Big Sur, about two hours south of San Francisco. Pfeiffer Beach is known for its dramatic cliffs, colorful rocks, and strong waves.
Pfeiffer Beach is a great place to explore tide pools, go hiking, or just relax on the beach. Several trails lead down to the beach from the parking area. The shortest trail is 0.25 miles long and takes about 15 minutes to complete.
Explore the cliffs and collection of rock formations surrounding Pfeiffer Beach. It is best to traverse the secluded gem during sunset to be amazed by the iconic Keyhole Rock.
Pismo Beach is another great beach in California. This beach is known for its beautiful cliffs and ocean views. Pismo Beach is also a great place to surf, so if you are looking for a challenge, this is the place to go.
There are plenty of restaurants and shops near Pismo Beach. It is a must to rent a kayak on Pismo Beach to explore the Dinosaur Caves Park. Adventure awaits visitors in the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.
When visiting Pismo Beach in late October or late February, check out the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove.
Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes National Seashore is one of California’s most beloved beaches. This beautiful beach is located just north of San Francisco and offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. The beach is also great for hiking, fishing, and bird watching.
Consider visiting the historic Point Reyes Lighthouse at the Point Reyes National Seashore. The lighthouse was first built in 1870 and is now a California State Historic Landmark.
Enjoy the views of the area’s cascading cliffs along the Great Beach, Limantour Beach, and Drakes Beach. However, swimming is not recommended in Point Reyes because of the freezing ocean temperature.
With so many incredible beaches to choose from, it’s hard to first decide which one to visit.
No matter which beach you choose to visit, you will have an enjoyable experience. So pack your sunscreen and enjoy the views!