There’s scenic shores and there’s plenty of sandy stretches for summer – and winter – strolls ‘n’ swims.
The best West Coast beaches in the US
1. Pfeiffer Beach – Big Sur, California
This famous beach has purple-hued sand and is definitely off the beaten path, but well worth the drive. The focus point is Keyhole Rock, which has an amazing natural arch at the base where salt water and the last rays of sunlight shine through. Once you visit this it will instantly become clear why it’s one of the best West Coast beaches.
2. Glass Beach – Fort Bragg, California
This is no ordinary beach – Glass Beach gets its name from the smooth colourful glass pieces that make up its shore. Once a local dumping site, the glass has become pretty pebbles over the years and the beach is now a protected spot.
3. Bowling Ball Beach – Point Arena, California
This unique beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in America, with its large round rocks that resemble bowling balls. You’ll find this picture-perfect spot at the northern end of Schooner Gulch State Beach. You can only see the bowling balls at low tide, so plan your visit around it!
4. Black Sand Beach – Prince William Sound, Alaska
With more than 33,000 miles of shoreline—more than twice Florida, California and Hawaii combined, it’s only natural that some of the best beaches in America can be found in Alaska. Black Sand Beach is one of the most spectacular beaches in the state. It’s popular with sea kayakers, and large icebergs often wash ashore.
5. Rockaway Beach – Tilamook, Oregon
There’s seven flat miles of soft, sandy beach perfect to enjoy here, with views of ocean sunsets behind the majestic Twin Rocks and crashing waves. Enjoy kitesurfing or just spend a lazy day digging your toes into the soft sand. Beach bonfires under the star-lit skies are also popular group gatherings.
6. Cannon Beach – Cannon Beach, Oregon
Named one of the world’s 100 most beautiful places by National Geographic, this remarkable beach has long sandy stretches, tide pools and the famous Haystack Rock. Sure, it has a cool marine climate most of the year, but with scenery this incredible, who minds a bit of a breeze?
7. Ruby Beach – Olympic National Park, Washington
Ruby Beach is one of the true gems of the Pacific Coastline. The beach is rocky, not sandy, so keep that in mind – it’s not a barefoot sort of beach. But the the reddish sand that occasionally gathers and large, rock islands known as sea stacks, make it unforgettably beautiful.
8. Coronado Beach – San Diego, California
Featured in Marilyn Monroe’s 1958 film “Some Like it Hot,” Coronado’s long sandy beaches are special and literally sparkle, thanks to the mineral mica in its golden sand. The stretch is 1.5 mile long, with several little bays to explore.
9. Newport Beach – Newport Beach, California
For picturesque views of California’s sunrise and sunsets, Newport Beach is among the state’s best beaches. The beach also has a thriving surf scene, thanks to more than 8 miles of sand and the bodysurfers’ bucket-list spot known as the Wedge.
10. Venice Beach – Los Angeles, California
Venice Beach is one of many great L.A. beaches, but it’s the only one where the lively Venice Beach boardwalk is more of an attraction than the ocean itself.